What Pride Does to Relationships
- Dr. David B. Hawkins The Marriage Recovery Center
- 2018 8 Aug
The quiet, healthy pride that comes from sincere and true accomplishment and a job well done can be a healthy thing. We have all performed well at a task and deserve to take a moment to appreciate what we have done and the gifts God has given to us. Gratitude for our blessings is a natural outgrowth of this process.
Unhealthy pride that believes he/she is better than someone else, knows more, and clings to their position brings harm to others.
Unhealthy pride inevitably leads to disgrace, as Solomon advised: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11: 2) He went on to say, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16: 18)
One man shared the following story:
Dear Dr. David.
I have been stubborn in my marriage and am about to lose my wife. She has pulled away from me because I have hurt her so many times with my arrogant, powerful attitude. I always think my way is the right way of doing things and she is weary from trying to get my attention.
I am a Christian but still struggle with stubbornly believing my way of doing things is the best way. In the process I put her down, dismiss her opinions and am on the verge of losing her for good. How can I overcome this stubborn pride?
We can all sympathize with this man. It is like he is watching his own life dissolve in slow motion. He has a hint as to the outcome, but because of the power of denial, and the intoxicating power of pride, he persists in wielding a power that humiliates and hurts, all the while dismissing his harmful actions.
His pride, as we all know, will come to no good end if he doesn’t collar it and submit it to the will of God. Will he remain intoxicated and deluded by his own sense of right and wrong, overpowering his mate and losing her, one emotional cut at a time until she pushing away for the last time?
While this man’s story is tragic, his story is our story. We may not be on the brink of losing our marriage, but perhaps we have a broken friendship to show for our stubbornness. Perhaps we have an estranged relationship with a grown son or daughter or a neighbor who stays away because of an altercation he/she had with us.
Remember again the words of the Apostle Paul: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3: 12-13)
We are all wrestling with pride. Let’s consider what we can do about it:
First, admit a pride issue. The back of pride is never broken until we face that we have an issue with it. We must realize that our way of doing things, our way of thinking, and our stubborn position is not only ruining our life, the life God has designed for us, but also bringing untold agony for others.
Second, admit needing help. Once we realize we are prideful, we must make the next step to admitting we need help. We cannot heal ourselves. We need the support, encouragement, and confrontation of others to point out our blind spots.
Third, admit to others. Scripture tell us to “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5: 16) Confession, as we can see, is not optional. We cannot heal alone. We must confess to others that we have a problem with pride. In that supportive environment we can be healed.
Fourth, accept accountability for change. Admitting our problem and confessing to others is the first important step of change. We must then surround ourselves with others willing to invest in our lives and hold us accountable for ongoing work. Change does not come easily or naturally and old patterns of behavior will creep back into our lives. Seek healthy support from such programs as Celebrate Recovery where we share our experience, strength, and hope, and embrace healing and growth.
Finally, acceptance of humility as a lifestyle. As we shed arrogance and pride we must clothe ourselves with humility. Like ill-fitting clothes, humility—doubting ourselves and deferring to others—may not come easily. Deferring to others when we have always championed our own thoughts and causes may be an incredible struggle. However, embracing humility in exchange for pride has incredible rewards. Try it.
In summary, pride seems to offer much but actually leaves us empty. Do you know someone going through a life crisis? We at The Marriage Recovery Center are prepared to walk with you through this challenging season. Please feel free to contact me at MarriageRecoveryCenter.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.