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How to Swallow Your Pride in a Relationship
Yaw Manu’s girlfriend has told him many times that she feels he is arrogant. “Yaa is always saying to me, ‘Swallow your pride! Change your ways if you want to have a long-term relationship with me.’ But, I don’t see what she means. Yes, I blow my own trumpet a lot. I blow my stack often. But she also gets angry too! Why does she think I am proud when she does the things I do too!” he fumes.
Pride can be bad for a romantic relationship. A partner who cannot get his lover to see that he (the lover) is proud can get frustrated. And a partner who acts arrogantly but cannot see it can treat his lover or spouse who complains about it with contempt. These two scenarios can lead to quarrels and arguments which can weaken the stability of a romantic relationship.
Swallowing your pride when you are in a relationship can be tricky. You may feel you are losing face before your partner. But, you have to do it if you want your relationship to work.
Let us look at some of the ways you can suppress your tendency to behave arrogantly.
Learn to Be Humble
Learn how you can show humility. Showing humility to your lover or spouse will make him or her feel great about you which will help to enhance the relationship.
Some of the things you can do so that you can humble yourself are:
- Remind yourself often that you are not a perfect person;
- Acknowledge that you are what you are today because you got help in the past, and you will need the help of your partner and others to achieve your visions for your life—you cannot do it all by yourself;
- Remind yourself often that even if you are very good at doing something, someone is better than you at that same thing;
- Appreciate the qualities of your partner and tell him or her you think they are wonderful, often.
- Believe in who you are. Be content with your talents and the resources available to you and don’t strive to prove that you are better than your lover or spouse;
- Acknowledge that you don’t know everything and so be willing to learn from your partner. Have teachable spirit which is willing to admit that you can learn wisdom from your lover or spouse.
- Take lessons in things you know nothing about from your partner. For example, a husband may decide to learn about how to cook from his wife, or a wife may decide to learn how to fix a car from her husband. This will let you see that you may be good at some things but you also need the complimentary knowledge of your partner before you can be an all-round person.
Think About How You Will Deal With Situations Before They Happen
Consider how you will deal with sticky and irritating situations which will test your temper or push you to the limit , before they happen. Think through the words you will use to help you show respect to your lover or spouse. For example, you may decide to think about words such as “My partner is my equal. I must say words that will honor him (or her)!” or “I must trust him,” or “I must keep my temper in check when I am provoked,” or “I must refrain from blaming my partner when we discuss the causes of the fight. I also contributed to the problem.”
When you think through potential conflict-causing situations like this, you can prepare yourself ahead of time which will make it easier to respond in a manner that your partner will feel is respectful.
Spend Time With the Less Privileged
Visit orphans, street people, sick people in hospital, or go to a poor country and learn the experiences of people who struggle every day in life because of the lack of basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, and shelter. You will appreciate the fact that you are very privileged and it will help to humble you so that you can swallow your pride better.
When you visit these people, serve them. Cook for them, do laundry for some of them, or teach one or two of them a skill. It will remind you that you are just a human being that Providence has smiled upon. You will reckon that if circumstances had been different, it could have been you on the streets, or growing up in a poor country. You will appreciate God’s grace better and when you come home to your lover, you will relate to him or her from a humble perspective.
Think About Humbling Experiences, Often
Everyone of us has faced times when we were humiliated or embarrassed. And we do not like to think about those times because it hurts our pride. However, those same events can help you to swallow your pride. They will help you to feel humble.
So, regularly, think to yourself such as, “Although I was so humiliated when I was booed at the Book Lovers’ Conference because my presentation was terrible, I did not react unseemingly. Therefore, I must suppress my arrogant tendencies because I am dealing with someone I love.”
In addition, write down about 50 humiliating things that have happened to you. Read them often to help you humble yourself. It will help you to treat your partner with more respect.
Ask Your Partner for Advice Often
Regularly, ask the opinion of your lover or your spouse concerning pertinent issues that affect your relationship. Moreover, seek the opinion of your partner on issues such as the future of your career, the training of the children and so on. It will remind you that you are not the repository of all knowledge in the world and this will help you to humble yourself.
Learn to Listen
One way you can show pride in a relationship is to refuse to listen. You may think you know it all and treat your partner’s suggestions and pieces of advice with scorn. That can wreck healthy communication in the relationship which can weaken the bond of love in the relationship or the marriage.
Therefore, learn to listen to your lover or spouse. Give the person some credit and remind yourself often that they have ideas that can help you to solve some of your problems and that can help you to improve your personality.
Stop what you are doing and listen when your partner complains about your bad habits or things you are doing to make him or her unhappy in the relationship. Pay full attention to their criticisms. Then, give those complaints some thought. You will learn lessons from your mistakes and you will become a better person when you correct your mistakes.
Learn to Admit Your Mistakes
Accept the fact that you are a fallible human being who makes mistakes. So, when your lover or spouse points them out to you, take a deep breathe and refuse to give an immediate rebuttal. Walk away and ruminate on what your partner told you. Think through it overnight. You will see that you did something.
Then, think about all the good things your partner has done for you in the past so that you will have goodwill towards him or her. It will make it easier to say “I am sorry.”
Then ruminate for some time and think in a manner such as, “What do I lose when I apologize to my partner? It will not cost me $1. I will not fall sick if I do it. I will not lose my educational certificates.” Then think about it some more and you will see that you will not lose anything by apologizing.
When you feel that you are in complete control of your emotions, go to your partner and from the bottom of your heart say, “Isaac, I have been thinking about what I did. I see I erred. I admit I made a mistake. Please forgive me.”
