IS PRIDE DESTROYING YOUR MARRIAGE?
By Keren Kanyago
Let’s face it, one of the greatest hindrances to a fruitful marriage is pride. The Oxford dictionary defines pride as the consciousness of one’s dignity. If you are like me, my dignity is the last thing I want to give up. Go ahead and strip me of everything else but don’t touch my sense of worth. This begs the question – do you constantly relinquish your pride for the good of your marriage? Throughout Scripture, God expressly frowns upon pride. His son Jesus is the perfect embodiment of humility.
Though equal with God, Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a bondservant. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death on the cross. As a result, God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name above every name. (Philippians 2:6-9). Jesus gave up His dignity and gained a far greater and incomparable blessing.
We can sprinkle countless blessings into our marriages if we steer clear of pride. Granted, tossing away pride is not a walk in the park. It’s unnerving and difficult. But. It yields a mighty harvest of blessings. On the contrary, allowing pride to dominate your marriage is detrimental. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
Here are six signs that pride is wreaking havoc on your marriage.
1. You Never Apologize to Your Spouse
“I’ve had enough!” James blurted out as he grabbed his car keys. The least he expected from his wife was an apology. But Cathy just sat there biting her lip and wringing her hands, expecting him to apologize like he always did. She is the one who had offended him, and he was tired of bearing the brunt of all their disagreements. He fired up his car and sped off.
Conflict is guaranteed in marriage. But if you never apologize to your spouse, that could mean you are clutching onto pride. It can’t be that your spouse is the only one who makes mistakes. It takes two to tango, and you too will offend them at some point. It’s unfair to expect your spouse always to be the first to make amends, even for mistakes they didn’t make. Before long, they will get fed up. You may think you are winning, but you are losing them. Resentment is gradually building up in their hearts.
2. It’s Always Your Way or the Highway
“Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful.” (1 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)
When we brought our chubby infant home from the hospital, I assumed that I would be the one calling the shots where tending to her was concerned. My husband would have to consult with me before handling her. For instance, I didn’t trust that he could bathe her without dropping her or even be able to burp her. After all, wasn’t I the one endowed with maternal instincts? It was either my way or the highway where tending to her was concerned. Before long, my husband was burning with rage at my perspective. He was the father of our child, and he had every intention to get involved in the nitty-gritty aspects of raising her.
In marriage, pride makes you think you know it all and can do things better than your spouse. You don’t trust them to make the right judgment. Such an attitude is very repulsive to your partner. After all, we are willing to bet that you got married to an adult of sound judgment. They, therefore, deserve a fair chance to air their opinions and have things done their way every so often. Besides, no human being has a monopoly on knowledge. Paul said that we know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9).
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3)
God would have you esteem your spouse above yourself. Real love does not insist on its own way.
3. You Can’t Handle Correction From Your Spouse
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Being the closest person to you, your spouse has a crystal clear view of your life. With time, they get to know your strengths and weaknesses like the back of their hand. They are, therefore, best placed to help you smoothen your rough edges. A proud spouse will, however, not take correction lying down. They get defensive when their spouse points out their mistakes. They view correction as an attack on their personality.
Besides offering you companionship, your spouse should help you become a better person. Some of their sweet attributes should rub off on you. The Bible states that two are better than one. If one falls, their companion will lift them up, But woe unto him who is alone when he falls (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). If you are married, it is unwise to live like one who doesn’t have a partner. Allow your spouse to help you become better by accepting their correction.
4. You Do Not Meet Your Spouse’s Needs
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Nancy always longed for the weekend. She looked forward to snuggling on the couch with her husband Mike, watching a movie, or chatting. There was nothing she desired more. Mike, on the other hand, didn’t care about movies. He considered Nancy’s behavior childish and “unmanly.”
On one sunny Sunday afternoon, he gathered courage and expressly told her that he was sick and tired of “lazing” around watching her boring movies. Mark was reeking of pride.
Pride makes you self-centered. You hold the view that everything revolves around you. On the one hand, you expect your spouse to bend over backward to meet your needs, but on the other hand, you wouldn’t be bothered meeting theirs. You are not willing to inconvenience yourself in order to enthuse your spouse.
You consider yourself better than them. Paul urged the Philippians not only to look for their own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). Neglecting your spouse’s needs is another glaring sign of pride.
5. You Consider Yourself More Spiritual than Your Spouse
“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4).
Jason was raised in a Christian family, with his parents being pastors of a small local church. Every day at 3 am, his parents would wake him and his siblings for prayer. In the long run, this culture got ingrained in him. After getting married to Stacy, he expected she would rise at 3 am to pray with him. Stacy was a heavy sleeper who preferred to wake up and pray at 6 am. She was more alert and well-rested then. Jason, in return, often taunted her, saying that she was not spiritually strong enough to brave the grueling 3 am hour. Pride had gotten the better part of Jason.
If you perpetually look down on your spouse’s spiritual state, you could also suffer from pride. Ultimately, each of us is answerable to God because he is the righteous judge. And although spouses should hold each other accountable, it’s not your place to judge their spiritual standing with God. God is the only one who searches our hearts and tests our minds (Jeremiah 17:10). While on earth, Jesus often rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the law for their piety and self-righteousness. We need to ensure that we do not have the same pharisaical attitude in our marriages
6. You Don’t Initiate Anything in your Marriage
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Perhaps you are well aware of the things that could perk up your marriage. You are certain that your marriage would get a kick if you both prioritized weekly date nights. You know that it bothers your spouse that you never initiate sex. You know that sweeping issues under the rug is wreaking havoc on your marriage, but you wouldn’t be bothered to lift a finger. You don’t like to appear needy or weak to your spouse, so you wait for them to be the first to fix your marriage.
Pride will keep you from taking the first step towards improving your marriage. Such an attitude is counterproductive because as your marriage deteriorates, it’s not just your spouse who will suffer. You will also be left in pain.