What Does the Bible Say About Pride in Marriage?

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins that the Bible warns against. It was pride that caused Lucifer to rebel against God and be cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15). Pride has no place in a godly marriage. A proud spouse who refuses to humble themselves can damage unity and bring division in marriage. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus’ example of humility and put others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4). This is especially important in marriage, which is intended to reflect Christ’s sacrificial love for the church (Ephesians 5:25).

Key Takeaways:

  • Pride divides and destroys unity in marriage
  • Humility submits to others and fosters oneness
  • Listen to your spouse instead of insisting on your own way
  • Esteem your spouse above yourself as more important
  • Be quick to confess your sins to your spouse
  • Pray for God to reveal areas of pride in your heart
  • Remember everything good in your life is by God’s grace, not your merit

The Bible has strong warnings about pride and instructions for cultivating humility in our relationships. Here is an overview of key principles from Scripture on how pride can damage marriage and why humility is essential for a God-honoring union.

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What Does the Bible Say About Pride in Marriage?

Pride Causes Strife and Division

Pride seeks to elevate self over others. A proud spouse desires to be served rather than to serve (Matthew 20:26-28). They insist on getting their own way instead of listening to their partner. The book of Proverbs warns that pride leads to conflict:

“By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10, NKJV)

“A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.” (Proverbs 21:4, NKJV)

When pride enters marriage, spouses stop seeking mutual understanding and start competing to be right. Pride says “my way or the highway” not “how can we find an agreeable solution?” This destroys oneness in marriage. The apostle Paul implores spouses to be “of the same mind” and avoid selfish ambition (Philippians 2:2-3). Pride has no place in Christian marriage.

Humility Esteems Others Higher

In contrast to pride, humility esteems others above self (Philippians 2:3). It looks not only to personal interests but also the interests of others. A humble spouse will sincerely ask “how can I help meet your needs?” They will listen without interrupting (James 1:19). When a disagreement arises, the humble partner is quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). They receive correction without defensiveness.

The Bible instructs spouses to “in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). We are to “clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5). A humble spouse will ask forgiveness when they wrong their partner. Humility allows us to see our own faults clearly so we can turn from sin.

Submit to One Another

The key to mutual understanding is a willingness to submit. Ephesians 5:21 says spouses should “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Submission means putting your spouse’s needs and desires before your own. It means yielding your preferences when they conflict.

This verse directly follows Paul’s instruction for wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22). A wife who refuses to submit to her husband’s leadership dishonors Christ. But it is also true that a husband who does not lovingly serve and sacrifice for his wife also dishonors Christ. True Christ-centered submission involves humility from both spouses.

Listen to Your Spouse

The book of James says to be “quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Do you actively listen when your spouse is talking? Or are you busy formulating what you will say in response? Humility calls us to set aside our own agenda to truly understand our partner’s perspective.

When you disagree, seek first to understand rather than be understood. Ask clarifying questions. Paraphrase what you heard to confirm understanding. Express empathy for their feelings and needs. Pray together for God’s wisdom. Listening in this way fosters intimacy and oneness.

Confess Your Sins to Each Other

Pride causes us to justify and hide our sins from others. A humble spouse is quick to confess when they wrong their partner. James instructs: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). Bring sin into the light so it can be cleansed and healed through Christ. Confession and forgiveness keep short accounts of wrongs. Don’t let pride cause you to cover up your errors. Openly admit where you were wrong.

Remember God’s Grace

The ultimate antidote to pride is remembering that every good thing in our lives is an undeserved gift from God, “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). We have no merit of our own. A spouse who becomes proud of their own wisdom, strengths or accomplishments forgets that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). Keeping God’s grace in view protects us from prideful boasting (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Pray for Humility

Since pride is so subtle, we need God’s help to recognize it. Pray as David did: “Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24). Ask God to reveal any areas of pride, self-importance, or insistence on your own way. Yield those areas to the lordship of Jesus Christ. The Bible promises, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Ask God to fill you afresh with His grace and love.

Pride Destroys, Humility Unifies

The Bible’s message is clear: pride destroys unity, humility fosters oneness. Pride asks “How can my spouse serve me more?” Humility asks “How can I serve and encourage my spouse today?” Christian marriage is intended to reflect Christ’s sacrificial love. Spouses must put off pride and put on humility that counts others more significant. By God’s grace, humility will reign as we submit ourselves to one another and to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

In summary, the Bible warns that pride damages marriage by causing division and strife as spouses insist on their own way. Humility serves others and counts them more important than self. Spouses are instructed to submit to and esteem one another. Listening, confessing sins, remembering God’s grace, and prayer for humility are keys to overcoming pride. When humility reigns, marriage reflects God’s design of mutual service and sacrificial love.

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