When my husband and I got married I had a serious problem with pride. I knew it was there, but I didn’t realize how deep it was until we had an argument that almost ended our marriage.
Up to that point, whenever we had a disagreement I would take it SUPER personal. I thought to myself, “I need to ignore him, give him the silent treatment, be petty and not cook him breakfast so he knows to never do that again.” It sounds ridiculous now when I write about it, but I actually still struggle with it from time to time when we’re upset with each other and I feel like I was justified.
Then one day the silent treatment went on longer than it ever had before, like a couple of days of us being cold towards each other. When we finally sat down to talk about our issues, I wasn’t really listening. I just wanted to be heard. I told him in so many words that I didn’t care what he was struggling with or that it would take time for him to get things right-I wanted my way right then. I even hinted that I was willing to leave our marriage if he couldn’t get his act together.
Things went downhill from there. He left for hours. I had no idea where he went.
The only thing I could think of, the one thing that God kept hammering at me with was “Is your pride really worth sacrificing your relationship with your husband?”
In the hours that he was gone, God showed me that I was creating the habit of choosing my pride over my love for my husband. I had become self-righteous and magnified his flaws mentally, while downplaying my own. When I did stuff to mess up and hurt or disappoint him, I found ways to minimize my guilt; but when Jono messed up, I quickly became offended and impatient. I wanted him to change to fit my preferences.
That night, God showed me that my pride would cost me my marriage if I continued on that path. He showed me that I needed to be humble and be more patient with my husband’s flaws-especially if I was always minimizing my own.
I broke down and asked God to forgive me. Yes, my husband was wrong for letting his temper get the better of him, but now I could also clearly see my part in the situation. I had let things between us fester for days trying to “punish” him, but no one won because our relationship suffered for it.
That night I had to ask God to help me stop being so scared of being done wrong and just trust His hand to guide our marriage. I had to make up my mind that I was going to treat my husband with patience and compassion instead of waiting to pounce on the first mistake he made.
Most of all, I had to accept that I was messed up too. My anger, pride, and impatience were real problems too. And I needed to put more energy into working on myself instead of trying to “train” my husband into becoming the man I thought he should be.
How Pride Issues Affect Relationships
You Become Manipulative
A prideful person doesn’t see that they need to change. In fact, all the problems in the relationship are ultimately their partner’s fault.. In the mind of a prideful person, their spouse’s issues are a cross they have to bear, and they themselves are a martyr. So they constantly guilt, prod, criticize, or nag their partner into submission. They constantly find ways to blame their partner and make them feel like they need to change, but never acknowledge that they are messed up too.
That kind of manipulation can cause your relationship to self-destruct. You’re putting yourself in God’s place in the relationship. You’re actually trying to force your spouse to change instead of working on yourself.
This kind of strain can do serious damage to your partner’s self esteem. Imagine always being made to feel like you’re the most messed up person in the world? Imagine being made to feel like your flaws are bringing your partner down all the time?
That kind of relationship can become emotional abuse.
So if you find yourself always pointing the finger at your partner for the issues in your relationship, you probably have a problem with PRIDE.
2. You Neglect Your Own Issues
If you’re struggling with pride issues, you’re probably not spending much time working on yourself. Sure, there are things you’re willing to work on, but I’m talking about that deep, painful, uncomfortable stuff that you find hard to face.
There’s no time to work on that stuff because you’re so focused on changing your partner and getting them to see things your way.
3. Your Partner Can’t Communicate With You
Trying to bring a complaint or concern to a prideful person is hard because you feel like somehow they’re going to find a way to turn the problem back on you and make it your fault. You can’t get to the core of your relationship problems and actually work them out if your first response is to blame your partner. With that kind of dynamic, your partner will become more and more unhappy, until your marriage becomes a business arrangement. You will become two people co-existing, with all the affection and passion dried up because your partner will resent you.
What To Do About Your Pride
It’s hard to give advice on how to overcome pride because it’s not something you consciously decide to to do. It’s more of a mindset. And so working on pride issues require a mindset shift. Here are some things I had to start remembering every time my husband and I had conflict.
1. Avoid the the blame game.
No one wins that game. All it does is create resentment and bitterness because each person is rubbing the other person’s shortcomings in their face. That’s not how God wants us to deal with our issues.
2. Always examine the part YOU played in the situation.
Sometimes even when I felt like I was right and my husband was wrong, when I took time to think about it more I would realize that my reaction to his action caused things things to escalate.
Looking at the part you played helps you be more honest with yourself. It helps you develop a more humbled, balanced view of you and your partner. If you always think of yourself as the wise, perfect one who’s trying to be patient with your lost, struggling spouse, you will never see the need for growth on your part. And your relationship can’t improve if you’re not trying to work on your issues and better yourself.
3. Look at your partner’s flaws with the same compassion and understanding that you look at yours with.
It’s easy to downplay your own flaws and behaviors, because you know what you were thinking when you did them. You can find reasons to justify yourself and make your actions seem less wrong.
On the other hand though, it’s harder to understand the motivations that drive your partner. That requires you to listen to their side and put yourself in your partner’s shoes. It requires you to look at them with the same love and compassion that God does.
That’s what marriage is all about. It’s a continual practice of humbling yourself, listening, showing compassion, and forgiveness. It’s about learning to compromise, adjust, and put selfish preferences aside in order to build a stronger union between you and your partner, one that reflects God’s character.
There’s no room for pride in love. One usually ends up destroying the other. Only one can win.
What you now have to decide is this: Is being right more important than being unified? Is your pride worth your spouse? Are you willing to sacrifice your relationship for your ego?
Spoiler alert- it’s not.
I hope you choose love! It never fails.
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