Continuing this series on the women of Proverbs, we come to the nagging and quarrelsome wife. These verses are convicting. Nothing needs to be said on exactly what you are doing when you are nagging or quarreling. You know. When you are this type of wife, it is better for your husband to “live on the corner of the roof” or “in a desert”. If that doesn’t inspire self-loathing I don’t know what will! It is intolerable to be around someone that nags you and wants to pick a fight with you. According to Proverbs you would be better off living in extreme conditions than sharing a home with such a person. This makes me think twice before picking a fight with El Fury. James refers to the tongue as “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8) We would be wise to bridle it and think twice before nagging.
Proverbs 14:1 is very interesting. It doesn’t speak directly about nagging and quarreling, but I included it with those verses because I thought it related well. “The wise woman builds her house.” Remember how it was during those first years of marriage? I was so attentive to our home and to El Fury’s needs. I built my house with care. I looked after others more than myself. The second part of this verse should serve as a warning. “But with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” What happens? This sounds like self-sabotage. Does this wife stop being intentional, stop tending to her marriage with care? Does her speech become characterized by nagging and quarreling?
Of course nobody wants to be the one that is tearing their home down. The problem is that your home might already be falling apart before you are willing to identify the problem. You might not even see that it is falling down until you are standing in the midst of rubble. Now, I’m not saying that it is solely the responsibility of the wife to keep her home intact. It takes two people working together to make a home thrive.
How do we identify if we are becoming nagging and quarrelsome? Watch yourself. Pay attention to what you are saying. It’s so hard to accept that you might be contributing to the problem. I can look back over the years of my marriage and see how in my pride I wanted to point the finger only at my husband. Somehow I forget that my marriage is not about keeping score and proving I’m right. The goal is peace. The goal is sharing your life in a way that builds your home in a beautifully integrated way that makes it hard to tear down.
Sex is a good reset button. Don’t withhold sex from your spouse as a means to get them to do whatever you are nagging them about. That’s manipulative and wrong. Similarly, if you are quarreling, try to follow up by being intimate. I’m not saying to forget about your problems and just have sex. Fix your problems together. Then re-engage physically. I know if El Fury and I have had an argument, I often feel like things are back to normal after we’ve had sex again.
When I find myself being nagging or quarrelsome, I try to picture El Fury standing on the corner of the roof. I don’t like it when he has to go up on our roof for anything, so this is an especially good exercise for me. The point is, I love him. Whatever it is that I’m nagging about or picking a fight with him for, if I can re-approach it from a solution minded viewpoint then the communication can become about the problem instead of the person. It takes effort! Your marriage is worth the effort.
Proverbs 14:1: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Proverbs 19:13: “A foolish child is a fatherʼs ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.”
Proverbs 21:9: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
Proverbs 21:19: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”
Proverbs 25:24: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
Proverbs 27:15-16: “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”
Other parts of this series: