Friday, August 31, 2012

The Nagging Question

by CWK

Wise men in ancient Israel (ca. 1000 B.C.) had this to say,

Proverbs 21:19: It is better to live in a desert wasteland than with a nagging woman.

Proverbs 27:15: A quarrelsome wife is like a continual dripping on a raining day.

Ancient wise men set themselves to dissuading women from nagging. How? First, by painting a picture of just how miserable life is with a nagging companion; such a life is worse than living in solitude in a barren sand bowl. Second, by making an obvious, but often overlooked, point about nagging. It drives men c-r-a-z-y. No, really, crazy. Nagging is like mental water torture. It drives men to a state of rattled insanity. So said the ancients.

To the ancient chorus of wisdom, I now join my voice. This post an attempt to eradicate all nagging from the face of planet earth. Yep, this is another man trying to persuade women not to nag their brothers, husbands, courtiers, and fathers. Hello out there in cyber world to women, friends, Romans, and countrymen.  I'm going to try and convince you that nagging is the worst thing a woman can do to get the men in your life to do what you think he should do.

Let me begin by answering the objections echoing back from cyber-city. Yes, men also nag; they can also, "beat a dead horse." Still, we can all agree that nagging is a vice more women are tempted to. How many wives complain of their husband's nagging? Not many. How many husbands complain of their wives nagging? You see my point. Second, yes, men need to be better leaders and do things, something, anything. In fact, the vice of passivity in men is usually the root of the vice of nagging. Yes, if men were more active, women would have less cause to nag; things would get done, quickly, efficiently, and on time. However, the key point for women to understand is that nagging does not produce the man you want, even if you get the thing you want. Nagging doesn't produce active and engaged men. It produces, inevitably, passive and disengaged men. Also, it's no good claiming that your problem with nagging is all his fault. Saying so is avoiding responsibility for yourself, before God. Maybe he should play his part better; maybe you identify with Amy Winehouse, "All I need is for my man to live up to his role!" -- but what about your part? What about your role?

Consider that nagging puts men in the position of, "Darned if you do. Darned if you don't." You desperately want the men in your life to lead, to take initiative, to do things. Well then, consider, if they give in to your nagging, that's a sign of weakness: a sign that they can be widdled down to submission: a sign, actually, that they ain't no leader. So, if the man gives in, and you get the thing you think you want, you aren't really getting the man you want. If, on the other hand, they resist your nagging -- if they take arms against a sea of pleadings -- then you are not getting the thing you want, though you may still be getting the man you want. This is the catch 22 every man finds himself in when faced with his wife's/girl-friend's/daughter's nagging. Somewhere, in his weary mind, he is thinking, "If I give in, that's weakness. If I don't give in, then she doesn't get what she wants." This is a no-win situation for him, and for the woman. This is, in terms of relationship, a zero sum game.

There are two, and only two, kinds of men produced via nagging. Some men are eroded into flabby cripples after years of nagging -- "Yes, honey," is their standard response. Occasionally, they bestir themselves, zombie-like, from lazy chairs, and mindlessly just barely accomplish a thing or two. Other men resist nagging, and grow colder and more distant over the years. They become like statues without ears. At some point, they can't hear their wives anymore. They lose their confidence. They lose their vitality. The best they can do is cling to shreds of manly resistance. And cling they do. Often, this second group of men turns to affairs, or divorce, or zany adventures to recharge their manliness and assert their own will. And assert they do.

Here's the thing: men live by respect. Respect is the oxygen of manliness. Without it, men turn either flabby or stony. So, I ask you, dear sisters, does either of these men sound appealing to you? A lifelesss zombie? A stony-hearted statue? Is it worth getting what you want if the man in your life becomes, as a result, a zeal-less zombie or a stolid statue? Is it worth it?

Women: If you need to understand any one basic thing about men, it's this: men need respect. Respect is the one thing they need. Respect is the one thing they crave. Why do guys try to score when their girl is watching during a meaningless play ground b-ball game? Why do guys ascend the latter of Fortune 500 hundreds? Drive cars at dangerous speeds? Why do little boys show off in front of little girls? R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And every man is singing, "Find out what it means to me." The way to love a man is to respect him. To a man, all the so-called love in the world means nothing - zero, nada -- if not founded on respect.

So, ladies, there's a better way to get the thing you really want, and all the while build up the man you really want. This is the road less traveled. The road signs reads R-E-S-P-E-C-T. This is the road of encouragement, submission (yeah, I said), and a gentle and quiet spirit. A model of this is Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. Read it, and take notes, if you want to know how to win the heart of a man and/of help the men in your life ascend to noble activity.

Ladies, this may startle you, but I can 100 percent guarantee you that, if you travel the dirt road of respect, you will get BOTH the thing you want and the man you want. You can have it all. First, though, stop and ask, "What do I really want?" What is the thing, more important than any other, that I desire? It is not certain trinkets, or leave to do this or that, or your own way with finances. The thing you want is not a thing, but a man; the thing you want above everything is the man you want. If you focus more on respecting your man you will help sculpt him into a masterpiece of lively leadership. You may not get the 'things' you want -- you will get something better. You will get THE 'thing' you really wanted.

Finally, a word to guys. It's tough being a man in a material world, with so many material girls, and so many billboards calling your very calling as a man into question. It's tough, but by grace, it's possible. So, don't turn flabby or stony. Choose to be the best man you can be. Determine to be a leader, and a decider. Don't suck your thumb when it's time to decide, when the game is on the line, and everyone is looking to you. Think hard, then make decisions. Make decisions! Make mistakes. Do things. Do tough things. Do even tougher things. Be proactive. Be a step ahead. Have a plan. Be a man. Ask yourself -- "Is my wife nagging me because I haven't shown leadership and initiative?" If so, then don't lie down in self-pity. Rather, take the lead. Take initiative. Take charge. No matter how many mixed messages are sent your way via entertainment and the wise men of the age -- no matter, what women want is, after all, pretty simple. They long for a certain kind of man: a proactive and engaged leader. All they want is, "is for (their) man to live up to his role."

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