Humility is just absolutely essential for good healthy relationships. It brings us closer, connects us on a deep emotional level, and transcends our relationships to new heights. It doesn’t cost a thing, but requires growth and maturity to carry out. And man, if you can master it, it’s actually kinda sexy!
Imagine these two responses to this scenario:
A husband says to his wife, “It didn’t feel good earlier when you snapped at me in front of the kids.”
- Response A) Wife replies, “I did not!” or “Well you deserved it because you said you didn’t like what I made for dinner.”
- Response B) Wife replies, “I know. I’m sorry, honey. I got frustrated and I should have responded better.”
Response A is a prideful response, Response B is a humble response. Wouldn’t we all like to have the humble response be the first thing that comes out of our mouths? It’s a difficult thing to change when your first instinct is to snap back at someone!
Here’s the thing:
You can keep responding in a prideful way that comes more naturally, but it comes at a price. People will want to pull away from you. Learning to respond in a more humble way will actually draw people towards you and create a ripe environment for intimacy. You will appear safer, more open, and people will respect you more. Think about it, which person do you feel more like spending time with: a person who is angry, sharp, or cutting? Or a person who is relaxed and open to dialogue? . Pridefulness usually makes people want to pull away, humbleness makes people want to draw towards you. That’s why I call it sexy, because when your spouse sees it, it makes them want to come nearer to you and that’s what we all want, isn’t it?
Approaching ANY situation with an “I could be wrong, you could be right . . . let’s talk about it” attitude is going to be MUCH more productive than the prideful “I’m right, you’re wrong” perspective. And which kind of person do you want to approach? For that matter, which kind of person do you want to BE?
So if you recognize that you are a Response A person (prideful), how can you change to more humble responses? The first step is what you are doing right now – reading about it and becoming aware of your own behavior. In order to begin changing your behavior, you must first be aware of what you are doing and make a conscious decision to make a change. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be that person – the one who can’t hear that I’ve hurt someone. Once we become aware of our prideful reactions and make the decision to change, we begin the slow process of change. At first you won’t necessarily be able to catch yourself before you react. When it comes to your attention (by your own awareness or when someone brings it to your attention), it is not too late! Show humility as soon as you possibly can, practice owning your not-so-stellar behavior and apologize for it. “Oh my gosh. You’re right, I was reactive and I’m sorry I spoke to you that way.” After you do this enough times, you’ll begin to catch yourself as it is happening and eventually, you will be able to respond humbly in the moment.
A word of caution:
I do want to encourage you to be sincere in owning your behavior and apologizing. Doing so with a mocking, sarcastic, or monotone will not help you to connect with your spouse or change your behavior. If you’re not ready to be humble, then you can even say that to your spouse. The true change happens in your heart. When you fully understand that being humble is not a sign of weakness, but actually a sign of strength, you’ll see people responding differently towards you and you’ll begin to see how sexy humility can be!!