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Pride: The Only Enemy of Marriage

Marriage has but one enemy—pride. It decays a marriage from the inside out. Where pride resides, intimacy cannot be found. True connection cannot be formed. Health cannot be developed.

Marriages flourish in humility. In the absence of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency and self-reliance, marriages have the ability to thrive. In the presence of all the “selfs” nothing but selfishness can grow.

The answer to pride is what the Apostle Paul calls “sober judgment.” It’s a call to thinking of ourselves without delusion or deception. Sober judgment is serious judgment. It’s a truthful understanding of who we are. The call to sober judgment implies that humanity often lacks that kind of thinking. It reveals to us that we are drunk on ourselves. We are intoxicated with ourselves.

Surely not us. We can quickly think of people who are intoxicated with themselves—the superstar athlete, the prima donna musician, the Hollywood elite. We see people who have lost all sense of reality, but we don’t see ourselves that way. Nero proclaimed himself to be god, but we don’t think we are that arrogant. Yet while our arrogance may not be as blatant, we are every bit as intoxicated with ourselves as anyone else. (See: 5 Keys to Save Your Marriage)

  • We may not claim to be a god, but we act like one at the house.
  • We may not see ourselves as better than everyone, but we do see ourselves as better than some.
  • We may not consider ourselves above all tasks, but there are many jobs beneath us.

We are intoxicated with ourselves.

Many of us are high-functioning drunks. No one would guess our inebriation. To everyone else we look humble and others-focused. We serve, but what others can’t see is that we are serving to earn their approval. We give, but we give in order to appear giving. We are doing all the right things but for all the wrong reasons. We are drunk on ourselves and no one knows it.

Some are happy drunks. Our intoxication with ourselves causes us to believe that we can do no wrong. We enjoy ourselves and assume everyone else enjoys us as well. We are happy as long as everyone else recognizes our superiority.

Some are angry drunks. Our intoxication with ourselves causes us to believe no one else can do anything right. We are uptight and upset most of the time. No one meets our expectations, especially not our spouse or children. Everyone sees our intoxication but us. It causes them to walk softly around us. It prevents our family from telling us the truth. It causes our co-workers to avoid certain topics which could cause us to explode. (See: What Anger Often Reveals)

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Kevin A. Thompson is Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church, a multi-site church in Fort Smith, AR. He currently writes a daily blog focusing on leadership, marriage, and parenting (specifically parenting a child with special needs). Kevin is the author of Friends, Partners & Lovers and the forthcoming sequel Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples who Laugh, Love, and Last. Along with his wife, Kevin is co-owner of JThompsonMMC, a full service media and marketing company based in Fort Smith. He is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Oklahoma Baptist University.