“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant ? – 1 Corinthians 13:4.

Pride and conflict go hand in hand. Pride is, “I’m more important than you. What I’m doing is more important than you. So, whatever you want, whatever you think you need, whatever you’re doing, stop, because me and my situation, activities, and needs, they’re more important than yours. Don’t inconvenience me with you. You and I should both agree on how important I am. I’m more important than you.” Now that may seem both harsh and unrealistic, but is it? If we look closely we all probably have some degree of selfishness and pride manifesting itself in the relationship.

It is hard to remove ourselves and our emotions, self-interests and personal judgments from a conflict. And the stark fact is we hate to lose.

If you can’t stand to lose, if you have to be the victor at the expense of your spouse, you probably should not get married. Because every married person is going to have to lose on occasion. Sometimes you will lose because you are wrong and sometimes you will lose because you care more about the relationship than the argument. And you may lose because you are trying to be more like Jesus.

Jesus practiced mind-blowing, unfathomable humility. Philippians 2:5-8 tells us: ”Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[ being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Think about it for a second. God becomes a man. He goes from heaven to earth. He goes from a throne to a manger. He goes from riches to poverty. He goes from hearing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” to “Crucify him, crucify him, crucify him.”  Jesus repeatedly teaches on humility. He says in Matthew 30:26, “…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”  You want to have a great marriage? Then be a great servant.

When in conflict or at any other time for that matter ask yourself: Do you consider your spouse and his or her needs above your own? Does it show up practically with how the money is spent, and time is spent, and what the holidays look like, and what vacations look like, and what date night looks like, and where you live, and how life is put together?

“But Marty, I’m mad.” 

“He offended me.”   

“She’s wrong.”

“He owes me an apology.”

I understand. But Jesus was wronged. You got what He clearly didn’t deserve. He could have done things differently, but He humbled Himself. We can mirror our Savior if we put our pride and our need to win aside. Attack the problem, but never the person, communicating about difficult topics, with humility and reconciliation as the goals. Don’t let your pride blow things out of proportion. Serving your spouse with humility communicates that you still care about the marriage. It protects each other’s heart.

Every conflict presents us with a choice. We can either stick with pride, and miss out on all God has in store for you and your marriage: or we can stick with God and find out all the adventures that He has in store for you and your marriage. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you struggle with pride? In what areas of your life.
  2. Do you struggle more with pride against God or with others?
  3. How is pride destructive to marriage or relationships?
  4. What can we do this week to eliminate pride in our lives? Pray and ask God to show you the areas of your life where pride has taken hold?