Nitpicking. I’ve done that to my spouse WAY too many times. Have you? I wish I could say I haven’t and that I won’t again. But as a sinner (someone who does things I shouldn’t), I probably will. I’ll keep fighting against it though, because I know it’s wrong.
There are days when my husband Steve can appear to do no wrong. Yes, I know, I married “Mr. Right” or “Mr. Wright.” I’ve sure heard that line more than a few hundred times in our marriage.
I truly have very little to complain about because we have a GREAT marriage. (I know what it’s like to have a bad one, because we’ve been there. —You can read more on this in the About Us section of the Marriage Missions web site.) For the most part, I now treasure my husband and appreciate him in more ways than I can express.
Nitpicking Him Into “Mr Wrong”
But then there are those days, where I want to label him as “Mr. Wrong.” That is because it seems like he can do no right. Of course, that’s my perspective on things. To him, he’s just going about his day probably wondering what’s wrong with me. He’s just being his energetic self —bouncing around, thinking he’s fine, I’m fine, we’re all fine. But on certain days this “energetic self” gets to me. That’s when we clash because of our different ways of approaching certain situations and doing things.
Whether he should do things differently or not, or whether I’m just being too picky in the way I view his actions, the nitpicking sure doesn’t help. It’s at those points where we have conflict problems.
I found a Peacemaker.net article, titled, “Getting to the Heart of Conflict,” addressing this issue, which I highly recommend you read. I’d like to share a portion, which applies to what I just wrote about (which might help you too):
Dave Powlison writes:
“Conflicts arise from unmet desires in our hearts. When we feel we cannot be satisfied unless we have something we want or think we need, the desire turns into a demand. If someone fails to meet that desire, we condemn him in our heart. And we quarrel and fight to get our way. In short, conflict arises when desires grow into demands and we judge and punish those who get in our way.”
He goes on to write,
“This is not to say that it is inherently wrong to evaluate or even judge others within certain limits. Scripture teaches that we should observe and evaluate others’ behavior. That is so that we can respond and minister to them in appropriate ways, which may even involve loving confrontation. (See: Matthew 7:1-5; Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1.)
“We cross the line, however, when we begin to sinfully judge others. This is characterized by a feeling of superiority, indignation, condemnation, bitterness, or resentment.”
I never really looked at it that nitpicking can be an avenue of judging, as if I was somehow superior over my husband, on certain issues. But when I think about it, there’s a lot of truth to this insight. That is because I do feel indignation when I’m irritated by how he does or doesn’t do certain things. Sometimes the irritation is well-founded. But other times, it isn’t. It’s just plain judgmental and wrong.
Building Rather Than Tearing Down
Hopefully, this insight will help us NOT go down the road to nitpicking as often (or in a “perfect world” —ever) in the future. We need these types of insights sometimes so we can grow away from embracing selfism.
The Bible says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” May we always keep that in mind and not be one who tears down our spouses and our peaceful homes. But instead we build him or her up, contributing to the peace within our home.
To read more, concerning nitpicking and conflict issues, please click onto the following Peacemaker Ministries link, to read what Ken Sande says on the subject: Getting to the Heart of Conflict. He gives you a lot of food for thought and prayer.
If we have things that need to be said, may we confront our spouse with the mindset that it needs to be spoken in love (no matter how it is received). May we stop being vessels of criticism, but rather be dispensers of truth and of grace, reflecting and revealing the heart of Christ, within our marriages.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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