I Should've Given Up Nagging For Lent
And not just because it’s pointless (which it really is because I rarely get the results from Husby that I’m reaching for).
I’m going to ask you to make sure that if you start reading this post you make it all the way to the end because I have a pretty good point here. And the point is not just to pick on my husband (although that is really fun to do)!
For starters, I’m married to a seriously funny man. If you know him you know what I’m talking about. There are moments that I truthfully wonder if I'm married to Phil Dunphey from Modern Family. With this funny personality comes what also seems to be a very short-term memory. Or short attention span. Or perhaps it’s all just selective because he focuses amazingly well on anything music related or shown on HGTV. Whatever it is, when it comes to household tasks or information I “need” him to hear, it’s short.
I often joke about how there’s never a dull moment being married to Husby, and I can’t tell you how true that is. For example, one night we were sitting on the couch a little after 9 p.m. watching TV and out of nowhere he says, “I need go practice my headstands” and proceeds to get up and start trying to make a tripod into a headstand in the middle of the living room floor. He hadn’t attempted a headstand the entire time I had known him, but suddenly this was an urgent issue and required his immediate attention. My life is filled with laughter because of him.
I hate the way the word nag sounds; it’s ugly. But that’s probably why they named it that because the action of nagging sounds just as ugly as the word. And I’m notorious for it.
More often than not, I don’t even realize I’m nagging. I tend to believe that’s the problem with most of us women and wives. We don’t see it as nagging as much as a cry for help. Some days I just feel like I'm drowning and one little helpful thing around the house would make the biggest difference. Husby and I recently had a conversation about all of this, and it ended with the point that he’s responsible for three main things around the house: making the bed, rinsing out his coffee tumbler and emptying the dishwasher. I’m responsible for the other 1,471 tasks.
Ok, that number was an exaggeration (at least I think?). But he really is primarily only responsible for those three things, and he’ll even tell you that point blank. So why do I need to nag? Because my expectations pertaining to everything in our joint life are completely different than his perceptions of them.
Example #1: We both come home from work early one day. I put Adelyn down for a nap and he practices guitar for band practice that night. I come out from putting her down and start pumping. He continues playing his guitar. I finish pumping and go to the sink to wash all the pumping pieces and find some dishes from that morning in it. He continues playing his guitar. I start emptying the dishwasher so I can put those couple dishes in it so I can then wash the pumping pieces. He continues playing his guitar. He comes into the kitchen when I start washing his coffee tumbler from the morning. He chats me up about some stuff as he watches me wash it. He then asks if I’m frustrated with him and if so, why?
My response: A dumbfounded stare followed by an animated explanation that I emptied the dishwasher for him and washed his mug and proceeded to lecture him about how if he just would have taken the three minutes it took to do those things that it would make my life so much easier. He apologizes.
Example #2: We just moved at the end of February. My vehicle gets parked on the left side of the garage, and Adelyn’s car seat goes on the left side of my vehicle. Against that left-hand wall sat a large, tall box full of miscellaneous stuff that just needed to be moved to the basement. The placement of this box made it literally impossible for me to get Adelyn in and out of my vehicle on that side, so each morning I backed my car out, let it warm up and took Adelyn out the front door of the house; each evening I pulled into the garage, picked up the car seat and placed it on the seat adjacent, walked to the other side of the vehicle and took it out to go inside. It wasn’t difficult, but it was inconvenient. I had offered to empty the large box and find a home for everything in it, but Husby said he would take it down to the basement. A few days later I asked about it with the same promise returned. A few days later it was the same and so on until one morning I went to back out my car and he told me it was warm enough out that I shouldn’t need to start my car before work.
My response: A calm explanation with a hint of frustration in my wording that I HAD to back out my car because that box was still sitting there and how infuriating it was not to be able to load Adelyn in with my vehicle in the garage. He responded with “I’ll move it today” and I responded with “thank you, it would make my life so much easier.”
Example #3: We were packing on a Thursday evening for a trip we were leaving for that Sunday. Husby starts digging through the dirty laundry that I would be doing Friday night, and he begins pulling stuff out to wash for him to pack. I tell him that I’ll be washing the laundry tomorrow, but he responds that he needs these pieces to pack. So I tell him I have things in there that need to be washed too so I can pack them as well, but he continues to only take out his items and start a load of laundry that didn’t even fill the machine.
My response (after his load was already done washing): Telling him I felt like it was kind of selfish to continue to only wash his own clothes when I do all of our laundry every weekend on my own and I told him I had stuff I needed washed for the trip too. He responded, confused, wondering why I didn’t just say the words “will you throw some of my stuff in with yours?” I end it by telling him I was obvious enough andit just would have made my life that much easier.
Catching my trend? Yikes. Now let’s review the other side of things.
Husby and I traveled to Vegas last week, and after we parked in the airport ramp he grabbed both suitcases and wheeled them in without question. He did the same when we arrived in Vegas, and all the way to the hotel room. The same took place on the way home. The first day I worked out there, he left the Bellagio and walked across The Strip to Starbucks while I was getting ready so I could have coffee in hand when I left the hotel room instead of having to make a stop on my way to the convention center; something I neither asked nor hinted I wanted.
Without hesitation, he always takes shopping bags out of my hands to carry them so I don’t have to, scrapes off my car if it’s outside in a snowstorm, and drops off Dunkin Donuts coffee for me before he goes to work if he knows I had a long or semi-sleepless night. He checks with me before he schedules anything every.single.time—even booking work at his recording studio—to make sure we don’t have something going on or I don’t need him home.
I broke my phone screen (again, I swear I have the worst luck with iPhones) and he immediately says we should trade phones so I don't have the one with the broken screen. I obviously declined, but it's interesting, isn’t it? All the things he does, but NEVER points out to me? All the things he NEVER reminds me he does for me? All the things he NEVER asks to be glorified for?
While I do believe my husband is above and beyond the rest, I can’t help but wonder how many other women, like me, overlook these day-to-day choices our husbands make to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Yet we focus on the menial tasks they missed.
I can assure you that I will continue to fail at the nagging game. I’ll try—and I’ll succeed for some time—but every time I will eventually end up failing to remember all the things he just naturally does to make my life easier and focus on all the things I do on my own instead.
So I challenge you to join me. Don’t just give up nagging for lent; give it up for good. Or at the minimum, let’s make an effort to see all the big things they do in little ways to offset the frustration of chores we expect them to take care of. I can tell you that my husband does far more to outweigh what he doesn’t, and I am at fault for not always recognizing that.
Side note…I’m not Catholic, but I do like the idea of Lent because like my mom explained to me, Lent symbolizes giving up something important to you for Jesus. For someone who gave his life for us, there’s no shame in showing that tiny gratitude!