From Pride to Humility: Running towards a Christ-Centered Marriage
He irritated me that day while we were out on a run.
Our family hadn’t been out of the house to exercise in quite some time. We were cooped up in our tiny home because the weather was well in the triple digits for several weeks.
We were all home, all the time. We lived in our home. Home-schooled in our home. Ran a business in our home. And managed a ministry in the home. Needless to say, all four of us were getting on each other’s last nerves!
I thought the idea of getting out of the house would be wonderful for our family, and add exercise to the mix, it might even lower the irritability meter.
Or so I thought…
Until I was running, and then I became hot and tired.
And then my Beloved snapped at me and the kids… and I snapped back as I told him he was snapping at us. (Have you ever been in a cycle like this?)
He was wrong.
And well, that must have meant I was right, right? 🙂
I was annoyed.
Next thing I know he is no longer running beside me. Without a word, he turned around and headed back home.
Fine. Now I can run in peace, or so I thought. No Christ-follower who is outside of the will of God can ignore the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Here I thought I would be running in peace and quiet, but God kept convicting me of my sin!
The Lord’s words pierced my soul…
“Daughter, your words may have been true and accurate, but your tone and attitude were not pleasing to me.”
My pride just fueled my anger based on the entire conversation I had with my husband.
But I couldn’t ignore my Lord’s words.
“You’re in sin. You’ve disrespected him. You need to apologize.”
And let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33
It was a long run back home. Very long.
My pride-filled tail was tucked between my legs as I headed up that long walk of a drive-way.
My flesh was reluctant to humble itself as I reached the front door. I wanted to justify my position. Slant the words so I could win the argument. And tell him he was off. Way off!
But my spirit wanted to obey my Lord. (Otherwise if I choose not to listen to Him, He wouldn’t be my Lord, now would He?)
Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Proverbs 13:10 (NLT)
Sometimes I don’t want to take God’s advice, yet He is all wisdom. He knows what we need in marriage.
So I said to my Beloved, “I’m sorry honey, will you forgive me for my disrespectful tone and attitude?”
I want a Christ-centered marriage, so I’m going to choose humility over pride. It’s certainly not the easiest choice, but it is the God-honoring choice.
They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Titus 3:2
I’m choosing to be a wife who shows humility to her husband. How about you? You wanna join me in this pursuit? 🙂
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Jolene, I am an older woman / wife; yet, your words I find to be so wise and convicting to me. Thank you for your posting. It hits home with me — not only in my marriage, but just in generalities in every relationship God’s timing is always PERFECT and He continues to convict me even through you. God bless you, Jolene. I so enjoy your writings.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They mean a lot to this reluctant and insecure writer!
Jolene, your humble spirit is what makes you the great writer you are and it just shines through in all your writings. I’ve read so many of them and haven’t found a single thing I am disappointed in. I truly am “that old dog (they say) can’t learn new tricks.” Smile… Keep up your excellent work and keep that humble spirit. Your entire site is a blessing.
Awe, what a sweetheart you are Terri! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
Hi Jolene, that was a great article, time and time again I feel like me and my husband are just going through the motions and we are not communicating. Yes in the past I have been controlling of the relationship and am trying to be humble. How do I know the difference between being humble and him thinking I have an attitude?
I’ll do my best to answer your question, but first, let me give you the definition of humility because I know the words humble/humility are not common words for our culture today and perhaps the definition will reveal a few things for you.
Humility: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people : the quality or state of being humble.
Humble: : not proud : not thinking of yourself as better than other people
: given or said in a way that shows you do not think you are better than other people
: showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people
You are the one to know if you’re humble or not. You’re the one to discern if your attitude is one of arrogance or pride. If others are telling you otherwise, well, that’s a heart check between you and your Lord.
If your tone towards your husband is a tone of criticism or condemnation or ‘You’re more spiritual than he is” than that will come across as having an attitude. But if you’re trying your best to consider others more important than yourself, well then, that my friend is a humble spirit. We won’t always walk this way because we’re imperfect, self-centered people! It’s a daily act of dying to our flesh.
