Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
— Philippians 3:3–7
Humility is the secret sauce for great relationships. The apostle Paul commands us in his letter to the church at Philippi to take on the humility that we see exhibited so well in the life of Christ.
When it comes to seeing conflict resolved in our marriages, I can’t think of anything that will make more of a difference than this one little admonition:
… but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
— Philippians 3:3
We are commanded to count others as more significant than ourselves. If you think about this verse, it really helps to simplify things. If you could, imagine the most important person you know of coming to your house for a visit. It could be a celebrity, a great athlete, a President, or just someone else that you are convinced is a person of great esteem. When that person showed up, how would you treat him or her? My guess is that you would do a lot of deferring. You would give up your favorite seat. You would allow them to get their food first. You would get up and get them a drink if they needed it. And if there was a disagreement, you would probably just let it slide. All of this would occur because you view them as more significant than yourself.
This one simple commandment would resolve 94.6% of all conflict in marriage. (OK, I made that number up, but 82% of all statistics are made up anyway.) But seriously, what if in our marriages we started viewing the other person as more significant than ourselves and looking out for their interests? It would be great and would honor Jesus if more of our disagreements were about wanting the other person to get their way. Not only would it honor Jesus, though — our marriages would be better, and we would be happier. And that, as Michael Scott from The Office (a show that I do not endorse) would say, is a “win-win-win”.
So let’s follow the example of our Savior and exercise some humility in all our relationships, but especially in our marriages!