A Marriage Characterized by Humility
By: Kia Stephens
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
“You’re spoiled,” an older colleague said to me as we sat around the break room. She was a seasoned teacher and I was a rookie who made the mistake of telling this brutally matter-of-fact teacher that I was an only child. I was twenty-something, dating and oblivious to just how right her words were.
I didn’t discover it until I had been married for some time. This is because marriage has a way of bringing all of our unrefined parts to the surface. Growing up I was accustomed to getting my own way so the lifestyle of humility did not come easily.
I imagine this is the case for many in marriage. It is easy to get caught up in wanting a fair distribution of labor and responsibility. But what if our marriages were characterized by humility? What would it look like if both the husband and the wife did nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit?
There would be no arguments about whose turn it was to wash the dishes or put away the clothes. No one would complain about having to do more work than the other. Each person would simply try to outdo their spouse, not considering themselves but always placing the other person first.
This sounds like an unreal utopian marriage but I believe this is what God had in mind when He envisioned the union between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world and our ego often makes us forget Paul’s call to humility and Christ-likeness.
Humility is often lost among hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and fatigue. Repetitive disappointment in marriage sometimes causes one or both spouses to simply give up on laying their lives down. They grow tired of loving like Christ and choose rather to love themselves.
Paul, however, did not say be humble if the recipient of your humility is also humble. He said to follow Christ’s example. When Jesus walked on the earth He was so humble that He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Instead, He took on the nature of a servant and became humble even unto death.
Christ's humility was driven by an unparalleled love for all mankind. If this same sacrificial love and humility existed in our marriages they would be unshakeable. Even if only one person committed to living in this way the other spouse would be tremendously impacted by this selfless display of love. This is the type of marriage that we desire and want to perpetuate in our families.
In order to do so, we do not have to wait for our spouse to join us. We can purpose to be humble just as Christ was without our spouse's knowledge or stamp of approval. Over time, they will notice and be grateful for the commitment we made to live humbly like Christ.
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mom of two who is passionate about encouraging the hearts of women. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to help women exchange their father-wounds for the love of God the Father. Kia is also the founder of Entrusted Women, which she created to equip Christian women communicators of color. Kia's writing has been featured on Ann Voskamp's blog, Christianity Today, iBelieve.com, Beloved Women, Crosswalk and Incourage. When she is not writing or serving women, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends. You can connect with Kia at www.kiastephens.com.
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