Jolene, that is so correct. Sometimes I just don’t respond because I know the old me would of just gone off the deep end or said something to hurt his feelings. I sometimes don’t say anything or stop talking just for a min because I know the old me will rise up, I just don’t want to put out the vibe of attitude. I hope that make sense?
It makes perfect sense, Edwina. There are times when I do the same realizing that some things are better left unsaid, or at least when I can compose myself, control my emotions and then say it in a humble and gracious tone. Sounds like you’re on the right track!
With God’s help I will be there soon! A working progress indeed! Thank you and keep us in prayer always 🙂
This is such a great passage. I totally love it. Yet, I have never thought of myself as disrespecting my husband by raising my voice in return, but I definitely see the relationship now. Thank you for this post.
Thanks Crystal. What a blessing to hear it was an eye-opener for you. God is good like that!
This could not have come at a better time for me. It frustrates me immensely when the hubby gets mad at me because I’m mad about something completely legitimate. I’m always like, wait…so you’re mad at me, because I’m mad at you?? How much sense does that make?? But you are correct. Even when they are wrong, we still need to reflect Christ. After all, He encountered some pretty rude, completely wrong people in His time, and did not lose his temper or get snappy. If we want our marriage to be a reflection of Godly love, we must display it, even when we would rather not. 🙂
So glad to hear it ministered to you, Bonnie! Yep, always taking the path of reflecting Christ is the best path for His daughter!
What if your husband isn’t … my husband believes in God, we go to church. But that’s where it ends. Our pastor had even friend requested him on facebook but due to the nature of the things my husband posts (all manner of raunchy, racists, etc) he declined the request.
He wants to be the man of the house, yet I’m the one who works and makes the money. He always has something to complain about. It’s gotten worse since my daughter has come to live with us. I’m not even sure of my feelings anymore. I love him. But something has to give.
I’ve wanted to be with a man who would appreciate a woman who would be submissive to him. To be the kind of wife that someone can be proud of. Right now I don’t really care about anything. I get up, go to work, come home, and start all over the next day.
Sorry ladies, I guess right now everything just feels hopeless.
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. It’s obviously a heart-issue with your man. Here’s a post that may minister to you: http://joleneengle.com/dear-weary-wife-in-need-of-hope/
I remember reading that not to long ago. I thought it interesting but figured it didn’t really help my situation. Perhaps, at that time, I wasn’t ready to allow God help me. I thought I could fix things. So thank you for reminding me of that. I have printed it out and will stick it in the back of my bible so I can read it often, when I feel like I just want to give up. And I will keep praying every night.
Jolene, so many times your post have blessed me by showing me just how much of self I need to give up. I had always thought I was a humble woman, but being married to a “hard to get along with angry husband” has humbled me ever so much and I have had a mountain of encouragement in the godly woman our Lord has taught you to be. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you sweet child of God May He continue to bless you and your family
Jenny, I can sympathize. My husband is quick to become irritated with things. He’s one of those do as I say and not as I do kind of people. At times I wonder why we’re still together. I look at him and think that this is not the same man I fell in love with. But as Jolene said, we can’t change our husbands. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. So I’m going to keep praying every night. I will keep going to church and bible study. I’m going to just keep my eyes on the Lord and trust that He will show me the way through all this.
Wow, Jenny! I’m humbled by your words. Thankful God is ministering to you. He’s with you, dear sister. Don’t lose heart.
Amazing article, as usual! This is very timely for me because I’m really wrestling today with finding the line between defending/explaining yourself in a humble, respectful way. Specifically, the man I’m going to marry sort of jumped on me about something I posted on Facebook (silly, I know). I know he didn’t mean any harm, but he completely misunderstood what I said and responded with emotion instead of rationality. He said that we would talk about it another time. I’m praying about and preparing for that conversation to make sure that I can explain myself without coming across as prideful or disrespectful. I welcome any insight whatsoever in how to toe this line. Or even whether or not to try to explain myself and instead ask God to do it for me 🙂
Well, I’m not in the center of it so I can’t gauge emotions. But I would say that if he’s going to get on your case for not understanding you, I believe it is important to be understood, especially since you’re engaged. Your journey is just beginning so I would be intentional about him hearing your heart. My advice to a young bride or a bride-to-be is to not brush things under the rug in order to avoid conflict. If you make this habit in your relationship then you’re bound to become a bitter wife as the years roll on by. You can still share your heart with your guy in a humble and gracious way.
