Humility is one of those incredibly important character qualities we need in life and, especially, in marriage. Unfortunately, many often misunderstand what humility involves.
Rick Warren helps to clarify this issue, saying . . .
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Aside from the fact that God commands that we seek to be humble, I’d like to consider . . .
4 Reasons Why We Need Humility
I humbly admit that this list is not exhaustive! 😉
1. To develop our trust in God.
It takes a lot of trust in God to humble ourselves, letting our good Father call the shots in our lives.
2. To reflect Christ’s character.
If we want to be followers of Christ, we need to mirror the humble life He lived.
3. To remind us of our equal footing with others.
We all have sinned; therefore, there’s no room to look down upon or mistreat anyone else.
4. To stretch our servant-muscles.
If we don’t do this, our relationships will sour and weaken. Service to your mate is one of the most important ways to deepen his or her love for you.
Allow me to unpack the Humility Inventory, using my answers as a way to illustrate how these can impact your marriage as well.
How Humble Are You? Why it Matters . . .
1. I am fairly quick to confess my sins and failures not only to God but to my spouse as well.
Hover over 2 Chronicles 7:14 to see one important form that humility takes in relationships.
I gave myself a “4” here because I’ve seen the benefits of quickly confessing to my spouse. When I don’t, it’s just a matter of time before I feel compelled to confess so I can be released from the burden of guilt. Besides, it immediately breaks down the barrier my sin created between my husband and myself. Happy, happy! Joy, Joy!
If you haven’t felt these benefits, then you’re cheating both yourself and the Lord, as much as you’re cheating your spouse.
2. I try to avoid arguing with or convincing others to see things my way, turning to God for wisdom and patience in times of conflict and tension.
Hover over Proverbs 11:2 to see how humility provides wisdom.
I gave myself a “3” here because I, unfortunately, am undoing a long-held habit of arguing. It’s still the bane of my existence and beckons to me like a bowl of my fave, “Salted Carmel Cluster” ice cream! 😉
If you struggle here, you’re likely far too fixated on your opinions and convictions being right. Imagine for a second how it would feel if your spouse felt like “God’s gift of wisdom” to you. Catch my drift?
3. When someone like my spouse gives me advice, I typically listen and want to learn from their experiences and point of view.
Hover over Proverbs 12:15 to discover how “receptive” the humble are.
I rated myself a “3” here because I tend to throw up my defenses at first, especially with my husband. Once I’ve let the dust settle, I almost always take his words to heart.
If you struggle here, you’ll probably miss objective insights that can help you personally, not to mention, missing moments that can bond you to your mate.
4. I generally avoid pointing out my accomplishments to others, knowing that God will bring me any necessary credit at the right time and way.
Hover over Proverbs 27:2 to read this beneficial rule for life.
I gave myself a “4” here because bragging just feels so vain to me. And I definitely trust that God will bring into the light what He believes needs attention.
If you struggle here, you’re probably really distancing yourself from your spouse. No one likes to be around a braggart or feel less than.
5. My love and admiration for Jesus’ servant-hearted life often spill over into acts of service that I want to do for my spouse and others.
Hover over Philippians 2:5-7 to see one of the ways Jesus showed humility.
I gave myself a “3” here because I serve, but don’t always serve out of my love for Jesus. Very often I do this out of obligation to others instead.
If you struggle here, you’ll likely also struggle with burnout in life and bitterness toward your mate. #awfulcombination
6. I regularly ask God to evaluate my heart and attitude, knowing I can miss areas of sin and pride present in my life.
Hover over Romans 12:3 to see the key ingredient in finding a humble perspective of yourself (Hint, hint … It’s faith!).
I gave myself a “5” here because I’ve trained myself to do this often and with great thoroughness. God has really blessed those efforts too!
If you struggle here, you’ll also struggle with denial and lack of insight into yourself, your spouse, and your marriage. We can’t find healing for what we don’t see and acknowledge.
7. I work hard to accept and love others, including those who are not like me, those who test my patience, and those who are less fortunate than I am.
Hover over Romans 12:16 to see another characteristic of humble people.
I gave myself a “3” here because of my tendency to argue. It’s probably my worst character problem.
If you struggle here, you probably don’t have a very peaceful relationship with your spouse. Each conflict you instigate will serve to crack the foundation of your marriage.
8. I accept my flaws and weaknesses, yielding them to God and trusting Him to use them to make me stronger in my faith.
Hover over 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 to see the value of embracing your weaknesses.
I gave myself a “5” here because I fully realize and am grateful for Christ’s power in my weaknesses.
If you struggle here, you’re probably also very insecure. Insecurity often grows into a deadly cancer in marriage.
9. I try to be more aware of and meet others’ needs, including my spouse’s, out of my love for God and not out of a desire to gain other people’s approval and praise.
Hover over Philippians 2:3-4 to see the direction humility takes.
I gave myself a “3” here because I can be far too self-protective. Seems rather ridiculous, given the protection Christ provides for me!
If you struggle here, you’ll end up protecting and investing in the wrong things—damaging your marriage as a result.
10. I hold my plans for the future in an open hand, allowing God to change them whenever He has something different in mind for me.
Hover over James 4:14-16 to learn what humble dependence on God looks like.
I gave myself a “4” here because I like to plan far too much! Lol! But I’ve also learned to hold my plans loosely—letting God determine the best outcome.
If you struggle here, you’re probably driving your mate crazy with your need to over-achieve and/or control every outcome. “Let it go” to God!
Homework: If you haven’t already taken the Humility Inventory, click here to download a PDF. Then focus in on one or two of your weak areas this week, doing what the corresponding Bible verse(s) encourage as your action point. For example: I’m going to work on #2 and #7—letting God speak, instead of giving my spouse a piece of “my” mind. Click here to find all the posts in this series.
Also, be sure to join me next week when I’ll be examining what a “forgiving” attitude looks like, with another inventory to help us evaluate ourselves.
Based on the 10 insights above, which one do you plan to work on in your life and marriage?
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