Pride is common, and is actually encouraged, in today’s society. Although the word “pride” has developed a connotation of its own, the pride that the Bible warns against involves making yourself look better than you actually are. Strong’s Greek Concordance translates the word for pride in 1 Corinthians 13:4 (physioutai) as “puffed up.” The phrase invokes the imagery of a balloon being inflated. On the outside, the balloon increases in size, pomp, and importance, but the inside is filled with nothing.
In marriage, pride can cause fights, arguments, and disagreement. Using the idea of pride that the Bible describes, spouses attempts to puff themselves up in competition against one another to prove why they are right. Since they are so busy pointing out their spouse’s big heads, they never see their own. Pride can never bring a couple together; it can only tear them further apart. That’s why pride is described as the marriage-killer.
This popular scenario that takes place in a marriage demonstrates how easy it is for pride to creep into your relationship. We all know that men do not listen. When women want to vent, men want to fix it. Men and women violently attack each other to prove that their side is the right side. They even call their friends together of the same gender and have an all-out battle of the sexes to defend their opinions. That in and of itself is pride, but there’s an even deeper root of pride that exists in this case.
Men have this innate desire to fix everything. Generally speaking, they have this tendency to think that they have the solution to every problem, and that if only women could see things like they do, the world would be a better place. When women are caught up in their feelings, men have to rescue them from their distorted thinking and help them see the right way (his way, of course!). Bad day at work? Husband knows how to fix it! Problems with your sister? Husband knows what to say! In every situation, the wife may say “It’s not as easy as you think,” but the husband will believe, “Of course it’s that easy! It works for me every time!”
On the other side, women have this innate desire to express their feelings. Generally speaking, they see their husbands after a long day of separation and feel the need to dump everything on them. It doesn’t matter if their husbands are tired, hungry, or need to poop. If the wife wants to talk, the husband needs to listen. Then, when the husband reacts according to his fatigue/hunger/needing to poop (AKA, says something stupid in response to this outpouring of the wife’s heart), the woman gets upset. “You didn’t talk to me like I deserve,” the wife might say. “Why can’t you talk to me like that hot guy talks to his wife in that sappy romantic movie I always make you watch?”
In Matthew 7, Jesus illustrates what pride looks like through the imagery of a piece of wood: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:3-5).
Like the person who Jesus describes in this parable, we tend to look at everyone else’s faults before dealing with our own. Wives, before you judge your husband for leaving his clothes on the floor, ask yourselves, “Do I put everything back in its place when I’m finished with it?” As you look around, you may find your make-up, books, or other items strewn around the house. Make sure you are clean before you criticize your husband for being dirty.
When we got married, my pastor gave my husband a wise bit of marriage advice: “These two phrases will save your marriage – ‘It’s my fault,’ and ‘I’m sorry.'” He specifically told that to my husband, but I’ve learned that I have to say it to my husband as well. When was the last time you took responsibility in your marriage? How often do you believe that it’s your spouse’s fault when something goes wrong? Make an effort to use these phrases more often. Ask God to help you see where you need work. If you cannot look past your own pride and only see the work your spouse needs, pray for your spouse. I know that, over time, God will open your eyes to see where you need work too!
This article lists 10 ways that pride manifests in marriage. If you feel led, prayerfully read through this list and consider if these attributes are present in your marriage. Again, before you go complaining that your spouse is guilty of all these qualities, look in your own heart and pray about how you can change, too.