For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:3-5 (NIV)
The attributes that should be evident in a Christian marriage, as set out in 1 Cirinthians 13, exemplify those characteristics that God values. The next attribute we consider is: ‘love … is not proud’.
We all recognise pride when we see it, or do we? The image we tend to have of pride is of a haughty person whose opinion of themselves doesn’t match up to reality. Perhaps your view is tempered by Paul’s thoughts in Galatians 6:3 where he says:
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Or perhaps the well-known verse from Proverbs 16:18 comes to mind:
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
We’ve all been pleased to see a proud person getting their comeuppance (I hope this word translates easily into other cultures).
However, pride can be much more subtle than that and especially so in marriage. We aren’t talking here about being proud of your home, spouse, children, etc. We all want to be proud of our family and home. The pride mentioned here is that which is based on considering yourself as somehow better, more important, or more valuable than your spouse. Perhaps you are the sole breadwinner, or major earner in the family. Does that make you more important or valuable than your spouse?
Why is pride in marriage destructive? Pride, when it is based on inflating your own importance or value over that of your spouse, has forgotten one key factor of marriage. This is that in marriage a couple become ‘one flesh’. This means that in some mysterious way a married couple become one body, and as such each part of the body is of equal value. The verses above from Romans 12, while applying to the church (the body of Christ), could apply equally well to a married couple and how they should view each other.
Ask God to keep your pride in check. If you have tended to undervalue your spouse, seek their forgiveness (we will return to this later when looking at another attribute) and begin to see yourself and your spouse as God sees you – of equal worth.
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