The Power and Necessity of Humility in Marriage

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Humility. Humbleness.

What comes to mind when you hear these words? For some, the answer may feel like it has to be humiliation, or failure. 

For other people the word meekness (softness of temper, gentleness, mildness, and submissiveness) may come to mind. The actual definition of humility is modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Isaiah 2:11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

Mark 7:20-23 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

God hates pride. Pride is a very dangerous heart posture. It says “I am good, I do not need anyone.” Or “I am right and everyone else is wrong.” Pride keeps us from walking in truth and from gaining wisdom.

Psalms 10:3-4 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.  In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Pride separates us from God. In our relationships, pride also keeps us from reconciliation and love. C. S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, calls pride, “the complete anti-God state of mind.” Pride separates us from relationships, while humility makes it possible for those who want to be in relationship with us to draw near to us. When we are prideful, we often feel justified in our actions and in the way we act, but this keeps us separated from connecting with others.

In marriage, something that can help us to maintain unity, prioritize peace, and enjoy each other is knowing what Christ has done for us, the cost, and who we are in Him. When we walk in humility, there are many benefits, such as unity, safety in relationships, and trust. Humility is a powerful example to others and we can make quite a difference by having a humble heart.

Ways we can walk with each other in humility: 

  • Quickly acknowledge and address when hurt happens.
  • When we sin, apologize, confess, repent, and HUG! 
  • Recognize we are both imperfect and need Jesus and love. 
  • We may not be right – don’t fight about it.
  • Not putting yourself in a high position – don’t be demanding.
  • Pray for humility and pray for your spouse!
  • Agree with how God says to live, and live it out.

READ TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer Smith:

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your host of the Marriage After God Podcast.

Aaron Smith:

“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with tens of thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body, for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:6-8.

Jennifer Smith:

Today’s episode is brought to you by our faithful patron team who has chosen to help financially support this show monthly. And we just wanted to take some time to give a shout-out to the most recent patrons, Rasheda A., Angela B., D. Hartley, and Michelle S. Thank you guys so much for choosing to partner with us in blessing tens of thousands of couples with free daily prayer emails and this weekly podcast. We really appreciate you.

Aaron Smith:

If you’ve been blessed by this free Marriage After God content, we’d love to invite you to join our patron team. Please visit marriageaftergod.com/patron.

So, last episode, we announced a giveaway that we were doing to celebrate my 39th birthday, and all you had to do to enter the giveaway was be a part of the patron team. And we’re announcing the winner right now. I already sent the books out, actually, but the winner is, for the giveaway, Gina Burelli. Gina, thank you so much for being a part of the faithful patron team. We pray you enjoy the books, and let us know what you think.

Jennifer Smith:

Well, welcome back to another episode.

Aaron Smith:

Episode 14-

Jennifer Smith:

Another day of listening to us.

Aaron Smith:

… of the year.

Jennifer Smith:

We weren’t …

Aaron Smith:

I think people missed us.

Jennifer Smith:

I was going to say, we weren’t here last week. We took a little mini spring break. Well, we took a spring break, and then we took a-

Aaron Smith:

Took a little spring break when we got back from our spring break because we spent some time in Southern California seeing grandparents.

Jennifer Smith:

That was super fun.

Aaron Smith:

It was. It was awesome.

Jennifer Smith:

It was super fun. The weather was absolutely perfect. It hovered between 65 and 70, even at the beach. It was really great.

Aaron Smith:

The weather was perfect. We had a couple of days of rain, but that was also really nice.

Jennifer Smith:

It was only two.

Aaron Smith:

It was two days, yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

Which everyone down there was like, “Oh, you guys just missed almost a month of rain.”

Aaron Smith:

Months of rain.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah. And because it had rained, everything was green, all the mountains and the hillsides. It was beautiful.

Aaron Smith:

When did we move away from there? I was 23-

Jennifer Smith:

10 years ago.

Aaron Smith:

… 25 years old. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that green in the whole time I’ve lived there.

Jennifer Smith:

It was so beautiful.

Aaron Smith:

Going to California, just as a little note for all you all that are listening, when we had one kid, we would sometimes fly.

Jennifer Smith:

Even with two, we did.

Aaron Smith:

And with two, we did. But now we pretty much drive exclusively. We got our van, and we load it up, and we put snacks and lunches, and we drive-

Jennifer Smith:

All day.

Aaron Smith:

… the whole family because there’s seven of us. And that’s not cheap to fly anymore because we need to pay for a ticket for every single one. But also, I actually just love driving.

Jennifer Smith:

I was going to say. When you said, “We drive down there,” I was going to say, “No, Aaron drives.”

Aaron Smith:

I drive-

Jennifer Smith:

I sleep.

Aaron Smith:

… 13 hours, and Jennifer drives an hour.

Jennifer Smith:

Maybe one.

Aaron Smith:

And I love it.

