Pride ruins relationships. It forces a wedge between couples eroding intimacy, destroying trust, and denying peace. There are few things as virulent to a marriages as pride.
While many recognize the peril of pride, few can recognize its early warning signs. Unwitting of its presence, pride grows until it is virtually insurmountable. A healthy couple, however, will identify the problem from its earliest symptoms and do everything they can to abolish it from themselves and their relationship.
9 Signs of Pride
1. Everything is personal.
Pride is an elevated view of self. When such egocentrism enters an individual, every opposing idea or differing viewpoint isn’t seen as a natural disagreement or a difference of perspective, it becomes a personal attack. Their response to every situation is one of defensiveness because they feel assaulted even if you simply disagree over the most minor of issues.
Because pride requires us to look better than others, a pride-filled person becomes an expert at finding fault in others. Over time, problems with others is all they see. “When challenged during an altercation, these kinds of people will immediately and intensely defend their position by flipping the challenge back at the other partner.” (Gunther) Anyone who sees the world differently is viewed as wrong. It may begin with outsiders to the marriage, but it will quickly include our spouse.
3. Refusal to be influenced by their spouse.
Pride paralyzes us into our current state. Humility, on the other hand, opens us up to change. People who suffer from egoistic prideful behavior behave as if they are superior to their spouse. They believe they are entitled to influencing their partner through intimidation and indifference, without ever being influenced themselves. (Gunther) Whenever an individual is unable to be positively influenced by their spouse, it’s a sign something is horribly wrong. It shows respect has been lost and the most common cause of lack of respect is pride.
4. Ignorance of the need of your spouse.
Pride doesn’t just keep us from caring for others, it prevents us from even seeing their needs. It causes us to become so focused on ourself that we no longer see their pain and struggles. Not seeing any need, a prideful person could never even consider how they can assist another person.
5. Absence of sacrifice.
Pride says we deserve to do our own thing and go our own way. Marriage demands that we sacrifice our individual dreams and desires for the sake of the relationship. It requires us to submit our wills to one another in order for the union to flourish. Pride convinces us that sacrifice is below us and submission is unnecessary.
6. Never asking for help, always expecting service.
It’s an odd combination, but pride weds the two. When we overvalue ourselves, we refuse to ask others for help. We see it as a weakness. But at the same time we regularly expect others to serve us because we think we are due their sacrifice. So a man filled with pride will ask his wife for nothing, but expect her to do everything.
7. Addiction to attention.
Pride demands attention. Believing ourselves to be of more importance, we assume everything is and should be about us. Everything becomes about what we want, think, desire, and how situations impact us. Even if our spouse experiences illness, injury, or trauma, a prideful spouse immediately thinks about how that will inconvenience them and not about their spouse.
8. Refusal to submit to authority.
A prideful person believes they have it all figured out so they don’t need to listen to an expert. Even if statistics show a certain action is negative, the person filled with pride will assume they are the exception. In marriage, an arrogant person will not humble themselves to wise counsel or do what an expert says. Even if they attend counseling, they simply go so their point can be validated.
9. Refusal to say “I’m sorry.”
The inability to apologize can appear for two reasons. First, an egocentric person may not be able to see they are wrong. Second, they might not be willing to admit fault even when they know it is there. Either way, the words “I’m sorry” are never heard or if they are, they are quickly followed by blame.
Recognizing Pride in Your Self and Relationship
When pride is present, intimacy is absent. A wise couple will recognize the agony of pride and will do everything in their power to eradicate from themselves and their relationship. If you have found yourself to display egoistic prideful behavior, you can still become a successful relationship partner by embracing the freedom that comes from letting go the need to dominate. The road is arduous but the payoffs are remarkably healing.