November 18, 2008 Peter

(Pt6) Love as a Way of Life “Humility”

We are on part six of the series, “Love as a Way of Life” from the book by Gary Chapman. So far we have gone over: Love as a way of life, Kindness, Patience, Forgiveness, and Courtesy

Humility is probably one of the truly misunderstood concepts in relationships next to true love. Far too often humility has been as an excuse for self deprecation and passivity. As you may know, I often buy movies more for their commentaries than the movie itself. During one of the interview’s with a survivor from  Schindler’s List he surprised me by stating that endured the abuse from the Nazi’s to show patience and quiet humility. Let me say this very quickly. The lack of action from the Jews during this time does not shift responsibility. However, I think that we can all agree that the meaning of humility, although is a characteristic that we should all engender, has been more times than not misunderstood and abused.

Humility:

Stepping down so someone else can step up

If you want to show true love to someone, sacrifice something of value for the sake of the relationship

Accepting the help of others

Not thinking of yourself better than others

Shows strength, not weakness.

Doesn’t waste energy in pride, resentment, or anger.

Recognizes that the needs of others are just as important as our own needs

No one is better than you, no one is worse than you

It is far easier to blame others rather than take responsibility for our own lives. We devalue those who threaten our self worth, intimidate and punish those who hurt us.

Here is a paraphrased thread I came across in a marriage forum from the perspective of the wife.  The husband criticizes his wife’s personal and professional accomplishments.  He feels inadequate and a failure as a husband, father, and lover because he is not able to work and support the financial stability of the family. He stays up late and sleeps in without taking time out of the day to clean up at the home. As a result, the wife feels under appreciated because she has worked so hard to exceed her personal and professional goals. She comes home and feels overburdened from the self imposed and implied domestic expectations. Both in turn have punished one another through emotional distance.

Marriage is a commitment that you have made between God, your family, and, your spouse. This commitment states that you will take responsibility upon yourself to nurture the relationship even when the other spouse is lacking. If the husband is being emotionally distance then the wife needs to put the relationship first and step down to where he is to help lift him up. This is the same for the husband. The husband must step down from what he deems important to put priority to the protection of the relationship so he may lift her up.

The wife from the example above obviously wants to balance her domestic and professional expectations. On one hand she has a husband who is out of work and upset that his wife has now taken the role of provider. As a result of having a hard time dealing with this he has emotionally distanced himself either because of shame, a loss of personal value, or a little of both. On the other hand, the wife is upset that the husband won’t take the initiative to contribute by cleaning up a little while at home. As a result, she feels like she is being taken advantage of as well as punished for her hard work.

Since the relationship includes two people it must also include a two part solution. The husband is going to combat his feelings of inferiority through activity such as cleaning the house and leaving the house to apply for a few jobs a day. He should come up with a daily schedule of what needs to be fixed in and around the home that he was going to have to do anyway. He will start to feel more productive when the wife notices the upkeep in the home and the calls for interviews are being scheduled throughout the day. When she comes home he will have to communicate with her about his feelings and communicate with her about her day. This can be easily accomplished by fixing dinner together.

The wife will have to physically, mentally, and verbally support her husband to insure that he does not question her loyalty. She will have to remind him that there are a number of the things that wouldn’t have gotten accomplished around the house even if she did stay home.

Humility is about identifing needs in others and helping them get better even if that means temporarilly sacrificing our own interests. Any personal experience you would like to comment on?

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