Pride. It is a complex word. At first blush, it might seem that pride is a good thing, like wanting to be respected and seeing oneself as worthwhile was something we just read about a few days ago. But pride easily, readily takes a bad turn. Somewhere in the intersection of entitlement and competition, pride turns into a wild animal that instinctually looks to protect itself and to conquer all others, surviving at all costs.
When it comes to my marriage, I pray that my heart never becomes like a wild animal, doing whatever I think I need to to feel powerful, to not lose my sense of control or self respect. I think the basis of my self respect says a lot about my views of marriage and the purpose of even having a husband in the first place. When we are looking for our spouses to affirm us, and we don’t get what we think we deserve (when we don’t, not if), our instinct, our pride, flares up inside us, sparking a knee jerk reaction toward bitterness. We choose to let that spark burn. We choose to let all the things about our marriages and lives that don’t please us or meet our expectations fan the flame of resentment. Or we can smother the spark with real pride – a pride that is based in something higher and truer, the pride that comes from the gift of grace. It is a confidence and trust in a Sovereign God who sees us clearly, who loves us completely, and who provides us all we need, truly need, every day of our lives. And our marriage is a proving ground for that kind of pride, showing us where our confidences really rest.
Jesus, I pray my full pride and “self” respect only comes from you and what you have done for me and given to me. I pray I will not hold myself higher than anyone, especially my husband and that I will not let any spark of resentment engulf my heart, that I will always look to your grace to sustain me when my husband isn’t quite meeting expectations. That I will let go of my selfishness and need to be bolstered and elevated. That I will also never attack his pride or fight him like animals because I feel threatened or afraid of my own survival. I pray that I will always seek to put his needs before my own, to answer his failures with forgiveness, to think highly of him at every turn, and to love him unconditionally even at great cost. At all costs.