Boasting in Marriage

It feels like overnight (or maybe I just noticed it), we have developed this thought that everyone wants to know everything about our lives. Instagram is filled with pictures of people at graduation parties, smoothie recipes that we need to try, new houses, couples, or children. Not that any of these things are wrong, but sometimes I wonder: why are we sharing these pictures on social media?

We believe what’s important to “me” must be important to everyone.

God has been tearing down my pride in my marriage by shutting me up. In the beginning of our relationship, we agreed about everything. We always communicated and understood what we had to say. Now all of a sudden, we’re having communication problems and we have discussions, not unanimous decisions. I’m sure I have a part to play in this, but I’m convinced that it’s because my husband is voicing his opinion more, and I’m actually listening (*insert mindblown explosion noise here*). I tell my husband that he needs to talk more, but maybe I need to stop talking more and start listening more.

Marriage is all about surrender: surrender first to Christ, and then to one another. Love does not boast, because boasting breaks this pattern of surrender. When I boast, I inadvertently elevate myself above my spouse. In the middle of an argument, boasting looks like fighting for why am right and my husband is wrong. While making decisions, boasting looks like advocating for my perspective and ignoring my husband’s. When we have guests over and they admire our decorations or the cooking, boasting looks like taking all the credit and talking endlessly about my homemaking skills, giving no notice to my husband’s input.

A husband and wife are meant to be a team, not competitors. In Romans 12, Paul talks about how to be a living sacrifice for Christ, how to worship Him with our lives. Several translations of verse 10 of that chapter indicate that we should “outdo one another in showing honor.” If you are going to boast or compete about anything, it should be, I love and serve my spouse better than he/she serves me! What a great goal to have, because it keeps your eyes constantly off yourself and on your spouse. All the while, you’re doing this to honor Christ.

I believe that the antidote for boasting is two-fold: thinking less of yourself and thinking more of others. First and foremost, we should elevate Christ in our lives and in our marriages. As a married couple, one great way for you to elevate Christ in your marriage is to talk and think highly of your spouse. In the middle of an argument, take time to pray (literally kneel in the middle of arguing if you have to!), and seek to listen to your spouse’s point of view. While making decisions, make sure that both you and your spouse have had a chance to voice your opinions before signing on the dotted line. When you have guests over, give glory to God that He brought you together, and talk about all the work your spouse did to make your house what it is. Even if you did everything but your spouse put mounting tape on the wall so you can hang up one picture, find something nice to say about that picture!

Ultimately, our boast should be in the Lord.

This is what the Lord says:

‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,’
declares the Lord.”

-Jeremiah 9:23-24

 

The cool thing is that when we humble ourselves, God exalts us (see James 4:6). Like the image above, the flower is held up by a hand, and someone is taking a picture of it. The flower is beautiful, but it doesn’t have to scream, “Look how beautiful I am! Notice me! Love me!” The person taking a picture saw the beauty of this flower and held it in a way that naturally elevated it. God does the same with us. Instead of trying to convince everyone that we are beautiful or smart or really good at something, let us stop talking for just one second and let God has to say about us. And hey, you never know; maybe your spouse has something nice to say too!


Photo by Chikeun Park on Unsplash

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