Jennifer Smith:

I do too.

Aaron Smith:

It’s great.

Jennifer Smith:

Hey, we’re on the same team here.

Aaron Smith:

And you genuinely sleep the whole time. I keep looking over, and you’re like … I think you’re going to be reading a book-

Jennifer Smith:

I’m a car baby.

Aaron Smith:

… or on the phone, but you’re sleeping.

Jennifer Smith:

I’m a car baby. I like it.

Aaron Smith:

Also, what’s also cool is we had to … Because we have our two little kitties, we brought them with us.

Jennifer Smith:

They did great.

Aaron Smith:

We were concerned about them. We’re like, “Oh, how are they going to handle 15 hours of driving?” They loved the car. They’re in the windshield, the windows, on the headrests with the kids. They owned the car.

Jennifer Smith:

I think the kids liked having them in the car, too, because it gave them something to do and focus on.

Aaron Smith:

It was great.

Jennifer Smith:

That was good.

Aaron Smith:

Weather was awesome, 65, 70, like you said, and …

Jennifer Smith:

We pretty much stayed in grandma’s pool or at the beach-

Aaron Smith:

The whole time.

Jennifer Smith:

… the whole time, which usually when we plan a trip to go to California, I get-

Aaron Smith:

We try to pack in other things.

Jennifer Smith:

Well, I get really excited about the opportunity of, yeah, different cities to go check out or museums or even amusement parks. I love [inaudible 00:04:26].

Aaron Smith:

But this time we’re driving down, I said, “Can we not do anything? Can we just the beach and pool? Nothing else.”

Jennifer Smith:

Which is basically what we did, except that my dad did get us tickets to opening day at the Angel Stadium, so we did do that. That was awesome.

Aaron Smith:

Which was pretty awesome. The kids have never been to a baseball game like that before.

Jennifer Smith:

Oh, it was amazing.

Aaron Smith:

Major league, yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Actually, I haven’t either. I’ve been to Angel Stadium.

Jennifer Smith:

You haven’t?

Aaron Smith:

No, I had been to Angel Stadium several times, but not for baseball games.

Jennifer Smith:

So, I grew up going, and I remember the Blue Angels would fly overhead in the beginning. And I warned the kids. I’m like, “It’s opening day. They’re probably going to be there,” And sure enough.

Aaron Smith:

It was so loud.

Jennifer Smith:

It was so awesome. It was so cool.

Aaron Smith:

Edie was plugging her ears, and she’s like, “It’s so loud.”

Jennifer Smith:

That was cool. And then we saw a pickle in the first or second inning.

Aaron Smith:

This wasn’t a quick pickle. This was a really good one. It went back and forth, back and forth

Jennifer Smith:

There was like four people involved. It was great.

Aaron Smith:

The players kept replacing each other as they were passing the ball back and forth, getting closer and closer and closer.

Jennifer Smith:

And they got [inaudible 00:05:24].

Aaron Smith:

That was really good. And then we saw a double home run pretty quick too.

Jennifer Smith:

All to say it was amazing. The baseball game was amazing. The beach was great. Family time was just special.

Aaron Smith:

It was needed to get out of the still snow that we have.

Jennifer Smith:

I know. All my friends warned me, “Don’t come back yet.”

Aaron Smith:

It’s literally snowing right now.

Jennifer Smith:

Still.

Aaron Smith:

So, did something special happen this week?

Jennifer Smith:

Well, yes, which is another reason why we took a little mini break from the podcast because we were in the-

Aaron Smith:

Middle of something.

Jennifer Smith:

We were in the middle of something. Right when we got back from our trip, we got our book back that we had mentioned to you guys that we’ve been working on-

Aaron Smith:

Our new book.

Jennifer Smith:

… our newest book so that we can finalize edits and wrap that up. So, we’re really excited about this. So, we wanted to share it with you guys.

The title of the book is The Marriage Gift: 365 Prayers for Our Marriage – A daily devotional journey to inspire, encourage, and transform us in our prayer life. So, all week we worked really hard on sifting through that and just-

Aaron Smith:

You worked really hard.

Jennifer Smith:

I did.

Aaron Smith:

You did all the-

Jennifer Smith:

But I like that-

Aaron Smith:

You did all the heavy lifting.

Jennifer Smith:

… meticulous, detail-oriented stuff. But we’ve loved working with Zondervan and just-

Aaron Smith:

This new book.

Jennifer Smith:

I don’t know. We’re just excited.

Aaron Smith:

Can we tell him when it comes out?

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Because I think we know. I think it’s coming out in October, so be on the lookout for it. It comes out in October. We’re really excited about it, and we hope you all are going to be incredibly blessed by it.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, our hope for it is just we wanted to create a resource that would inspire couples to build a strong habit of prayer individually, but also together. Gosh, I can’t wait.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, it’s going to be awesome.

