“What do you  need sweetheart?”

“Mommy, I need you to find the box of Barbie shoes!”

“Okay. I’m right in the middle of something right now, but I’ll find it when I have a minute.”

But it never ends there does it? Of course not. Our children are ego-centric and want their needs met NOW.

A few days ago after my daughter had asked for the same thing for about the 25th time, I had an epiphany….about my marriage.

I realized that all too often, I probably sound like my children to my  husband.

Have you let yourself get into the habit of constantly nagging your husband? Do you present a daily to-do list for him or bombard him with requests the second he gets home from work? Are we treating our husbands like our employees or servants, whose sole purpose is to meet our demands and tick chores off our list?

When my kids nag me to find the Wii remote, get them a glass of strawberry milk, or come push them on the swing, I don’t feel more motivated to help them. Their nagging has almost the opposite effect. As they launch a veritable blitzkrieg of requests, I am not enchanted with their presence nor do I find them to be endearing or charming. I’m terribly put-off, annoyed, and find myself longing to lock myself in the bathroom. Why should we think it works any differently when we do it to our husbands?

The next time your child starts in with the “Mommy, mommy, mommy,” or begins to ask demand a myriad of things (NOW!), consider if you too have fallen into this habit. If you need something from your husband, think about when you are asking. Don’t let the first thing you say when he gets home from work be a demand. Allow him time to decompress. Don’t bombard him with your “honey-do list” when he is in the middle of something. Understand that he has heard your request and give him time.

Just like with our children, we don’t always see the imminent need of having that Barbie shoe THIS second or understand why they can’t figure out how to get the string cheese out of the drawer on their own. Your husband is the same way. He may not understand or prioritize your needs and chores in the same way you do. He may assume that you have the ability to complete certain tasks on your own. He’s not being mean, obtuse, or unsympathetic….he’s acting like you when your kids are nagging!

Nagging plain and simple doesn’t work. Even if you wear your husband down to the point where he gives in and does what you want him to (simply to make you be quiet and/or get off his back), you have not endeared yourself to him. The Bible says that it is better to live on the corner of a rooftop than with a nagging wife! The next time you’d like your husband to do something, time your request, ask once (nicely!), be patient, and say THANK-YOU when he does what you’ve asked.

And I’m sure if your house is anything like mine, and your kids are anything like mine, you’ll have LOTS of opportunities to remember this. Let each little nag remind you of the way you treat your husband and prompt you to do better.