Rav Avigdor Miller on The Nagging Wife

Is it proper for a wife to nag her husband?

Absolutely it’s proper. But it depends for what, and it depends how it’s done. If it’s done for the mitzvah of nagging, which is usually the case, then not only is it improper, but it’s a ruination of herself. A husband, even the nicest and quietest husband, will come to hate a woman who is a nag. It won’t help how beautiful she is. And it won’t matter how much of a good cook and good housekeeper she is. If she nags לשם מצות nagging, just for the sake of nagging, then she’s going to become hated. So it doesn’t pay, it doesn’t pay to become hated.

Now, if something has to be done by the husband, then that’s a different story. If something must be done, and the husband is obstinate, that’s different. All husbands are stubborn like mules, this you have to know. There isn’t a husband who is not stubborn like a mule. And there isn’t a woman who is not frantic about it like a wild cat. However, both of them are wrong. All the husbands are stubborn and all the women are wild. So it’s not an simple job for a frantic cat to properly nag a stubborn mule. But with wisdom it’s possible.

When somebody use a certain amount of perspicacity, a certain amount of judgement, they can sometimes accomplish what they want, what is needed, with judicial nagging. But I’m repeating, if nagging is done just for the pleasure of needling somebody, of hurting him, then it doesn’t pay. It doesn’t pay at all. And that’s a very important lesson.

Many times, the objective you were aiming for, the objective for which you started out on a career of nagging is very small, and it simply doesn’t justify losing favor in the eyes of your husband. That objective, of keeping his favor, is often more important than the objective that you are trying to achieve, what you are trying to get him to do, by nagging him.

Always remember that each one of you, each spouse, has capital that you come into the marriage with, capital that has been built up, and that capital has to be preserved. And that capital is the goodwill of your partner. You want to maintain your partner’s love and respect for you. That comes first. You want to preserve that capital. Now sometimes, if it’s an emergency, you might have to sacrifice that too. But otherwise, watch your step, because you’re giving away something that you might never be able to regain.

TAPE # 508