Which this kind of goes along this title, this strong habit of prayer, which it’s an act of humility to pray for your spouse. It’s one way of doing it and to pray for yourself and to go to God and say, “I need you.” That’s a humble thing to do.

We’re talking about humility, humbleness. That’s the topic for today. So, real quick, what do you immediately feel when you hear the word humility?

Jennifer Smith:

I think of the word meekness, which I looked up after that word came to my mind because I wanted to make sure, am I on the right track here. But it means softness of temper, gentleness, mildness, and then another definition used the word submissiveness.

Aaron Smith:

So, it’s like a yielding. It’s like a not usurping or trying to be above.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, more giving of yourself than taking in a way with your attitude.

Aaron Smith:

That’s good. Meekness.

Jennifer Smith:

What about you?

Aaron Smith:

Well, when I think about this, the first word that comes to mind is humiliation, which I know they’re closely related, not quite the same thing, but I don’t know why I think of that. I think of this idea of being embarrassed or something happening that makes you feel small or weak, which I know that what we’re talking about today is not that idea, but it’s almost that idea if you think about it.

It seems like there’s many things in life that end up humbling us. They’re also the things that embarrass us like when we’re trying to succeed at something, but we fail, and it humbles us, or we think this thing’s going to come through. Like James is like, “Don’t say tomorrow we’re going to go do such and such and go do this business and that.”

Jennifer Smith:

[inaudible 00:08:52].

Aaron Smith:

It’s like, you don’t know what tomorrow’s going to [inaudible 00:08:54].

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

I feel like often we are forced into humility by our actions or circumstances that like, oh, I had no control over that. That’s what I think about. So, when you go down to it, admitting sin or failure is a humility, a humbleness, and it’s humiliating.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, that’s true.

Aaron Smith:

Right?

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

So, that’s what I think about when I think about humility.

Jennifer Smith:

Cool. Well, the definition, if you just Google it, humble. Well, yeah. Hold on, let me go back. Humility will just tell you it’s the quality of being humble, so I’m just going to read the definition for being humble. Modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit showing differential or submissive respect, low in rank, quality, or station, and unpretentious or lowly.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, and I would add to that because being low in rank, you are a humble person, not necessarily by character, but by just position. Like, oh, that person’s in this status, and I’m in this status. But what we’re talking about is, and what the Bible will talk about is placing yourself or recognizing yourself in your true position or putting yourself beneath. When we think about when we’re told to love one another, or when we’re told to consider others as more important than yourselves, that’s this idea of, well, not that you’re not important, but the act of love as in I’m not going to demand anything. I’m going to put myself beneath right now.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, it’s this modesty in behavior or the attitude. It’s like your perception of who you are. Not that you’re not qualified or capable or can have and operate in a high position of sorts, but that you consider yourself modestly.

Aaron Smith:

You put others above you. You esteem others higher than yourself, which leads me to another question, which is not in the notes. It makes me think about this question of, is that a easy thing, humility, humbleness?

Jennifer Smith:

I don’t think it comes natural. I don’t think it’s a natural thing.

Aaron Smith:

That’s good. Yeah, is it a natural thing?

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Like, oh, I’m just a humble … The joke is like, I’m the humblest person. The moment you say it, you’re no longer humble because you’re boasting about your humility.

Jennifer Smith:

I would say what’s more natural is if you think of ego-

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, self.

Jennifer Smith:

… and use self-awareness. I think those things can come more naturally, and so we, especially entering into adulthood, start to learn what it means to be humble usually through experience. You’re like, “Oh, that was hard.”

Aaron Smith:

I would say the opposite comes this idea of self-esteem or self-preservation, or our self-image of where jealousy comes from. We compare. We’re like, “Oh, why don’t I have what they have,” thinking that we deserve it or something, which is the opposite of humility of like, “Oh, I’m glad they have it. I don’t know if I’m even ready for that thing or can handle that thing or should have that,” whatever it is. Yeah, I think that’s the more natural position for us.

Jennifer Smith:

So, what’s the purpose of humility? Why are we talking about this today?

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, I know. Everyone’s like, “What? What are they talking about?” The reason we’re bringing this up is because of this question, what is the purpose of humility? What does God desire? Why does he desire humility and humbleness in his people? And how does it benefit our marriage? That’s kind of why we want to talk about this is …

Before we talk about humility, you were just saying, I don’t want to talk too much about pride. But in order to talk about humility, you have to talk about pride because that’s our natural state is a self-centered worldview from babies till whenever, until the Holy Spirit starts transforming that part of us. So, we have to talk about pride.

So, let’s see what the Bible says about pride. I’ll read the first one, Proverbs 8:13. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” This is the idea of God saying something that he hates. He hates pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech.

Jennifer Smith:

And then Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace. But with the humble is wisdom.”

