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Recently, my husband taught me a very important lesson about what it means to inspire and encourage your spouse rather than to nag and berate them.

And it was all thanks to an unmade bed.

You see, since we got married, making the bed each day has been a favorite way of mine to make the room look nicer. I always tried to have it made before my husband got home from work. And then, for some reason, I got a little lazy, and I stopped making the bed for a while

One day, I have no idea what prompted me to it, but I was cleaning up the rest of the house and decided to make the bed again. I had forgotten how nice it made the room look!

Later that evening, after my husband was home from work, he thanked me for making the bed. He said it looked really nice.

I was surprised. I hadn’t thought he really noticed one way or another.

But I enjoy making my husband happy (and let’s be honest, I enjoy his compliments!). So the next day I made it again. Sure enough, another compliment.

After that: No more laziness. I’m now back to making the bed every day!

And that is how it’s done!

Had he bereted me for not making it or complained or otherwise made me feel badly, the results may have been the same: I would’ve made the bed. But I would’ve done so grudgingly, because I felt like I had to.

Instead, he made me want to make the bed! He inspired me. And he encouraged me. It’s a joy to serve someone who makes you feel that way!

Here’s the best part, though: When I mentioned to him that I was writing this post, he was surprised! It wasn’t like he was just sitting around waiting for a chance to compliment me to get me to act in a certain way. He was just genuinely giving me a compliment. He knew it took extra effort to follow through with that chore and wanted me to know that he noticed. If I hadn’t made the bed for another two weeks, he wouldn’t have been angry or resentful.

This is what we should strive for in our marriages! Ladies, if your husband isn’t doing something, don’t nag him about it. Don’t be passive aggressive or punish him. Let it go.

Praise him for all that he does. Compliment him for the tasks he accomplishes every day. Be grateful rather than critical. I can tell you from experience that this approach is infinitely more effective than nagging!

Don’t be manipulative. If you compliment him just to get something out of it, that’s not sincere and that’s not showing Christ-like love. To avoid disappointment, make sure you’re complimenting him just for the sake of complimenting him. If it inspires him to do more, great! If it doesn’t, take heart because your encouragement is still strengthening your marriage and building up your husband in a healthy, positive way.

I know this is just a small example. I mean, it’s just an unmade bed, right? If you’re facing huge marital hurdles, this might seem silly. But start with the unmade beds in your life. Start letting the little things go. Give compliments at every opportunity. It may seem small but the results of changing nagging to encouragement can make a powerful impact on your marriage!

You May Also Enjoy:

One Thing that will Bring You Closer to Your Husband

Extending Christ-like Grace to Your Husband

Supporting Your Husband’s Spiritual Leadership

10 Christian Books to Nurture Your Marriage in 2017

Now it’s your turn! How do you handle the temptation to nag in your marriage? What other ways have you found to work through this issue?Lessons from an Unmade Bed: Choosing Encouragement over Nagging



  1. Great post. After 18 years of marriage, I have found that nagging usually gets me the opposite results of what I wanted. It is so much better to suggest or ask once and then let it go. Usually the things we nag about don’t really matter in the big picture anyway, but it can sure tear down our marriage.

    • Bree

      Thanks Rashel! I agree, it’s way too easy to get caught up in nagging about small, unimportant things. I love that: Just suggest or ask once and don’t worry about it after that! Thanks for coming back to comment, I’m so glad it worked this time!

  2. Love this post! Growing up I had no choice but to make my bed. It always seemed like such a HUGE chore, even though it takes less than 2 minutes. When I moved out, I stopped making it. My mom nagged me about it forever, and sometimes I left it unmade out of spite. But you know, once she stopped nagging, I started doing it more regularly. So it applies to moms too! 🙂

    • Bree

      I love that story, Karyl! Such a good point that it doesn’t just apply to spouses. It’s funny, my mom always made her bed too and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to do it since it is so quick and easy and it makes the room look so much nicer. She’s probably surprised to hear that I now make the bed every day! 🙂

  3. Such a great point, Bree. Nagging usually gets us nowhere. In fact, my husband has admitted to me that berating and nagging makes him shut down, which made me rethink my strategies for getting him to do things around the house, or in general. You’re right: it’s better to be encouraging than to be nagging. It gives us motivation to do more, and to do better, and more importantly, it allows us to do things with love instead of spite. Thanks so much for such an inspirational post. We’re so glad you were able to share this on #SHINEbloghop this week 🙂

    • Bree

      Thank you so much, Maria! I think it’s so easy to fall into nagging, it definitely takes more work to be encouraging. But the benefits are so worth it! I love your point about doing things out of love instead of spite! Thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to be a part of the SHINEbloghop!

  4. I enjoyed this thank you! As a Type A personality married to a more laid back personality, I have to remember this often.

    • Bree

      I think we all need reminders from time to time! I know I do 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, Debbie!