Once you’ve been married many years, a couple comes to just accept some miscommunication in the relationship because that’s normal. Sometimes it’s no big deal and other times it is. And when it is, then you work through it.
I hope this helps.
I know I’ve posted here a couple of times on this topic, but I just feel like I’m so alone in this struggle. Last night hubby & I had another blow up. And this past Saturday we got in a huge arguement because I said I would run my daughter down to church while he was getting dressed. He went into a tirade about how he was almost ready to go, and that if I took her then he’d have to move the seat back in the car. I mean it was really petty and childish. (My daughter volunteers at church on Sat and my husband was off to help some friends out with their house.) Last night it was because he has an interview tomorrow at Lowe’s and the hours would be 5pm-9pm. Instead of working out some kind of agreement about transportation (we only have 1 car), I knew I’d be the one stuck taking the bus. Which would mean leaving my house at 6:45am and not getting home until almost 7pm. (I work most days 9am-4pm.) If he took the car to work it would mean he’d get to sleep all day until it was time for him to leave for work. He always seems to only care about himself. He came in later to apologize, just like he did on Saturday. I told him I don’t deserve to be treated like that. That I don’t need the constant arguing and then the ensuing apologies. I sat and cried the other night as I prayed to God to help fix things. He asked me last night if I wanted a divorce. I don’t. I just want things fixed. He always says he wants to work on us, but I don’t see that happening. I can’t do this anymore. And it’s not fair for my daughter, either, who has to listen to this. (And also his snide, sarcastic comments to her.) I don’t want to “give in” again only to be hurt again.
I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. A good thing I saw in your comment was that your husband does apologize when he’s blown it. Not every husband and/or wife is willing to do this! I would encourage the two of you to seek out some biblical counseling at church so as to help you guys communicate your needs to one another. This will also give the two of you accountability in your Christian walk. We all need to be held accountable on some level and iron sharpening iron is a good thing, not to mention biblical. Since he’s mentioned divorce, bringing up counseling would be a wise path to take.
Sorry to just butt in here, but I have been reading your comments and they are breaking my heart for you! Jolene is certainly right that counseling may be your best option. That being said, as a counselor myself, I know how hard it can be to convince someone to go to counseling who does not think they have a problem, or who feels the problem is someone else’s.
My advice to you would be to take a good look at yourself and how you are reacting to your husband. One thing I always try to remind my clients is that you can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. But the good news is, that sometimes when we change ourselves and our reactions, it stirs a change in the other spouse. That is the glory and power of being one flesh.
I agree with Jolene as well that it is a big step that your husband has apologized and has expressed an interest in “fixing” things. Unfortunately, he clearly has no idea how and just telling him to “treat you better” is unlikely to work. One thing I noticed is that you mentioned “giving in”. I think that many times, we feel like when we let our husbands have or do something that isn’t fair in our eyes, we are giving in. But on the contrary, the Bible teaches that submission is something God honoring and holy. I’m not saying that you husband is not being inconsiderate and that you have no right to feel how you do, but sometimes, when we make a sacrifice for the sake of our husband (no matter how petty) it can be very powerful in our marriage. It has taken myself quite some time to understand that even when he doesn’t show it, my husband does appreciate that I basically take on the brunt of everything in our home on myself. Letting him sleep all day while you take the bus is a wonderful sacrifice and honoring of your marriage! Although it may be hard, try not to take that as a direct offense against you. I have found that by altering my attitude in this way, I actually enjoy things that used to make me angry.
What I hear in everything you say is not doom and gloom for your marriage. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If you were in my office I would say that there is a lot of hope in your marriage, more than most, in fact.
1. Neither of you want a divorce.
2. You are a Christian and he at least says he believes in God and is willing to attend church (this is a big deal!! He may still be sinning, but aren’t we all?)
3. Your husband acknowledges that he has done things wrong. You have to be willing to do that too.
I believe that if you two can be open and honest with one another, your marriage can be saved and even more so, it can be the wonderful, fulfilling marriage God intended.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 20-21
If you want to talk more, you can contact me directly at email@example.com.
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