Pride is one of those tricky words. There can be both a good side to pride and a destructive side. To be proud of someone else’s achievements or accomplishments can be a good thing. There are many times I have been proud of my children. In their growing up years, I took pride in their accomplishments and in their choices. When I saw them work hard to achieve a goal that stretched them, I was proud of them. When they took their faith seriously as teenagers and made hard decisions that were consistent with that faith, I was proud of them.
On the other hand, destructive pride can have a devastating effect on relationships. One definition of pride is the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. I see it all the time in marriage relationships. One person thinks they are better than the other, or that what they bring to the relationship is more important than what their spouse brings. Or one person thinks that because they bring in the most income, they should have more say in how that money is spent. Pride can manifest itself in a myriad of ways in a marriage. Most of them are destructive.
Let’s break this down a little bit. A husband works hard and makes quite a bit of money. He has risen up the ranks and has also received many accolades from his peers. People are always praising him. He begins to feel pretty important and enjoys the attention. At home he begins to expect the same reception. Pride takes over. He is important, and he thinks that his wife should treat him like other people do. But she does not want a man to worship. She wants a husband. She wants a man of God who will be a servant-leader.
What about the wife who is a supermom? She runs the house, takes care of the kids, and is active socially. Everyone thinks she is great. She loves the kind words and praise others pour on her. Pride takes over. She is special, and she wants her husband to put her on a pedestal just like everyone else does. He is grateful for all she does, but he wants his wife. He wants the relationship they had before the house, kids, and societal commitments. He wants the wife back who wanted a marriage with God at the center—not her at the center.
I am vulnerable to the evils of pride, and you probably are too. I believe the real issue with pride is when we place ourselves where God is supposed to be. That will not work. It does not work in life in general, and it definitely will not work in a marriage. Marriage is designed to be a symbiotic relationship—two people working side by side, with each indispensable to the life and well-being of the other. That is God’s design. That is God’s plan. Pride? It just does not fit into an Awesome Marriage.
Dr. Kim’s new book, 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage, will help you overcome pride and move your marriage forward like you never dreamed possible.