Who likes to be told what to do? Even though I love and highly respect my husband, too often I bristle when Joe gives me even the slightest suggestion of what I should do. Wait, are you implying that my way is not best and you think your way is better? The nerve!
That kind of attitude makes us act like two-year-olds who scream, “Me do!” and actively resist any adult who wants to offer assistance. We spend so much energy defending ourselves and insisting that our way is right even though it’s obvious to everyone else in the room that we need help!
Then I have failed in the opposite direction as well. I love to tell Joe what to do. I let “you should” leave my mouth too many times, trying to elevate myself above him. Why is it that giving correction is so much easier than receiving it?
This is the age-old sin mankind has struggled with since day one: pride. Always wanting to do things our own way. Believing the lie of self-sufficiency. Wanting to place ourselves above others.
Unless we actively fight against that kind of pride, it will eventually eat away at our marriages, cut off communication, and destroy our intimacy.
The first step is to change how we think.
If we are thinking too highly of ourselves and our opinions, pride will take root in our lives and behavior. When we look at ourselves through the lens of the Gospel, we see that everything good in us is only due to Jesus’ righteousness, not our own worthiness. There’s no room for “better than” or “lesser than” at the foot of the cross!
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3
Be slower to speak. Listen more.
We don’t have to open our mouths every single time we think we have a better way. Instead I check my heart first to see if I’m motivated by love - do I want to help this person? - or am I motivated by pride - do I just want to be right?
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10