Learn to Negotiate
One way some lovers show pride is to refuse to negotiate, especially when there are misunderstandings, arguments, and fights. They hate making concessions so that there will be peace and harmony in the relationship.
Be willing to work to resolve relationship difficulties. You must be willing to bruise your ego so that you can make peace with your lover or spouse. So, choose to agree to compromise and accommodate your partner. Choose to give up some of your rights so that you can reach a common ground with your partner to make peace, when there are quarrels. Think to yourself that it is for the good of the relationship and that you are prepared to give away some rights so that your partner will feel happy.
Treat Your Partner With Respect
Decide to respect your partner and learn how to respect him or her. Think often about the fact that you agreed to marry him or her because you loved them. Then say to yourself, “I have to see my partner as my co-equal because he chose to love me. I would also be showing love to him if I respect him as my partner or spouse.”
Respect in a Relationship
Do you feel you respect your partner enough?
Think About What You Will Gain When You Humble Yourself
Consider often what you stand to gain when you deflate your ego and choose to suppress your pride—respect and admiration from your lover or spouse. Let that motivate you to let go of some of your rights. Think to yourself, “If I give Isaac some more of my time what will happen? We can talk some more, our relationship will become stronger, there will be peace in the house, I will be more productive at work, I can do a better job in the office, and I could get a pay rise.” When you see the ways in which you will benefit when you swallow your pride, it will motivate you to make the sacrifice you need to make.
Deal With Selfishness
Pride in a relationship also shows itself in selfishness. You may think of yourself so much and neglect to give your partner the attention he or she desires.
So, you must make a resolve to become more selfless. Then, remain firm in your resolve to work on this weakness. Then show acts of selflessness regularly so that it will become a habit.
Here are some ways in which you can learn to become more selfless:
- Ask your partner how his day went when you come home from work. Set the alert on your cellphone to remind you to ask about his day.
- Send him or her a text message to show you care.
- Buy gifts for your lover often.
- Accept that discomfort is part of this life and make sacrifices of your personal comfort so that you can make your partner happy.
- Try to love your partner as much as you love yourself. Consciously try to think about him or her when you realize that you are thinking of yourself too much. Remember one interesting thing they said to you and let that trigger a chain of good thoughts about them.
- Give yourself to your partner. Learn to make time for your lover or spouse. Sacrifice. In addition, open your heart and share your feelings, fears, and worries with your partner.
Remind Yourself Often That Your Lover or Spouse is Your Friend
Remind yourself often that your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse is your friend, and not your enemy. When you feel like snubbing him or her as a result of a disagreement, think to yourself, “A friend does not look down on his friend. Isaac is my friend and he deserves something better from me. No, I must at least give him respect and say something polite.”
Learn How to Say "Please," "Sorry," and "Thank You" Often
It may be hard for you at first, but when you take the first step, then another, then another, it will become easier for you. Think about the future of the relationship and let that motivate you to learn how to say these words. Once you start saying them, it will become a habit with time and you will find it easy to say them.
- So, start saying these words when you are doing routine things at home such as having breakfast. When you need something from your husband or wife, say, “Please, Isaac, can you pass the bowl of fruits to me?”
- When your boyfriend buys you a gift say “Thank you” even if you are not happy with what he bought for you. Find an appropriate time later to complain.
- If you find it hard to say it to your lover directly, start by saying it to people in your office, people you meet at the shopping mall, people in your community and so on. Practicing with other people will make it easier to say it to your lover subsequently—you will get into the spirit of saying these words and with time you will say it to your partner without feeling that you have lost dignity.
As you continue doing it, it will become your second nature and you will say these words even before thinking.
Learn Lessons from Humbling Experiences in the Past
Remind yourself of experiences that have humbled you in the past. Write these incidents down and read them every evening before you go to bed. Remind yourself of the lessons you learned from those experiences and let them help you to change your behavior so that you will not suffer those kinds of humiliation again.
See Deference to Your Partner's Wishes as Gain and Not Loss
Remind yourself often of the times when your partner’s good judgment led to profitable outcomes or positive results. Let it motivate you to choose to implement some of the advice of your partner instead of implementing your own ideas, from time to time. It will help you to appreciate the valuable contribution of your partner to the relationship and it will make you give greater respect to your lover or spouse.
Read Nebuchadnezzar's Story Often
Read what happened to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 of the Bible and let it warn you that there are consequences for showing arrogance towards others. This activity will help you to make efforts to control your ego and to manage your behavior so that you will not incur the wrath of God.
God can help you to humble yourself, if you are willing to co-operate with Him to bring that change into your life. He is the God who humbled Nebuchadnezzar when he was behaving arrogantly, turned him into an animal and made him eat grass.
Before you pray, read 1 Peter 4v6 where God commands us to humble ourselves before Him. Then pray a prayer such as, “Dear God, my partner feels I am a proud person. Others have also supported his view. It is affecting our relationship and I want to learn to be more humble. I want You to help me suppress my pride. Please help me control my pride so that I can have a great relationship with my partner. Amen.”
Swallowing your pride for love can be tough but you can do it if you are determined to. If you want to be able to swallow your pride in a relationship, come up with a plan to deal with your attitude, remind yourself of incidents that have humbled you in the past, recognize your partner’s contribution to the relationship and think about death often. It will ultimately help you to improve the relationship.
How to Swallow Your Pride in a Relationship
Do you think you are proud?
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio