A couple weeks after I met her, she came to my house. There were beer cans overflowing with cigarette butts. There was pizza crust in the corners. Clothes were piled in homage to the leaning tower. We slept on a mattress with wadded t-shirts instead of pillows. We covered with beach towels instead of blankets.
Back then, she would make suggestions. She looked really pretty suggesting things. Like when she would say, “It’s a really charming house you live in. A little polish and some pictures would open the place up.” And sometimes she would say, “Why don’t you wear the blue shirt? It looks really good on you.”
Now we have kids, and we have bills, and we have 9-5 weekdays. We go to sleep instead of have sex. We have emergency phone lists, and health insurance, and bills and in-laws with all kinds of crazy ideas. And my wife, while still gorgeous and funny, isn’t as patient. Now she says “the dishes aren’t going to do themselves.” Now she says “You’re not wearing that shirt in public. And for the love of Jesus Christ, take a shower.”
In short, she nags. And for the longest time I couldn’t stand it. I don’t know how it started. Maybe it was a couple of times after I said I would take the trash cans to the curb and forgot. Maybe it was the time I forgot to lock the door and she got scared when she walked into the living room and the door had swung open. But one day, in the middle or a terrible nag about the wash, everything changed. I looked at her and saw a woman pleading to help make our life a little easier.
I believe that nagging is a renewal of love and commitment. Nagging is my wife’s way of saying she still thinks I can do better. She’s saying she believes I will carry my share, like I promised. She’s saying the same things she did before life got so rush rush. She just uses different words, and sometimes a more urgent tone.
And sometimes, still, nagging bugs me. But I don’t want to think about life without nagging— Chances are the nagging would stop because the woman who fell in love with me way back then doesn’t care anymore. About the house or the bills or if you rub their back like you promised. They don’t care if we work as a team. A life without nagging would be like shouting she could do it herself. She could go it alone.
So I believe the power of nagging is a good thing. Like back when we were dating, we used to hold hands all the time. And nagging, is a lot like when we held hands on rollercoasters at country fairs. When things felt out of control, she squeezed so hard my hand hurt. But at least she thought enough of me to break my hand.
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