bride and groom sitting facing a lake at sunset

The Single Biggest Key to a Healthy Marriage

Practically every wife wants a healthy marriage. If you know the Lord, you want a godly marriage, too. The problem is, something sneaky can easily trip you up and cause you to miss out on your greatest dreams for your relationship with your husband.

It’s frustrating when you want a strong, vibrant marriage—but something mysteriously holds you back. You may even feel like giving up after putting so much effort in our your side but not getting good results.

Thankfully, we don’t have to stay stuck and frustrated! We just need to let the blazing light of God’s Word to shine on the root issue behind all the mess. Then we don’t have to keep stumbling around in darkness.

The Deepest Issue for Us All

Whether you are thinking about a relationship with your husband, a child, the Lord, or anyone else, there is one bedrock, foundational factor to consider.

What is my root motive?

  • Am I living in pride? Do I think I know best and I have all the wisdom and everyone needs to do things my way?
  • Or do I embrace godly humility? Do I acknowledge God and respect His design and His way?

Will I humble myself and allow the Lord to show me His Word and His wisdom? Will I admit that His wisdom is much higher than my own and will I yield myself to learn from Him all that He wants to show me?

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9

The craziest thing about pride is, we often can’t see it in ourselves. We can see it clearly in other people’s lives and it is super obnoxious. But pride is blinding in our own lives. And, unfortunately, it is the root cause of all other sins in our lives (for everyone, of course, not just for women).

But pride isn’t something we give much thought to in our culture today, sadly. Even among believers.

Pride Is the Ultimate Problem

Pride is what caused Satan to fall from heaven from his position as the highest angel. He wanted to be worshipped as God. He wanted to be equal to God.

This was also Satan’s temptation to Eve.

If you disobey God and follow me, you can be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil. God is holding out on you, Eve. He doesn’t want what is best for you. You know better than God does. Follow your wisdom, not His.

(Paraphrasing Gen. 3:1-7)

So pride is a very big deal and something we need to ask God to help us be conscious of daily so we can get rid of it right away. Even a tiny bit of it is toxic.

There Is Help!

Thankfully, Jesus understands our weaknesses. He lived for 33 years on this earth as a human and endured the same temptations we do, and yet, He lived perfectly and never sinned.

Jesus, although He was God, didn’t try to make Himself equal with God. If anyone ever had a right to be prideful or to exalt Himself to be equal with God, it was Jesus! And yet, He never did this. On earth, He modeled total humility for us. (Philippians 2:3-11) What an incredible example!

We each face this temptation every day. To make ourselves equal to God in our own eyes consciously or unconsciously. The desire is always there to exalt ourselves and what we think is right.

Human beings have a huge learning curve on this issue. I know I do!

And yes, it would be ideal if both spouses repent of all pride and embrace humility. It would be AMAZING! But even if one spouse begins to understand this issue, the marriage can be greatly blessed! Someone has to change first, after all. Why not let God start with you?**

God’s Plan for Healthy Relationships Is Clear—Humility!

What path will you choose each day? How will we try to build our marriages and relationships?

We have two examples set clearly before us:

Jesus provides a plan for us to make it possible for us to follow Him into humility and avoid the danger of pride.

  1. Humble yourself before God and admit you don’t know anything compared to His wisdom.
  2. Let your pride be crucified with Jesus on the cross and buried. (Die to self)
  3. Allow the Spirit and power of Christ to fill you and give you the capacity for divine humility.

If You Want a Healthy Marriage, Start with Humility before God

When you approach marriage from a posture of humility and are willing to embrace God’s design and His wisdom for you as a wife, everyone wins, including you!

Up close view of a woman hugging a man from the side in a city street. Both are smiling and looking down.
Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash

WHAT IS HUMILITY?

“Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.” 

― Andrew Murray, Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness

Humility is

  • Heavenly
  • Willing to follow God
  • The creature acknowledging her proper relationship to her Creator
  • Beautiful
  • Giving up of the old sinful self
  • Receiving all of the new self and new identity in Christ
  • Receiving all of God’s truth for those who love Him
  • Allowing God to be ALL and do ALL
  • Servant-hearted
  • Content with any assignment from God, even the lowliest
  • Fulfilled even in obscurity
  • Willing to consider others first
  • Selfless
  • A choice
  • A command
  • the root of all virtue (Andrew Murray, “Humility”)

Humility Does Not

  • Seek recognition
  • Desire human praise or approval
  • Focus on its sin constantly
  • Seek to punish itself
  • Beat itself up

Humility Is Not

Humility Says

  • Lord, I want Your will far above my own.
  • I’d like to understand your perspective better.
  • How can I serve?
  • How does God want to love this person through me?
  • What can I learn from this difficult situation?
  • What will most honor and glorify Jesus?
  • What’s in it for God and His kingdom?
  • How will my response impact my witness for Christ?
  • How can I be a blessing?
  • I’d like to respectfully share my concerns.
  • This is what I would prefer, what are your thoughts?
  • Lord, thank You that You will use this trial to refine me.
  • Lord, do what You know is best here.
  • Lord, Your wisdom is so much greater than mine. I trust You!

