Thursday, August 4, 2011

Being Saved By the ‘N’ Word?

Last week a newspaper article (yes, I still read newspapers) stated men's health is being enhanced by the use of the “N” word.

Not that “N” word! The one the story referred to is: Nagging. It seems when wives are diligent in scheduling physicians’ appointments for their husbands, then reminding – even nagging – them to go, men often avoid catastrophic heart attacks.

A study showed, “among heart attack victims, married men arrive at the hospital soonest…half an hour sooner than those who were not married.” Even without heart attack symptoms, research found, “it is not uncommon for a wife to begin pushing her husband to visit the doctor long before a man thinks he needs to go.”

Nagging wives typically don’t rank atop the popularity ladder. We see parodies in the comic strips: Blondie trying to motivate sleep-prone Dagwood Bumstead; Hagar the Horrible being harangued by Helga; lazy Earl being exhorted by Opal in “Pickles”; Hi being chided by Lois.

But apparently having a nagging wife could be just what the doctor ordered for many men.

It comes down to the motive behind the nagging. If it’s to belittle and demean, it becomes destructive; disheartening at best. In Proverbs 27:15-16, King Solomon (who, having had 1,000 wives and concubines, should know!) wrote, “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil in the hand.”

However, the Bible also says there’s great value in well-intended rebuke or correction: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

Most men don’t need to be nagged to watch football games featuring their favorite team, or to play golf or go fishing, if they enjoy that. But when it comes to household chores or family matters, sometimes loving wives need to apply the “spurs,” much like cowboys do with their horses. The intention is not to harm, but get them moving in the right direction.

If, as Ephesians 4:15 suggests, we go about “speaking the truth in love,” a little nagging won’t hurt. According to research, it might actually help!

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