  5. Yes, this! Rev and I have been married almost 44 years and you and your husband have learned an important truth already. I set up our coffee maker the night before and every evening as he hears the whir of the grinder Rev says “Thank you!” It’s a little thing, but everyone wants to know they are appreciated. Great post! I found you at Jed and Jen’s Link Up. Glad to find you! I’ll be back! 🙂

    • Bree

      Thank you so much, Deb! The little things really do make a difference! 🙂

  6. Bree, I really enjoyed this! My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years now and before that we were together for 5 years. I used to have a big problem with not letting ANYTHING go! I’ve learned to let go and love him, for him. Communication was a big part of our problem, and I’m so happy we’ve worked through it! I’m much happier being happy. 😉 and I agree the small things make a huge difference in our marriages! P.s I did not make my bed this morning…I’m going to do that! #SHINEbloghop

    • Bree

      Haha love it! I was actually making my bed when I got your comment! 🙂 Communication is so important, as is changing our expectations. It’s awesome to hear from others who have experienced the same process of finding and giving grace with their spouses!Yay #SHINEbloghop 🙂

  7. It really does make such a difference when we do something because we want to please someone, especially our spouse! I also love keeping my home as tidy as I can and making good meals because I know it please my husband. I also really appreciate his compliments. I loved how you turned your husbands compliment around to see how you could please him and encourage us to do likewise to our husbands and others! Linking up with you at #shineblog hop 🙂

    • Bree

      It definitely seems like good things (a grateful heart, thankfulness, compliments) bring forth more good in us (a desire to please and serve one another), while the negative (nagging, complaining, expectations that are too high) only bring heartache and disappointment. Like Monica mentioned, I’m much happier being happy! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by from the #SHINEbloghop!

  8. My story is a little different but the lessons are the same – my hubby actually makes the bed for me – and yes, it encourages my heart far more than if he grumped about it! It is also a prompt in how I respond to others who may be struggling or dropping the ball.

    • Bree

      That’s definitely true for me too! It’s good to be recognize our own humanness as this helps us to extend grace to others when they mess up in some way. I know I’m always thankful for a kind word versus a harsh criticism, so it makes sense that my loved ones would feel the same! Thanks for your comment, Belinda!

  9. Bree, this is really good. Growing up my bed was required to be made, but my husband’s was not. I brought bed making into our marriage and he was amazed at it the whole deal. I had a busy day earlier this week and he missed a made bed when I didn’t make it up that day. We’ve been married almost 18 years and I learned very quickly it doesn’t pay to nag. Thank you for sharing your story with Thankful Thursdays.

    • Bree

      Thanks, Lori! I love that your husband has gotten used to having the made bed now! Mine has too it seems, although I didn’t realize it until he told me he appreciated it before I wrote this post! I agree, nagging doesn’t bring anything positive into the marriage. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing! 🙂

  10. Great post. Great advice. I’m glad you shared this at TGI Saturdays. Have a blessed weekend.

    • Bree

      Thanks Latisha! I’ve really enjoyed sharing and reading the posts this week from TGI Saturdays! I’m already looking forward to next week 🙂

  11. What a lovely way to say such an important message. Thanks for sharing it on the Blogger’s Pit Stop.

    • Bree

      Thanks Kathleen! It’s been great to share with everyone on the Blogger’s Pit Stop!

  12. Lovely lessons! And I am with you on making the bed. You probably know that Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project found that making the bed every morning is a fairly reliable indicator of overall happiness! 😉 Thank you for this sweet post…visiting from the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup.

    • Bree

      I actually didn’t know that, I’ll have to check out the Happiness Project! Thank you for stopping by and commenting from the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup! 🙂

  13. Bree, This was such a thoughtful and inspiring post.

    I tend to get exasperated at all the things that don’t get done, but I like your advice to “let it go” and to genuinely compliment those things my husband is doing that I like.

    I know when my son was little and had severe ADHD, we were seeing a family counselor to help us manage the severity of the situation. The counselor told us to find something to compliment each day, even if it was his breathing! She was saying this to make a point that there is always something we can find to compliment in another, and to be an encourager.

    Thanks for sharing such an edifying post. 🙂

    • Bree

      I love that advice from your counselor! I agree, we can always find something to compliment, we just have to be intentional about it. It’s always nice to be caught doing something good! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  14. Ooh, Bree, it is only by the Holy Spirit that I am not constantly nagging! That was what was modeled for me for the most part in my parents marriage and I tend to fall into that in mine and with my kids. I love when you write ” But start with the unmade beds in your
    Life” I’ll be looking for those opportunities! ?

    • Bree

      Yes! Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in these things! We just have to listen when we hear those prompts. How wonderful that you had this modeled for you! That’s what we hope to do for our children. Thank you for the comment!

