Why Am I Contentious? (Why Am I a Nag?)

I’ll start by introducing the word “nag” instead of “contentious.” It’s easier to type.

So, why am I contentions, er, a nag (see a definition in The Vexing and Contentious Woman )?

I nag to control my circumstances.

And so do you.

(If you don’t nag, you can probably identify other ways that you control people and situations).

Why am I a nag?  I nag so that other people will act in such a way that life works for me. I nag to gain control (as if it worked). I MUST be in control. My very life depends on it!

It started with the fall and it was sealed with the curse.

(By the way, that’s good news! We are not meant to be controlling nags. It’s the opposite of how we were created as women… but it’s what we’re saddled with as sinners.)

It started with the fall.

Adam and Eve had this tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. They didn’t know what good and evil were. They knew they would die if they ate from the tree, but they didn’t know what that meant either. They may have thought that if they could eat that fruit, they’d no longer fear the unknown.  Then they’d know for sure what good and evil were and maybe they’d be able to protect themselves from this death, whatever it was. And, besides, the serpent said they wouldn’t die anyway…

On top of it all, the fruit looked good.

Maybe God was holding back. Maybe He wasn’t so good after all: no fruit; no information about good or evil or death. Maybe they thought:

Hey, we better TAKE CONTROL of our destinies and take care of ourselves. We can’t trust this God. We need to know what He knows. We need to be in control like God is. Our lives depend on it.

So they ate.

And they were cursed.

My destiny to nag was sealed with the curse

Here’s part of Eve’s curse:

“You will have desire for your husband. But he will rule over you.” Genesis 3: 16b

Many scholars define desire in this passage by comparing it to a parallel passage in Genesis 4: 7 which also uses the Hebrew word translated desire.  Here’s the best explanation I found of the that definition:

When we apply the word picture that we see in [the parallel passage of] Genesis 4:7 [about sin “desiring” Cain], the meaning of Genesis 3:16 becomes clear. The wife’s “desire” to overpower and control her husband is a curse of sin on the marriage relationship. However, in this conflict the “prey” (husband) fights back and gets the upper hand, and the “predator” (wife) loses. (The cure for this curse is in Ephesians 5:21-33.)

A more complete explanation can be found at http://www.christdeaf.org/bible/TheHunt.pdf. It was published by Christ 

Lutheran Church of the Deaf at http://www.christdeaf.org/. Many conservative scholars agree that “desire” in this passage is not a desire for love, but a negative desire, a violent craving against.

Therefore, while God’s original (and restored) plan includes mutual submission of husband and wife, the fall lead to a fight for dominance and control between men and women. Because of the man’s superior strength, he often ends up in the ruling position.

We fell by not trusting God and taking control. And we are doomed to continue wanting control.

But a desire for control was NOT God’s original plan for women. It’s not how females were designed.

I contrast the fleshly, sinful place where we often find ourselves:

Don’t trust God with situations in life -> anger, fear, and frustration at circumstances (and people and sometimes God) – > being contentious towards others (either quietly or through nagging, as a way to control circumstances and others in order to protect ourselves)

With the place God wants us to be:

Trust God with every situation in life -> inwardly gently rest  in His loving plan -> have an attitude of peace and tranquility (quiet) that doesn’t disturb, but instead soothes others (see A Phrase That Makes Me Gag: Gentle and Quiet Spirit for a definition of that phrase)

So, how do I move from distrust to trust? From fear and anger to gentle rest? From controlling contentiousness to peaceful quiet?

Before I go there, I want to take a detour and post about how all women, even the most verbally quiet women, find ways to control their circumstances and their people (with input from my husband, who has had vast experience in this arena!).

Next Post: Controlling? Not Me!

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7 thoughts on “Why Am I Contentious? (Why Am I a Nag?)

  1. Living in Grace, Mercy, and Love starts with me. Only Good can over come evil.
    Redefine Meek = Power under control.
    Christ had all power but gave himself even though he had legions of Angels he could call.

  2. I hate to admit it but I am all too controlling. I never really thought I was, but due to recent events I just realized how much I try and control things. It just goes to show how good sin is at finding ways to control us.

    On a side note, glad to see you back writing!

  3. Holiday Longing,

    I followed you over from Glen’s blog. Hope it is okay to comment here as you seem to be working through some of the same things God has been getting into my thick head.

    Yes, we women can be quarrelsome and naggy. No doubt.

    Men have their own faults and I appreciate your not turning and pointing fingers at them, saying it’s because of the husband’s shortcomings that we must be the way we are. We each have our own load of guilt that must be faced.

    One thing God has been very good to make clear to me is that all acts of sin spring from the root of an ungrateful desire to “be god”. When we are thankless for what He has already given to us and greedily grab for more, we are effectually attempting to do that which we have no right (or power) to do.

    I would wholeheartedly agree with your thought about “control” being the motivating factor here.

    Shame on us 😦

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to add you to my blogroll.

    God Bless.

  4. Glen,

    I have very good reason to see men that way, but by the grace of God He has taught me otherwise. And I do not see men that way at all now…although I realize it exists big time in the world. I think men are wonderful, beautiful and honorable beings.

    I think this whole issue has a lot to do with our technological advancements too. I do believe God was behind some of the inventions and discoveries that changed us for all time within the last century and a half…but on the other hand they have taken us out of our natural element.

    And I think the adversary uses this to his advantage (of course he would do that).

    Our faulty character traits, such as contention, etc., have existed from the beginning, but now that the lines between traditional gender roles have blurred I think we don’t appreciate and need the opposite gender the way God intended anymore.

    So it’s no wonder more dysfunction arises. Don’t get me wrong here…I love where we have come as women and I don’t want to go backwards…but I can see that we have all gotten carried away.

    Also, now that we have use of birth control this has heightened the whole problem. Sex is no longer seen as “sacred” and something bearing tremendous responsibility and respect for other human beings.

    It has enabled us to become a disposable society in that regard also. So we no longer value each other very much.

  5. We’re a mess huh?

    I think another thing flowing from Genesis 3 is a mistrust of men. The silence of Adam exposes Eve to mortal danger. And I think it has settled into the heart of every daughter of Eve that men cannot be trusted to provide and protect. They are lazy, good-for-nothing, part-man-part-sofa, cowards who will not step up to the plate and protect their women the way God intends. Unfortunately every son of Adam is indeed like this. By nature anyway. No wonder women nag. And no wonder men either withdraw further or cut them down.

    A mess, I tell ya.

    • Well, I didn’t want to blame-shift!
      The only person who’s sin I can address is mine (and not all that well), so I need to attend to my own mess first.

      But, I still try (to change my husband…)!

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