Aaron Smith:

There’s very few times in the Bible where pride is … almost none … pride is a positive thing. It’s almost always a sinful, fleshly-

Jennifer Smith:

Response.

Aaron Smith:

… anti-God response. Isaiah 2:11, “The haughty looks of a man shall be brought low. And the lofty pride of a man shall be humbled. And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” This is one of the things that God’s going to do is he’s going to lay low the prideful. He’s going to say, “No, this is your true position. What you’re doing is wrong.” And he does it to all pride. Pride has no place in the heart of a believer or anyone really. But these are all the things that the Bible says about pride.

Why don’t you read the next one?

Jennifer Smith:

The next one is from Mark 7:20-23. “And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.'”

Aaron Smith:

This is Jesus’ words. He’s talking because they were talking about what goes into the body like food. Oh, you’re eating what’s not lawful. And he’s like, “You don’t understand. The stuff that goes into your body gets expelled out of your body. It’s food.” He’s like, “But what comes out of you, that’s what defiles you.” And look at that list. That is the list of defiled, foolishness, evil, and those are the things that if … And one of them is pride.

Jennifer Smith:

God hates pride.

Aaron Smith:

He hates it. It’s just as equal in his mind to all these other things. Whether or not it’s equal, I don’t know, but it’s in the same list of the things that he hates and that are evil and that defile a person. So, having pride in your marriage defiles you and your marriage. It’s destructive.

So, if you haven’t caught on yet, like you said, God hates pride. Pride is very dangerous of a heart posture. It’s opposed to God as we just read. When pride comes, then comes disgrace. It’s the step before falling, disgrace, destruction, defilement. Pride says, “I am good. I do not need anyone.”

Jennifer Smith:

Which in marriage, you can see how that starts crumbling the unity of oneness.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, like “I don’t need you. Why are you telling me what to do? Why are you saying I shouldn’t do this? Why are you treating me like this? I don’t deserve this.” It is. Immediately, when pride exists in one of our hearts or both our hearts, unity doesn’t exist.

Jennifer Smith:

Pride also says I’m right and everyone else is wrong.

Aaron Smith:

Which is true for my sake, but most people … I’m just kidding. No, pride does say that. This is the root of most fights. I’m right, and you’re wrong. Usually, it doesn’t even matter what the circumstance is. We think that, and so we fight for our preservation, ourself, our pride. Pride keeps us from walking in truth and from gaining wisdom.

Jennifer Smith:

Being able to receive …

Aaron Smith:

Yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

This has happened in my life. Someone trying to show me what the word says about a way I’m being, a thing I’ve done, and I’m like, “No, you’re wrong. This is not wrong.” It keeps us from receiving. So Psalms 10:3-4 says, “For the wicked boast of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his face, the wicked does not seek him. All his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.'”

Now, this is the state of the atheist, the person in the world, whether they believe in a God or not, they are really saying this. There is no God, and I do not need him. I’m not going to seek him. I don’t need him. So, pride in the heart, it keeps us from God. It keeps us from going to the truth and from gaining actual, true wisdom.

I dig this illustration and more expounded on CS Lewis, author of the Narnia books. I found a quote by him. He calls pride the complete anti-God state of mind. I feel like that sums up what I was just talking about so well is when we are prideful, it’s an anti-God state of mind. It’s a pro self-is-God state of mind, and God is not God.

Jennifer Smith:

Which if your perspective of yourself is like God or you put your own self on that highest pedestal, that’s going to cause a lot of deterioration in your relationships because pride keeps us from … Let’s say in marriage. It will keep us from reconciliation, from being able to truly love each other, and that’s sad. A lot of marriages experience it.

Aaron Smith:

It keeps us from repentance. It keeps us from just simply apologizing and recognizing when we made, no matter how small it is, a mistake.

Jennifer Smith:

It’s really all relationships if you think about it because even parenting, I’m just sitting here thinking, “How often have I let my pride sit between me and a child, or hearing-

Aaron Smith:

Or their pride.

Jennifer Smith:

… or seeing other experiences of people with older children, adult children, even seeing the fight between parent-child because of pride and not wanting to just humble themselves.

Aaron Smith:

As that scripture said earlier, it’s destructive. It’s corrosive. Pride separates us from relationships and humility … so now bringing it back … humility makes it possible for those who want to be in relationship to draw near. This is what’s cool about humility and why the question that started all this was, what is it for, what is God’s purpose in it, is without humility, there is no reconciliation. There can be no relationship. There is no drawing near. It’s only something that pushes away.

So, God is perfect. Jesus is our mode of salvation. He died on the cross. He rose again from the dead. His blood covers and atones. Pride, I don’t need that. That’s not me drawing you to God. He did everything to draw near to me and gave me everything I need, and my pride keeps me from it.

