This week we are learning about pride, or the need for the opposite—humility. I feel that it is really interesting to see that the main definition that comes up when doing an internet search for what pride means is “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements.” Basically feeling good about the things you do. That doesn’t sound so bad? So strange that this word is so well known as something that is a compliment or a feeling of accomplishment, “I am so proud of you!”
However, in the scriptures it seems to be something bad, not just bad, but something that leads to destruction. “ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
|President Beonson speaking in General Conference|
President Ezra Taft Benson taught in his great sermon “Beware of Pride” in 1989:
“In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. Therefore, no matter how the world uses the term, we must understand how God uses the term so we can understand the language of holy writ and profit thereby. (See 2 Ne. 4:15; Mosiah 1:3–7; Alma 5:61.) … The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.”
It is no wonder that the Evil One would want us forget what pride really is if it is the “power by which [he] wishes to reign over us.” In our marriages it is especially destructive. In our text “Drawing Heaven into your Marriage,” Goddard reminds us how our culture today focuses so much the satisfaction and happiness of self. He quotes Roy Baumeister, “Many Americans today can no longer accept the idea that love requires sacrificing oneself or making oneself unhappy or doing things that do not serve one’s individual best interests.” In Matthew 10:39 we read that “he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” So in reality, we will never find love or happiness unless we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for it.
I remember a conversation I had a while ago with another young mom. She felt restless and wanted to do something fulfilling, she was trying to get me to sign-up for a dance class with her. Now I am not saying you should never find ways to grow and use your talents, but I felt that if I did do a dance class at that time in my life I would be sacrificing my family for my own wants. There is a time and a season, and that was not the time for me. So it is in marriage. If a spouse is not devoting and sacrificing time and energy to making their marriage work, it is going to fail.
|Being humble and sacrificing for each other strengthens a marriage.|
How does this fit in with pride? If we are always keeping our thoughts in selfishness then we are opening ourselves to becoming proud. We will want more for ourselves: dress more attractively, be more successful at work (or more successful than the other guy, leading us to spend less time at home), have nicer stuff (home, furnishings, cars), etc.
We need to cultivate an attitude of humility. Goddard shares that humility turns our hearts toward God and helps us to be open to understanding that we don’t know everything or need everything. Our hearts will be open to our spouse and their needs. He also quotes Joseph Smith, “The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing [spouses]; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs … if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on [your spouses].
|He is always there cheering me along.|
I am thankful to have a husband that always is looking for ways to serve. Just yesterday I was having a hard day, children were not getting along, there was no school and too much time and not enough to occupy them. I expressed my weariness to my husband on the phone and he talked about how he had wanted to go jogging when he got home, but instead would take the children out so that I could have a break. I know how much he longs to get out to jog, and yet he is willing to put it off and give me a break. That is one small example of how my husband show that I am important to him. Instead of thinking of himself, he thought of me.
When we reach and lose ourselves in serving and listening to our spouses, we actually find our lives more full and abundant than if we focused on filling our own desires.