  15. Hi Bree, it’s amazing how something so simple can be the gateway to a meaningful life lesson. I once heard a story about a couple married for several decades and when asked the secret to their joyful marriage the wife shared that early on she had chosen 10 things she was going to ‘let go’. So when her husband left his socks on the floor, she’d think to herself, ‘lucky for him, that’s one of the 10’. And so it would go on. Once I heard that I made a conscious effort to just let the little things go. It’s been working ever since! 🙂

    • Bree

      That made me smile! What a great idea! Letting the little things go really does make everyone happier 🙂 Thank you for visiting!

  16. Isn’t it amazing how genuine encouragement can be such a motivator for us (and our husbands!)? My husband and I recently did a marriage exercise from a marriage book I am working through and my second most important thing I wanted in marriage was encouragement. He listed in other ways but still the same is true for him. It is easy to lose sight of that in the midst of all of the annoyances in life. Great reminder to chose encouragement over nagging.

    • Bree

      It is amazing! I think it has to be a daily (sometimes hourly) choice to not let the little annoyances take over, but it’s definitely worth the effort. A little encouragement can keep me going on even the toughest days 🙂

  17. What a simple lesson. This can save marriage I think. If you just compliment each other! Thanks for linking up at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party. I love when we have new comers join us. Hope you join us next week as well!

    • Bree

      I agree! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment! The Family Joy Blog Link Up Party was great this week, I definitely plan on posting again!

  18. Hello, Bree Darling!

    Thank you for this post. Even after 21 years of marrriage, this is stil a message I need to hear. I really take this kind of message to heart, but sometimes it doesn’t go down so smothly. I tend to be a nagger but the Lord is helping me to bite my tongue and see all the awesomeness that my husband is doing.

    I found you on the Titus Tuesday’s link up.

    Tiffiney 🙂

    • Bree

      I think it is wonderful that you are able to see that this is an area of weakness for you! I know I have so many areas on which I need to work, and probably even more that I’m not aware of yet! I think that all too often we nag, emasculate, insult our husbands without even realizing it. Thankfully, like you said, we have the Lord to help us change (and to see where we need to change)! Thank you for visiting from the Titus Tuesday link up! 🙂

  19. So good and so true. My husband and I have grown in this way over the past year and it has made our marriage so much stronger. Great post!

    • Bree

      Thanks, Rhiannon! That’s great that you and your husband are growing in this area. I’m definitely a work in progress. It helps me to remember, though, that my primary responsibility is to glorify God, not to hold on to my own pettiness. So glad you stopped by!

  20. Hi Bree! Congrats! You were the most popular post this week and will be featured tomorrow on Women With Intention Wednesdays! I look forward to what you will share this week! 🙂

    • Bree

      Thank you so much, Jenny! That’s so exciting 🙂 I had a great time reading and posting last week on Women with Intention Wednesday, looking forward to this week! Thanks for visiting!

  21. I like a freshly made bed too. I think it just makes the room look so much nicer. I also find encouraging him by complimenting the made bed instead of nagging over the messy bed works better.

    Thanks so much for linking up at the #BloggersSpotlight party! I pinned this to our group board. Don’t forget to come link up again tonight and see the featured posts!

    • Bree

      And it definitely feels better to be the wife giving compliments rather than one giving insults! 🙂 Thank you for visiting and pinning to the group board! I’ve had a great time participating in the #BloggersSpotlight party!

  22. Love this! Such a simple message yet it has such a great impact on our marriages. I’m not perfect but I know that when I am making the effort to speak words of affirmation and praise to my husband, it’s often reciprocated instead of when I nag or complain.

    • Bree

      I am with you, I’m far from perfect, but I agree, the effort is worth it! 🙂

  23. This is a great post, love that something simple had such a huge effect on your relationship. 🙂
    I am what you might call a reformed nagger…still in recovery! Ha ha. Learning how to live with another person is so hard and it’s easy to treat our men like a child sometimes. I still remember the wake up call that I had, didn’t even realize I did it so often (criticizing the way he loads the dishwasher, so petty!) Now, guess what? He WON’T load the dishwasher for fear of belittling! Even though I don’t do it anymore, the damage has still been done and it takes time and real change on our part to heal that kind of thing. Thanks for this post, it was a great reminder to me this morning!

    • Bree

      Thank you, Emily! I know, it’s amazing how much little things can impact our marriages. I love that you’re working so hard to not criticize your husband! It’s hard but definitely pays off in the long run! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  24. I’m so in this moment of marriage, learning the same lessons… but unfortunately, I’ve been too dense to learn them from positive moments :'( Looking forward to time healing all the nag wounds and a more joyful future. Thank you so much for the encouragement! Blessings!

  25. Courtney

    Hey, thank you for this. I struggle with the spirit of perfectionism, something I am always working on. I nag because I am unhappy with myself, therefore I become with my husband’s lack of help or “laziness”. Thank you for writing this, it has just reiterated what I need to stop doing and start doing. We should encourage ourselves and more so listen to the Lord encouraging us. By doing this, we can encourage those we love.

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