Same in marriage. We’re fighting. You did something that frustrated me, and you apologize to me. You try and repent, and you say, “I messed up. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m so sorry for how I talked to you.” And in my pride, because I think I need to be justified or feel a certain way, and I don’t want to forgive you, where’s the drawing near? It doesn’t exist.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

My pride keeps me from drawing near, where you tried.

Jennifer Smith:

It’s like a wall.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, so you did what you were supposed to and what you can, and that’s as far as you can take it because you can’t make me not be prideful. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job is to do in my life, is to convict that of me. But if we’re not careful, if we’re not aware of these things and we let these things come out of us, they defile us and our relationship, and they keep us from drawing near to each other and, most importantly, to God.

Because in reality, this is something I learned a long time ago with me walking in certain sins in my life, stuff that I struggled really hard with, recognizing that if I’m not going to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompt to confess and to repent, I’m not listening to God. Even though he’s asked me to do something for you, and I’m not willing to do it for you, to you, I’m really saying, and I told you this a long time ago, it’s like this ultimate, “No, God. I’m not going to do what you’re asking me to do.” So, my pride actually repels me from God when the Holy Spirit’s there lovingly sanctifying me.

Jennifer Smith:

And trying to lead you.

Aaron Smith:

And trying to lead me.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah. So, earlier you briefly mentioned this phrase, and you said the benefits to marriage because of humility. If somebody walks in humility or a spouse, what kind of benefit is there to marriage? You’ve already given the consequences of pride and the destruction of pride, but in light of humility, if one or both are operating in the spirit and being humble in heart and attitude, what are the benefits?

Aaron Smith:

The first one I thought of is the word safety. There’s safety in humility. Anytime I’ve known people that have a kind of innate sense of pride, like a pridefulness, they’re never wrong. They are always right, which can be two different things, but they go together. I never felt truly safe with those people. We could be friends, and we could be close. And I can-

Jennifer Smith:

Safe in what way, like you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about …

Aaron Smith:

Well, yeah. If I ever wanted to go to them and be like, “Hey, you wronged me,” I know it’s never going to go right, so I don’t even say anything. It’s only going to turn into a, “Wait, what? No, that didn’t happen. You saw it wrong. You’re not … ” And it’s abrasive and a fight and corrosive like we keep saying.

Jennifer Smith:

I think, too, for being in a relationship like that, it could be exhausting. The word safe does, it does explain that very well, but also, I just think it would be exhausting for me to think, “I don’t want to come to you right now.” Let’s say you were being that way. I wouldn’t want to come to you because I already know I’m already tired at the end of the day. I don’t have the energy to share myself with what’s going on, share my feelings, share my heart and my thoughts, if I know it’s not going to be received. Because that means more work to get either to where I want to go with you and try and break it down if that’s even possible.

Aaron Smith:

Which this is an actual example in our marriage of something that we’ve had to grow in and work in. That is something that’s a constant growing for me is you feeling like I’m not going to hear you and listen to you and receive you, but I’m going to get defensive and frustrated and hurt, which is a pride thing.

Jennifer Smith:

I wouldn’t say that we operate like that always, but there have definitely been times that-

Aaron Smith:

No, no, this is something that I’m just saying this is an actual thing that we deal with on an occasional basis that God’s been sanctifying in me. But it is. It’s a pride thing and that you feel safer when like, “Oh, wow. He heard me, and received it, and contemplated it, and now, we’re talking about it on that level.”

So, I think when there’s humility on both parties, there’s safety. There’s a sense of they’re not going to make me feel under them. Because if you think about it, humility is always lifting people above you. So, if both people are doing that, if the husband and the wife are doing that, when you go to your spouse to repent, to humbly say I was wrong, you can trust that they are going to forgive you, lift you up, remind you of the truth, have understanding, not a, “Oh, here’s my opportunity to squish you.”

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, which I don’t think people have that mindset to intentionally squish or belittle, but it does come out in the heart-

Aaron Smith:

When we’re prideful.

Jennifer Smith:

… posture and attitude. Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Like, “Oh, you wronged me, and I’m going to make sure you know it.” Out of not a I’m lovingly explaining what happened in my heart, I’m angrily, and, in a way, I want to make you feel what I feel, which happens.

Jennifer Smith:

Okay, so what are a few more benefits of walking in humility in marriage? Real quick, I’ll just say the one that came to my mind when you were just talking was unity. A husband and wife are walking in humility, and you started naming all the things that go well with that. Unity is a very beautiful picture of humility in action.

Aaron Smith:

You’re right. And like we just talked about that drawing near, that connection to humble humans, recognizing that they have flaws and agreeing to be humble about it with each other is you can’t have unity without it. You can’t be reconciled to God without humbling yourself before him. That’s why with that verse in the beginning, what does God require? A humble heart. That’s what he wants is me saying, “Oh, I am a sinner, and I am not perfect, but you are. Thank you for the salvation I have in Jesus. Jesus.” It requires humility.

