We are all sinners! Therefore our natural bend is towards pride. Pride is ultimately a heart issue that seeks attention to self and elevates one’s abilities, accomplishments, possessions, and/or position. Its greatest danger is that it keeps our eyes fixed on ourselves rather than God. It spiritually blinds us and prevents us from seeing God’s hand at work. It takes the glory rather than giving it back to God. Pride doesn’t seek forgiveness, instead, it struggles to admit wrong or even recognize the sinful condition they are in. Pride impacts the lens through which they see others; they become quick to judge and look down upon another person. Proverbs 21:24 gets at the heart of these kinds of people when it says, “Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance.”
If pride hinders the way a person views others how much more damage could it cause in a marriage? Since our flesh naturally leans toward a sinful nature every person deals with pride, whether they choose to combat it or lean into it. No one is exempt! Pride is the heart condition behind all sin. It is the complete opposite of humility. Therefore the best way to counteract it is by humbling yourself. “Dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1Peter 5:5b). If pride is what you must avoid, how should you be humble?
Humility acknowledges selfishness
We tend to be so quick at thinking about ourselves first. However, humility is selfless, meaning it thinks of “self” less. Living prideful and selfishly is easy but being a person with humility is better. To live this way you must acknowledge, accept, and admit your selfishness. It is a choice to be humble. It is a choice to remain selfish and in opposition to your spouse. Holding onto things you want regardless of the other person’s needs or wants leads to stubbornness and then to division. It can be very difficult to put aside our own wants and desires for the sake of another but humility wants connectedness more. Simply having the ability to recognize your own faults and admit when you’re wrong is a beautiful expression of humility towards your spouse. When a person chooses humility they are declaring that no one is less than, no one is beneath “me.” Humility elevates and gives value to your spouse and those around you.
Humility attentively listens
If you are not listening to your spouse with the intention you might miss what they are trying to tell you. Listening with your own agenda in mind is not listening at all, it’s simply waiting for a moment for you to push your own thoughts and opinions onto your spouse. Humility is attentive; it fully listens and hears without thinking of what to say next. We live in a technology-driven world, which can bring major distractions or the need to multi-task. However putting your phone down, or looking away from your computer screen while your spouse is speaking to you shows that you care about what they need to share with you. It shows that your spouse is more important and more valuable than the social media you’ve been scrolling through. Humility respects another person while they are speaking by making a point to really hear and take into consideration their viewpoint.
Humility is willing to change
Guess what?! You are not perfect! Everyone makes mistakes. The difference between you and someone else could be the way you respond to mistakes. Are you quick to blame? Or are you quick to take responsibility for your actions and then make the necessary changes? Being willing to change means you are willing to accept and admit that you are wrong. It also means you have an open mind and are willing to accept feedback from your spouse. Instead of choosing hurt or dwelling on the rejection, humility reflects on the advice given by your spouse and works at applying it to your life. Humility doesn’t hold on to grudges or harbor the pain of criticism rather it takes it as a tool to improve and grow as a spouse and as an individual. A humble person is quick to forgive and seek forgiveness.
Humility serves well
When we choose humility, we become more like Jesus. Jesus is the greatest example of humility as He lowered himself by becoming human and then went to the cross on our behalf. He shed innocent blood so that we can have life. He chose to serve us and love us well despite our flaws and our sin. This is how Jesus describes himself and his purpose, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:28). Marriage is not a means for you to be served but rather it’s a chance to emulate Jesus more by learning how to serve. Humility puts the needs of others ahead of your own. Other-centered focus is when we choose to change our perspective from ourselves to others and mindfully love them well. Living a life of humility points people to Jesus. Humility honors God because it removes the focus on self from Him. People who choose humility recognize their brokenness but don’t want to remain in sin, they are more concerned with honoring and glorifying God than arguing what they think they deserve. Making humility a priority in your life is always best and will strengthen not only your marriage but your walk with God as well. Strip away the pride and clothe yourself with humility.