…in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ESV Philippians 2:3
I entered marriage with a lot of pride. Somehow, I was convinced my wife was lucky to have landed me as a husband. It’s embarrassing to write, but that’s the truth. Of course, this attitude led to a lot of tension in our marriage. When I always felt I was more important and better than my wife, it naturally led me to not support her or care for her as much as I should have. By God’s grace, He slowly and painfully made me aware of my arrogance, so that I began to treasure my wife and realize how awesome she really is. I now know I married way outside my league as I see her thriving in so many ways. This transformation in my spiritual formation has richly blessed me and brought numerous benefits to my life (including a much happier marriage!).
It’s worth noting that some people struggle with low self-esteem, and as such consider everyone better than themselves. You should note the verse above does not say “in self loathing consider others better…” but “in humility consider others better…” What’s the difference between humility and self-loathing? Humility recognizes your strengths and weaknesses and chooses to consider others better. It’s like when you pay a game with your kids and hold yourself back so they enjoy the game. It’s not that you believe that you are horrible, but rather that you want to build up the child. (Isn’t it sad to see someone who struggles with their ego crush a kid just so they feel good about themselves?) In the same way, when we have low-self esteem, we aren’t acting out of humility, but rather out of a sinful view of ourselves. We need to be reminded we were made in God’s image, and as such are blessed in many ways. Humility calls us to recognize other’s strengths and affirm those.
I pray you affirm your spouse’s strengths. Recognize the unique way God designed them and rejoice in that. Thank God for them. Tell them how awesome they are. Consider them much more significant than yourself. Not only will you build a strong marriage, and reap personal benefits, but you will grow in your spiritual formation. That’s a goal worth striving for.