One more, and there’s a lot, of course, but one more that I’d like to share is humility is a powerful example. When someone’s humble, it diffuses, it restores, it lightens, it brings light. It’s like, “Hey, I’m just going to shine on myself right now,” in the sense of here’s where I did this thing. And it’s a good example to each other, to your spouse, and also to your kids, when they see you be humble and not just like, “Nope, I’m never wrong, and you’re the only one wrong.”

The humility doesn’t just shine a light on you wanting to grow and change and listening to the Holy Spirit. What it also does is lifts people up, so it’s an example, and it raises up. So, it’s lifting up your spouse. It’s lifting up your children. It’s showing, “Hey, I’m going to raise you above me right now, and I’m not going to try and put you beneath me.”

Jennifer Smith:

Which if you’re always acting like that, I guess another benefit is people just want to be around you all the time.

Aaron Smith:

Because they want to be-

Jennifer Smith:

You’ll be so liked.

Aaron Smith:

Guys, that dude’s so humble. Yeah, I think so. I think it’s-

Jennifer Smith:

Especially the spouse.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, especially … Do you want to be around me all the time?

Jennifer Smith:

Yes, always.

Aaron Smith:

All the listeners, do you want your spouse to draw near to you and want to be around you? Humility is a huge way to make that such an easy thing to happen.

So, we talked about benefits. What are some things that we’ve seen in our own marriage how pride has affected us?

Jennifer Smith:

Pride. Well, I know for me, when I feel justified in hurt or feeling like I’m right about something, I tend to withhold in a lot of ways with you, whether it’s like-

Aaron Smith:

Withhold what?

Jennifer Smith:

My words or intimacy or that drawing close that you talked about.

Aaron Smith:

Forgiveness sometimes.

Jennifer Smith:

Forgiveness, for sure.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

That just happened the other day actually. You looked at me like, “Are you going to forgive me?” And I just remember thinking, “I’m not done yet. I still had two more things I wanted to say, and then I could forgive you, which wasn’t a nice way to talk about it.”

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, but that’s one of the things that pride does to us is it says like, “No, I’m not. I’m going to hold this for a little bit more until I think you deserve it or I’m ready.”

Jennifer Smith:

I admit. I did that.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, and as for me, there’s been times. I don’t want to say many probably, where-

Jennifer Smith:

We’ve been married a long time, so there’s been many.

Aaron Smith:

I’ve been so prideful that I have a difficult time coming to you to admit when I was wrong, either in sin or in certain actions like when you’re rightfully frustrated with me because I should have done something, and I didn’t. And you’re like, “Why didn’t you do that thing?” And then what I want to do in my pride is defend myself and make reasons why you shouldn’t be so angry. And why are you so hurt with me? Why are you so mad at me right now? I avoid trying to come to you or humbly just saying, “You know what? You’re right. I’m sorry that I didn’t do that thing that I said I’d do.”

Jennifer Smith:

Which to highlight the change, the transformation, the other day, you did acknowledge something really quickly, almost too quickly that I couldn’t … Oh, maybe that’s the same situation that …

Aaron Smith:

No, I don’t think it was.

Jennifer Smith:

Oh, it was a different situation [inaudible 00:30:14].

Aaron Smith:

This was a situation in the car.

Jennifer Smith:

Well, you quickly apologized, and it actually caught me off guard. There was silence for a little bit, and I looked at you, and you looked at me like-

Aaron Smith:

Are you going to forgive me?

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, and I remember thinking, I remember saying out loud … I think there was a but coming.

Aaron Smith:

I think it was something like you said something, and then I said a snarky comment back to you.

Jennifer Smith:

We were both being kind of rude, and I remember thinking, “Oh, he’s going to say all this nice stuff and apologize, but …” But then you never said the but, and I was like, “Oh.”

Aaron Smith:

And then you looked at me like, “I thought there was a but coming,” and I was like, “No.”

Now, here’s a confession. There was a but that I wanted to say. So, I apologized. I said, “Jen, I’m really sorry that I spoke to you that way. You didn’t deserve that.” And then I was quiet, and you waited. And you looked at me, and I looked at you, and you’re like, “Is there a but coming?” I went, “No.”

Jennifer Smith:

I assumed there needed to be one since I was also being-

Aaron Smith:

I held my tongue.

Jennifer Smith:

I was also being a certain way, but …

Aaron Smith:

You apologize later on, and I didn’t have to say anything.

Jennifer Smith:

Can I share a funny story real quick?

Aaron Smith:

No.

Jennifer Smith:

Maybe it’s not funny.

Aaron Smith:

No funny stories. Yes, of course.

Jennifer Smith:

One of the kids was talking to me recently, and they said, “But, mom, da da da.” I don’t remember what they were talking about, but our little Edie, who just turned three, heard just the but mom really clearly. And so she started in the backseat going, “But mom, but mom, but mom,” until she realized she was saying butt mom, and she just started cracking up.

