Did I get your attention? Of course, it is easy to think that thought about your spouse. But would he or she
It’s always easier to spot pride in your spouse’s life than it is to acknowledge it in your own life.
My wife once communicated something that she needed from me. Her suggestion was a valid request, but I had some serious defensive reservations that day. As she asked for one simple thing, my mind went to all the countless things I thought I was doing well. My stellar skills as a husband should have given me a free pass by now and kept me from any more requests.
While I communicated my thoughts (and others I just processed in my mind), my desired comeback was to remind her of just how good she had it in being married to someone like me. In my “humble” opinion, I was way better than any other husband she might know, and so she should thank her lucky stars that she got to be married to someone as kind, compassionate, and hard-working as me.
My prideful defense of myself as a man caused me to be a lesser husband for her. The haughty spirit present in me refused to address my weaknesses because I wanted her to focus on my strengths. I couldn’t become a better husband because I acted like there wasn’t any room to improve.
The only solution for pride is humility.
For the glory of God and the sake of your marriage, you must humbly acknowledge that you are at least some part of the problem.
As you work through the devastation that pride leaves in its wake, here are some wise steps of humility to put into practice.
First, humbly acknowledge that your spouse’s words might be right.
I know it is hard to accept, but you could be wrong. You might not be completely wrong, but is there a chance that you might be a percent of the problem? Even if the conflict is layered with years of frustration and myriads of misunderstandings, there is most likely some truth to the hard thing he or she is saying about you. As far as it depends on you, live at peace (Rom. 12:18) with your spouse, and acknowledge the potential of your divisive contributions.
Second, humbly acknowledge that your spouse’s feelings might be justified.
It is pointless and unthoughtful to argue your intentions against your spouse’s feelings. Even if you didn’t mean to make your spouse feel that way, you can’t argue with someone’s feelings. Explain your intentions but acknowledge his or her perspective. Don’t cause greater frustrations by attempting to invalidate deep-seated convictions.
Finally, humbly acknowledge that your spouse’s forgiveness might be needed.
Admit your mistakes and recognize your responsibility regardless of what your spouse says or does. Do not wait for an explicit confession on his or her part before you offer your own. Decide that you will humbly seek forgiveness for the role of which you are responsible. Pride will make you want to be right. Humility will cause you to make it right.
Seek to win your spouse more than you seek to win the argument.
Your argumentative skills might earn you a victory in a debate, but they also might land you a defeat in your marriage. If you prove your point and win the conflict, is your marriage in a better place because of it? Pride will seek a win for you, but humility will seek a win for the marriage.
What God has joined together, let no pride separate.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.