Some of us may remember the humorous but true story of the time when Muhammad Ali was on an airplane that hit a patch of turbulence. The captain came over the p.a. system and announced that he wanted everyone to return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts in the midst of the rough air. As the flight attendant was making her way to her seat she noticed that Ali had not fastened his seatbelt like the captain had instructed. She decided to remind the champ that he needed to strap in to which he tersely replied, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt!” The flight attendant gently reminded him that, “Superman don’t need no airplane, now please fasten your seatbelt”.
I laugh every time I think of that story. Ali was indeed one of a kind, an endearing man. But for all of his greatness, one of the things that he was not known for was his humility. He was a man of precocious pride. Is it any wonder that he’s on his fourth marriage?
As my wife and I celebrate 10 years of marriage this July I’ve become convinced that what kills marriages more than anything else is pride. After all it is what C.S. Lewis said is the epicenter of all vices. My incessant obsession with myself wreaks havoc on my marriage. My longing to be served and not to serve, my intense drive to be adored, worshipped, congratulated, looked at, gawked over, esteemed and praised chokes the life out of marriage. Pride is what drives people to adultery, abuse their spouses and withhold from their “beloved” the gift of forgiveness.
The Bible supports the notion that pride is the epicenter of all vices, because the very first commandment of the infamous ten is the prohibition of idolatry. And at the end of the day pride is the worship of self, it is the most natural, yet hideous form of idolatry. God so abhors pride that he says that he resists the proud. Every time I read that I get the image of a football player lining up, and on the other side of him is God!
If pride is the root of all vices, then the antithesis must be true- humility is the root of all virtues. And if pride is what destroys marriages, then what serves as the greenhouse to cultivate healthy ones is humility. The ancient apostle Paul understood this, that’s why he exhorts us to clothe ourselves with humility. To the Philippians he would tell them to consider others as more esteemed, or important than ourselves.
I could very well be saving you 150 bucks an hour with this one tip- walk in humility today in your marriage. Live to serve your spouse. Esteem their needs higher than your own. Put on the garment of humility.
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