Aaron Smith:

She thought she was so funny.

Jennifer Smith:

Oh, my goodness.

Aaron Smith:

We’re like, “Edie, We do not talk like that.

Jennifer Smith:

I said, “Mommy’s name’s too special. You can’t laugh at my name.” Oh, man, kids.

Aaron Smith:

So, yes, pride affects us all because it’s in our nature, and it’s why the Holy Spirit needs to change that nature, needs to where the Bible tells us to not gratify the desires of the flesh but walk in the spirit.

Jennifer Smith:

Which I will say, the one thing that has helped our marriage most, and I don’t know how people do it without him, is drawing close to Jesus, looking at his example, and walking like he walked because only with him can you seek peace, and pursue it, and prioritize unity in marriage and serving each other because you know the cost of your life and their life and what it means and what the purpose is behind all of it. It’s because of Jesus and what he did for us. It really humbles you.

Aaron Smith:

Well, if you humble yourself to draw near to God, you recognize how humble you need to be, that we did nothing and can do nothing for our salvation. He’s so good that he offers it freely, his grace and his mercy. I think at 1 Peter 5:6 it says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” It goes back to that Malachi scripture.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

What does he require? Humbleness because pride’s going to keep us from him. But when we humble ourselves, we’ll say, “Oh, there he is. Like the disciples when Jesus comes in, he said some hard things about communion, about his body. And everyone left but the 12. And he looks at them. He’s like, “Will you leave also?” And Peter says, “Where are we going to go? You have the words of life.”

That was a humility. That was like saying, “Yeah, what you said was hard, and we don’t understand it, but where else are we going to go? I have nowhere else to go.” That’s a humility. That’s saying I have no rope to climb. I have no ladder. I have nothing. You’re it, God. You’re it, Lord. We need to humble ourselves.

Jennifer Smith:

So, with that, what ways can we walk with each other in marriage in humility?

Aaron Smith:

Well, to highlight some of the things that we already said, quickly acknowledging and addressing when hurt happens. So, like you said in the car, I know I said something that was intentionally hurtful, and the Holy Spirit was like, “Why did you just say that?” And I was like, “I’m really sorry that I just said that to you. You don’t deserve that,” which doesn’t happen all the time. I don’t always acknowledge that quick, but quickly acknowledging.

Jennifer Smith:

And for the other person, when there is a sincere recognition, apology, being quick to forgive.

Aaron Smith:

Well, and also quick to acknowledge.

Jennifer Smith:

And also walking in humility.

Aaron Smith:

Wow, I’m really proud of you for acknowledging that so quickly.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, do a little affirmation.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

But just we use quickly a lot, and I just want you guys to know-

Aaron Smith:

It’s relative.

Jennifer Smith:

It is because sometimes you need time to process the hurt or what’s going on, and not every situation can be addressed quickly, and we know this. So, even more than that, it’s just being able to walk in humility with each other is this ability to always highlight and come back to reconciliation.

Aaron Smith:

Well, I’ll give an example real quick about this. Like you said, it may not be quick to fully resolve, but we can quickly acknowledge something. Sometimes in a really heated, something that’s very emotional, something that’s very driven by the flesh kind of argument, one of you can humble yourself and say, “Hey, I know this isn’t going to be resolved in this moment. I’m elevated, and it looks like you are too. Can we take a break and pray about this? And we’ll come back and talk about it when we have … ” There can be an acknowledgement quickly, even if there’s no quick resolve.

Jennifer Smith:

You also said something just now, which is walking in humility, and that is pray. When you can humble yourselves before the Lord, especially with your marriage, it’s such a beautiful thing, and it really diffuses a lot of the tension that you feel in the moment of emotion. So, being able to humble yourselves and go to God in prayer is a big one.

Aaron Smith:

This is something that we’ve learned over the years, and it’s why we love writing about prayer and wanting to encourage people to pray, especially when it comes to hard things relationally in your marriage and with others. The moment you pray, no matter how right you think you are, when you step into the throne room of God and you stand before him, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m so small.”

Jennifer Smith:

When Ant-Man pushes the-

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, and he just shrinks down to a little thing, but that’s what happens when … The proper heart posture is humbleness before God, not, “God, you need to change their hearts.” Sometimes we do that and realize we’re not even praying to God. We’re just angry. But when we truly go before, “Lord, I’m angry. Help my heart,” and often so quick, the Holy Spirit’s like, “Why are you so angry? Why are you holding this against them? Why are you … ” And it’s like, “Oh, Lord, you’re so big, so righteous, and I’m not.” So, it’s humbling to pray.

Jennifer Smith:

And just to quickly go over the reconciliation stuff, it’s being willing to apologize, being willing to confess and repent and also embrace each other, hug each other, physical affirmation to resolve those conflicts.

Aaron Smith:

To reconnect.

