I got married in the summer of 2017, and it was and still is a major blessing for me (and hopefully for my wife also). It was an amazing wedding, and we had the best day ever. We dated for 3 years beforehand and so now we’ve been married for about two and a half years.
Now, if you are married, you would know the following truth: being in a relationship and being married are two very distinct stages of life–on so many levels. I mean, that’s not rocket science in itself. Things change and all of a sudden it might matter a whole lot if you clean your mess up today or tomorrow or you put your toothbrush back in the same place as before. Things that before were yours only to decide are now a compromise between you and your spouse to make things work. I think you get it by now. Change is inevitable. I mean at least for my wife, and I because we didn’t live together before we got married.
However, one of the things I’ve recently discovered is that there is one thing in relationships, not just in marriage or in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, but in every single relationship on the planet that is not up for discussion. One specific thing with the power to break years and years of love between two people, life-long friendships or just a random conversation for 15 minutes with a random stranger you’ve never met before but somehow ended up in contact with. One thing.
That thing is called PRIDE.
Pride is not something you can say “yes” or “no” to, obviously. Nobody wants to be prideful. But the thing about pride is that it creeps in your life, your words, your brain and your actions every day. Every day. On some level. I’ll go as far as saying I guarantee it. But the funny thing, or maybe even the worst, is that you (myself as well!) probably don’t even see it coming when it’s sneaking up behind you. And then all of a sudden it’s gotten a hold of you. Just like that.
In your words in a conversation with your mom: “I don’t need you to tell me what to do. This is my life. Your past mistakes are not for me to learn from. It was YOUR mistakes. I got this.”
In your thoughts about your co-worker trying to teach you something: “Don’t you try to teach me something – I’ve been at this company 7 years longer than you. Who do you think you are?”
In your actions toward your spouse: “He better come and apologize to me. I’m not taking the first step. He started the fight and is being totally unreasonable.”
And I’m sure you could find at least 10 other situations where pride has been a factor, when you think about it. Right? Either consciously or unconsciously. And the thing is, when it’s consciously, we don’t want to admit it, so we become prideful of actually being prideful. When we consciously act out of pride it’s a literal statement, because that means we acknowledge it’s there but won’t give it up for the sake of humility. That’s bad.
When it’s unconscious, it’s actually worse because that’s when it’s visible to people without us even realizing it. We are bringing our very own personality to the table not knowing what we actually brought with us. Talk about the elephant in the room, huh?
And I tell you this. Pride is one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest, for isolation, distance and disconnection for people today. Not just a specific age group. For all people–no question about it. It simply removes love, openness, closeness and intimacy from the equation of relationships. The question really isn’t whether or not pride exists in our lives; it’s more “in how many aspects of our lives?”
The reason we put on our ugly pride-masks is to make cover-ups. On our flaws. On our shortcomings. On our selfish actions.
It’s actually a self-defense mechanism to hide your fear of stepping out of your comfort zone and into a new, but unknown job situation, to keep people from finding out about your critical financial situation because it’s “too embarrassing to talk about” or perhaps to hide your vulnerability after losing your boyfriend/girlfriend for the last four years.
The examples are never-ending, but you could probably think of one situation within the last couple of days where pride has been your response to people actually caring for you, wanting to get to know you better, asking about your family, sending you a text to see if you needed company because they just heard you got diagnosed with cancer. But no. Pride came creeping back again.
”Pride is the mask of one’s own faults.” – unknown
So how do we “fix” this problem? Well, I’m not saying it’s a simple process but the answer is simple in itself. To use words like “I’m sorry. It was my fault” or “Can we talk? I need some advice and I thought you could help me” or “I’m willing to learn from you despite of our age difference” or simply saying “Please forgive me.” Humility is always the best way forward. Always. Even when it involves looking vulnerable, broken or even weak. I tell you, my friend.
At least these are some of the words I’ve started to use in my marriage. And can I tell you a secret? It works. It actually does work to say, “I’m sorry”. It re-establishes intimacy, it brings love back into the equation and it gives us a new standard for our relationship.
Bring these words back to your family relationships, your marriage or your friendships. It’s the best thing you can do today.