What Blessings Do You Get If You Embrace Godly Humility?

With humility come many good gifts from God.

Humility Leads to Incredible Spiritual Riches Here and in Eternity

  • Salvation and being part of God’s kingdom (Psalm 149:4, Matt. 5:3)
  • God hearing our prayers (2 Chron. 34:27)
  • Forgiveness (2 Chron. 7:14)
  • Healing (2 Chron. 7:14)
  • Faith in God (1 Cor. 1:28)
  • Spiritual life (Prov. 22:4)
  • Our having the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:3-11)
  • Godly wisdom (Prov. 11:2)
  • Honor and exaltation from God (Prov. 15:33, Prov. 18:12)
  • God’s help in our lives
  • The capacity to love with God’s love (1 Cor. 13:4-6)
  • Favor from God (Prov. 3:34)
  • Discernment to find God’s will and His path for us (Psalm 25:9)
  • God teaching us His way (Psalm 25:9)
  • Rest for our souls (Matt. 11:29)
  • Grace from God (James 4:6)
  • God drawing near to us to help us (Isaiah 66:2)
  • Protection from God’s wrath (Zeph. 2:3)
  • Our being the greatest in God’s Kingdom (Matt. 18:4)
  • A servant’s heart toward God and others (Mark 9:35, Mark 10:45)
  • Rewards in heaven (Matt. 6:2, Matt. 6:6)
s that say Mr. And Mrs.
Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

Anyone Who Wants a Healthy Marriage Must Avoid Pride Like the Plague!

When we approach our marriage in our wisdom and pride, we contaminate—and eventually destroy—our relationship. We also hurt our relationship with God.

A pride-based approach is never going to work to nurture any relationship.

Pride ruins us and taints the way we interact with others with poison.

WHAT IS PRIDE?

Included are the ideas of arrogance, cynical insensitivity to the needs of others, and presumption… What constitutes a “proud” person? The negative sense points to a sinful individual who shifts ultimate confidence from God to self.

www.BibleStudyTools.com

Pride Says

  • I’m right.
  • Me being right is more important than my attitude or how I treat you.
  • I deserve better.
  • I am entitled.
  • I’m better than you are.
  • I am more holy than you are.
  • I know better than any person.
  • I know better than the Bible/God.
  • Do what I say and what I want.
  • Take care of my interests first all the time.

Pride Results In Terrible Things for Us and Our Relationships

  • Disgrace (Prov. 11:2)
  • Repelling other people (1 Cor. 13:4-6)
  • A terrible fall (Prov. 16:18-19, 1 Cor. 10:12)
  • Destruction (Prov 16:18, Prov. 18:12)
  • Spiritual blindness, foolishness, and darkness (Rom. 1:21-22)
  • Hard heartedness, disobedience (Neh. 9:16)
  • Selfishness and even narcissism (1 Cor. 4:6, 1 Cor. 8:1)
  • A reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28)
  • Spiritual poverty (Rev. 3:17)
  • A trap (Psalm 59:12)
  • Self-deception (Prov. 26:12, Obad .1:3, Rom. 12:16, Gal. 6:3)
  • Hopelessness (Prov. 26:12)
  • Self-righteousness (Luke 18:9-14, Rom. 12:3)
  • Quarrels (Prov. 13:10)
  • Envy (2 Cor. 10:12)
  • All other sins (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28, 29-32)
  • Lack of love (1 Cor.13:4-5)

How God Responds to Our Pride

  • Discipline, punishment and/or humbling from God (Psalm 31:23, Psalm 101:5, Prov. 16:5, Prov. 29:23, Isa. 2:12, Zeph. 3:11)
  • God opposes us (James 4:6)
  • Great distance between ourselves and God (Psalm 138:6)
  • Condemnation (1 Tim. 3:6)
  • We receive no honor from the Lord (Prov. 25:27)

Bottom Line—Humility Is the Path to God’s Favor in Every Area of Our Lives, Including Marriage

If you want a healthy, vibrant marriage, you need God’s greatest blessings, wisdom, and power. You need spiritual strength. You need a new heavenly nature.

If you want all of God you can hold and all of the spiritual treasures God longs to give you, humility is the path to Him. And He is our gold mine!

PRAYER

Lord,

Show us your glorious path of humility! Help us see the exquisite beauty and value of it. Help us see the heinousness of pride and just how evil it is. Help us desire humility wholeheartedly so that we can have much more experience daily of You in our lives and relationships.

Amen!

“Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.” 

― Andrew Murray, Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness

**Note – If you are facing serious issues like a husband’s unrepentant infidelity, abuse, active addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, or if you are very spiritually or mentally unwell, please seek godly, experienced, trustworthy counsel one-on-one. And if you are not safe, please try to get somewhere safe. I am not able to address these extreme issues in a general blog post.

