Avoiding a Subtle Saboteur of Marriage

If you walk around with your nose in the air,

you’re going to end up flat on your face,

but if you’re content to be simply yourself,

you will become more than yourself.

Luke 18:14

It was the largest passenger steamship in the world when she set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City.

The British shipping company that built the passenger liner Titanic spared no expense to make sure it would be unsinkable.

The ship’s officers were unconcerned by their inability to get accurate information on possible hazards that might lie in its course. “Not even God could sink the Titanic,” was the boast of those who put their confidence in the vessel.

The luxury ship had two lookouts on her masts, but the lookouts had no binoculars. The crew couldn’t see far enough ahead to react to danger, and they had no way to get their information to the captain if they did see a problem approaching.

We all know what happened.

Four days into the crossing, on April 14, 1912 the “unsinkable” ocean liner went to her death, along with most of her passengers, on her maiden voyage from Europe to New York, the victim of a disastrous collision with an iceberg.

A man is never so proud as when striking an attitude of humility.

–C. S. Lewis

As the Elizabethan translation of the proverb says “Pride goeth before the fall.”

And isn’t it true? Our self-confidence can sometimes get the better of us.

When we put our full weight behind our own judgment, ability or power, we inevitably push humility out of our heart. Self-satisfaction and unhealthy pride becomes visible on the surface, but their danger is submerged in our unconscious. All the while we begin to feel pretty good about ourselves, as if we are actually better than others.

Let’s make this clear. Healthy pride, the pleasant emotion of being pleased by our work, is quite different than unhealthy pride where our ego is bloated. The latter is laced with arrogance and conceit.

You don’t have to be an egomaniac to suffer from unhealthy pride. It has a way of secretly seeping into the crevices of our lives even when we are consciously inclined to avoid it.

Ironically, our very efforts to be humble can be tinged with a tendency to look down on other people who we believe are not.

So here’s the challenge as a couple: How can you help each other maintain a healthy sense of pride and dignity while avoiding the unhealthy price of a bloated ego? This can be one of the great ways that “iron sharpens iron” in a relationship.

Reflect and Respond
How do you and/or your partner keep unhealthy pride in check?

Here’s a hint for you: Develop and nourish a servant’s heart toward your mate. Look for creative ways to serve each other rather than waiting to be served. I cannot care less about how you FEEL about that…do a Nike thingy…Just Do It. Start today.

(If you need some hints on how to do that, send me a note and I’ll send you an excerpt from our upcoming book 24kGold Weddings and Styrofoam Marriages.)