Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
As if this verse hasn’t been convicting enough, we are also instructed to put on an attitude of humility in our marriages. Humility is a word whose connotation has gotten taken over by the world. The world would have us think that humility is putting ourselves down or thinking less of ourselves. But that definition is still very “me” focused. When we are humble in our marriage, we think of ourselves less and our spouse more. Being humble means placing your spouse in a position of authority over yourself. When we’ve been slighted or overlooked, when we’re being taken for granted, when we’re misunderstood, a loving response would be to humbly let it go. We are humbled when we recognize the only reason we’re upset is because we think we’re more important than we really are.
In conflict, our flesh will rise up and tell us our views are right, that our opinions are best, and that our judgment is correct, but humbling ourselves means we are constantly fighting against this and pushing down those self-rising attitudes. Demonstrating humility is one of the most loving attitudes because it puts the needs and feelings of our spouse before our own.
When disagreements arise in marriage, stop and listen the viewpoint of your spouse. Take a minute to hear what they are saying, try to understand their perspective, and validate their feelings. Think about the conflict from their point of view, consider they bring a different set of experiences into the situation, which cause them to interpret the circumstances differently. Remember, conflicts arose because our passions and desires are at war within us. Lay down your passions and pick up theirs.
Sometimes conflicts happen because we’re just in a lousy mood, or sometimes they happen because we’ve misinterpreted a situation. If we’re wrong, if we do something to offend or disrespect our spouse, we need to humble ourselves and own it in a way that demonstrates genuine humility. Nothing demonstrates love in a marriage like a humble apology. And when your spouse does need to humble themselves, consider the reflection and courage it takes to come to you, and accept the apology with grace. Don’t hold out for more, don’t judge the sincerity. Show them humility in the way you accept the apology.
Another way we can show humility in our marriage is to accept criticism from our spouse. Let’s face it—your spouse knows you better than anyone else. They know your strengths and they see your weaknesses. When they point those weaknesses out to you, humbly listen. They’re trying to better you. Remember, we’re blind to our own sin issues and many of our faults, but we see others’ weaknesses with clarity. Whether it’s in an argument or over a cup of coffee, listen to your spouse’s advice for you—they see something you do not. At the same time, if you are bringing something to the attention of your spouse, be humble in your approach. Be kind and gentle in your words, remembering how difficult it is to receive criticism.
Being humble is not something we can do in our own power—not consistently, not with sincerity. We need the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us to truly be able to demonstrate a humble attitude.
Think about your recent interactions with your spouse. Where do you need to own your failure at demonstrating a humble attitude? Confess your lack of humility and ask God to fill you with His Spirit so that you may acknowledge and show your spouse humility through an apology. Then watch God work through that interaction—it can be such a powerful witness for His kingdom when you allow the Holy Spirit to humble you.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