Jennifer Smith:

To reconnect.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Another thing, humility, another way of walking humility is recognizing that we are both imperfect and need Jesus and love. Like the moment I think that my sin is smaller and your sin is greater, I’m wrong, and we do that a lot. We will elevate our righteousness and push down our partner, our spouse, and say, “No, what you did is more wrong and more sinful.” That’s prideful, but recognizing we both need Jesus.

Jennifer Smith:

So, walking in humility looks like when we think we’re right, realizing that we might not be right, and don’t fight about it.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, it’s being self-critical like am I actually right?

Jennifer Smith:

Are you listening to others around you? Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Not putting yourself in a high position. That kind of goes with what I was just talking about. It’s like “I’m going to elevate my position and lower yours. I’m going to be demanding. I’m going to be controlling. I’m going to be … ” The place I put myself allows me to, like we were talking about before, withhold forgiveness, withhold reconciliation, withhold intimacy, withhold all sorts of things because while I’m here and you’re here, until you come up to me, what’s hard about that is it’s all contingent on what you have decided is enough. And that’s not good.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, and this could even be in a superficial way of being demanding of time and what your needs are and not considering the other person. So, walking in humility puts the interest of others, your spouse, above your own. It’s being willing to serve them and love them and give and give some more.

Aaron Smith:

And I think the last thing, of course, not the last thing, but the last thing on our list is agreeing with God. Agreeing with God is an act of humility. God, you are right, and I’m wrong. You are right, and I need to know what’s right in this situation. Me being angry, me yelling, me being frustrated, me being whatever it is that we’re being, asking God, is this the right thing that I’m doing, not, how’s my wife wrong, how’s my husband wrong.

So, agreeing with God, saying, “God, what you say is truth, and I need to bend myself to you,” which is like what we read in Malachi and what we read in other scriptures.

Jennifer Smith:

Micah.

Aaron Smith:

Micah.

Jennifer Smith:

I was going to correct you earlier.

Aaron Smith:

Not Malachi, Micah.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah.

Aaron Smith:

Which is what God desires from us.

Jennifer Smith:

Good. It’s all good stuff. Just to remind you of that verse in Micah 6:8, it says, “He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, it’s Micah 6:8, not Malachi.

Jennifer Smith:

That’s okay. Okay, guys, we like to end these episodes with something called a growth spurt, which is just a challenge that we like to give to you to invest in yourself and your marriage and your relationship with God and everything just to be, I don’t know, better yourself.

Aaron Smith:

Well, it goes along with one of the episodes we just did in April about always being a learner.

Jennifer Smith:

That’s right.

Aaron Smith:

Yeah, and so this week’s, this month’s I should say, growth spurt is invest intellectually.

Jennifer Smith:

So, grab a good book and take time to discuss it with your spouse. Now, don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t finish the book all the way, or you only even get a few pages in just-

Aaron Smith:

It’s just taking steps.

Jennifer Smith:

Yeah, just taking baby steps here, or I know I have friends that can finish a book in a day. They’re pretty awesome. But why don’t you share what you’re reading.

Aaron Smith:

I’ve been reading off and on a book called She’s Yours by Jonathan and Wynter Pitts, and it’s essentially a book about how to love daughters.

Jennifer Smith:

That’s awesome.

Aaron Smith:

How to have a daughter.

Jennifer Smith:

So cool.

Aaron Smith:

Which I still feel like I’m always learning because I have no idea.

Jennifer Smith:

I just got a book that I pre-ordered a long time ago by Sally Clarkson. I just got it today, and I’m super excited to dive into it. But it’s Teatime Discipleship, and I’m already a few pages in. And it’s good, so I’m excited. It’s pleasing to the eye. It’s got really cute pictures in it.

Aaron Smith:

It’s very artsy.

Jennifer Smith:

Artsy, yeah.

Aaron Smith:

So, at the end of this episode, and as we do all episodes, we pray. But this prayer is a special one. Why is this a special one, Jennifer?

Jennifer Smith:

Well, this is an excerpt from our newest book, The Marriage Gift: 365 Prayers for Our Marriage.

Aaron Smith:

And it’s about being humble. So, why don’t you do that?

Jennifer Smith:

Okay. Dear Lord, we are learning that humility is freedom from pride. Without pride governing our hearts, we can have a modest view of ourselves. Pride demands a pedestal position of authority, while humility offers a posture of submission and sacrifice. We confess that pride often comes between us. Lord, will you show us the consequences of pride in contrast to the benefits of humility? In moments when our flesh is tempted with arrogance, will you redirect us to act in meekness instead?

Let Christ’s example of humility reign in our hearts and minds. Help us to see clearly and reveal any insight that will contribute to our resolve. May we refuse to fight for what we think is right, but rather fight for your truth to prevail. When we desire justice, remind us to bring our case before you, the good judge, in genuine prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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