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. I have been proud of my children on many occasions. As they were growing up, I took pride in their accomplishments and in their choices. When I saw them work hard for something or to achieve a goal that stretched them, I was proud of them. When they took their faith seriously and made hard decisions as teenagers that were consistent with that faith, I was proud of them.
Another type of pride, however, can have a devastating effect on marriage. One definition of pride is the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. I see this type of pride present itself 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. For example, one person may feel that because they bring in more of the family income, they should have more say in how 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 consistently receives praise from other people. He begins to feel pretty important and enjoys the attention. At home he starts to expect the same reception. Pride takes over. Feeling important, he thinks 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 godly man who will be a servant-leader.
What about the wife who is super mom? 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. She feels special and expects her husband to put her on a pedestal just like everyone else seems to do. He is grateful for all she does, but he wants his wife. He wants the relationship they had before the house, kids, and social life. He wants the wife back who wanted a marriage with God at the center—not her at the center.
We are all vulnerable to the evils of pride. We allow pride to take hold of us when we choose to put ourselves where God is supposed to be. That will not work. It does not work in life in general, and it definitely does not work in a marriage. Marriage is designed to be a symbiotic relationship: two people working side by side, each indispensable to the life and well-being of the other. That is God’s design. That is God’s plan. Pride does not fit into an Awesome Marriage.