RESOURCES
“Humility” by Andrew Murray ($0.99 on Kindle 1/26/20)

Verses about Humility

Verses about Pride

Posts about Humility and Pride by www.gotquestions.org

The 4 Step Peace Plan

It is only as we

  1. look upward and yield to Christ in submission to His Lordship and
  2. look inward to allow Him to cleanse us and fill us with His Spirit’s power that we can then
  3. look outward properly. Then we can also
  4. look forward to how God will use all things for our ultimate good and His glory and we can look forward to heaven!

He gives us the ability to relate to others in divine new ways that pour Life into our relationships rather than death! WOOHOO!

12 thoughts to “The Single Biggest Key to a Healthy Marriage”

  1. Thank you so much for all the scriptures that lead us and helps us to better understand straight from His Word. I’m so grateful for you and your leading!

    1. angbam,

      Humility is one of the most beautiful, powerful topics. I have been studying about it again a lot lately. It’s something I need to study often.

      So glad this was a blessing. That is an answer to my prayers!
      <3

  2. Hi April,
    Pride is my #1 pitfall in my personal life and my career.
    I’m always tempted to think “I deserve better” or “I am entitled”.
    I pray about it all the time. It’s a real struggle.

    1. Nikki,

      It is mine, too, dear sister. I have to be very aware of it. It’s so sneaky!!!! How I pray I will hate it as much as God does and that He might help me be as repulsed by my pride as He is. And I want to see the incredible beauty of humility more and more brightly.

      May the Lord empower us to embrace His plan for us to humble ourselves, that He might exalt us in due time. But may we not seek greatness for ourselves, only for Him.

      Thanks for sharing! I have a feeling we can all relate to this issue.

    2. Jesus redeemed you from the curse, when He became a curse in your place, on the cross.

      Read the 2x articles below, to understand your behaviour & your desire to dominate & control your husband . . . once you UNDERSTAND the source of the problem, it is easy to ask God to help you, to rid yourself of this behaviour . . . since it has no legal right in your marriage (Jesus took it upon himself)

      https://www.letspleasegod.com/curse-of-eve/

      https://www.gotquestions.org/desire-husband-rule.html

      This video will help you https://youtu.be/388ZduTXiws

  3. i love the way you write and have earnestly read your blog for a few years. but being who I am I cannot just take one person’s word for anything, having to figure it out and research it for myself. and the things you espouse in your blog look nothing like the life I have been told I should lead—example– your blog says how wives are to be submissive and follow their hubby’s leading, showing respect to the husband, etc. god gave me a man who just does not want to lead. he says I can make my own decisions about stuff. some who write about the roles of Christian men v. women many would say he is wrong, but that is him. except for home finances, which he does, I do my own thing and decisions (my art business, my horses, etc) lately I have come across the words “ezer kenegdo” which translated to something like equal power, seems to be a better fit for my personality and life—more explanation of those words here…. https://godswordtowomen.org/ezerkenegdo.htm

    1. Susan’s Saddle Stands,

      It’s a good thing not to just take any person’s word for anything. We must always carefully weigh everything against God’s Word. His opinion and His wisdom is all that matters. People can skew things and twist things, as you well know.

      Every husband has his own leadership style and personality. Every couple works out the way that they believe they can most honor the Lord.

      My husband doesn’t give me a lot of rules or commands. And I am thankful for that! He gives me a lot of freedom and leeway to make many of my own decisions. But, at the same time, I seek to honor him by checking with him, especially on bigger things. And if he does want to lead in a certain way on something, or he wants time to think through something, I seek to honor him.

      I talk about submission of a wife and the leading of a husband only because that is what the Bible teaches. (Eph. 5:22-33, Col 3:18-20, 1 Cor. 11:3)

      It is important for us to understand what biblical submission and biblical leadership mean, because the words submission and headship mean vastly different things to different people.

      I believe the Bible does teach that wives are to be helpers for their husbands, just like the Holy Spirit helps us – that same word is used for us both. I don’t believe the Bible teaches that women have less value or are inferior to men. I believe we all have equal access to salvation, to God, to the throne room of heaven, to most spiritual gifts, to the Spirit of God, to the Word of God, to the power of God, to the love of God, and to so many things.

      I think there has to be proper biblical balance as we learn what God means by a husband’s headship and a wife’s submission. I have many articles on this, but one that brings things into balance is A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage. The husband has positional authority, the wife has influential authority.

      God’s design for husbands and wives is primarily a method for us to portray the gospel to our children and to others around us. And it is a way for us to grow in holiness and Christlikeness as we allow Him to transform us to be more and more like Jesus.

      I will say that my husband didn’t want to be the leader when I began this journey. He was happy for me to take that from him and I was happy to lead those first 14+ years of our marriage, but it was a miserable 14 years and neither of us were honoring the Lord. I really didn’t think Greg could lead when I first started this journey in Dec of 2008.

      But as I stopped steamrolling, criticizing, arguing, demanding, and disrespecting Greg, he very slowly began to be willing to lead. Especially as he saw I was willing to wait on him and not push or pressure him and that I would honor his leadership.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Much love!

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