I want to start this article with an earnest prayer for you, whomever you are. That being that if you’re with someone you love whom you believe loves you, that relationship never ends. The truth is though that almost all relationships face that test at one point or another. Often more than once. Relationships don’t stay together automatically. But I think many relationships end that shouldn’t have.
I was married 16 years only to have it end in divorce. Most religious people would certainly disagree with me here, but I do feel like my marriage ended for a reason, and that it was in God’s plan. But even so, divorce is a terrible thing, emotionally. It is the ultimate failure. It is a death of sorts. And it comes with all of the emotions you deal with when someone close to you dies.
I’m completely healed of the scars today. But the one thing that hurt more than anything and took the longest to get over, was the fact that she never fought for it. Never fought for the marriage, for me, for our family. Just never really put up a fight. That’s a bad feeling after you’ve dedicated your whole life to someone. To feel that in the end it wasn’t worth the effort on their part to save or fight for it.
I think many relationships end that could have been saved, and they do so because of one thing; pride. Pride, when we’re hurting or angry, overpowers everything. It swells inside you until it becomes this emotional force field bent on protecting you against any more hurt. And doing so, unfortunately, at all costs. Often we’ll let someone walk away simply because we have too much pride to ask them to stay.
But as I’ve gotten older I’ve really become determined to love on an entirely new level of awareness. I think about things like this often. The typical stuff we all deal with. Disagreements, taking each other for granted, the slow, gradual, barely noticeable drift-away that often happens as new couples get “comfortable” and stop making the same effort they used to make for each other in the beginning.
Now, at the age of 50 God has placed in my life the person I believe He wanted for me all along. And I pray daily that God would help me to love her more like He loves me. Purely and unconditionally. I work hard to love without reservation or condition. To make my every action be one born out of desire to love and not desire for a certain result. It’s not an easy thing to do, honestly. It’s a constant fight against my own flesh and pride.
But one of the most profound things ever said to me about love and relationships is this: “Pride has no place in love”. It’s something I never forgot, and something always on my mind and heart in my relationship today. I never want my own pride to overshadow my love for my lady. So without reservation I lay myself bare to her emotionally.
I tell her what she means to me. How much I love her. How grateful and thankful I am that she’s in my life. I do this regularly, and often against the will of little voices that would rather I didn’t. “You’re making yourself too vulnerable”, they say. “You’re giving her too much power”, they whisper. “You’re saying it too much”.
I fight through thoughts like that because I’ve reached an age and level of maturity where I understand their source. I also understand that if your love is for real and you feel like the person you’re with genuinely loves you too, it is worth fighting for.
Everyone in a committed, loving relationship needs to feel important enough and loved enough that their mate would be afraid to lose them. I don’t mean that in an insecure way. I mean, if I in a moment of anger or pain suddenly swell with pride and decide to leave, I’d want her to love me enough to try to stop me.
More importantly though, I want to keep growing in my own maturity and understanding of love so that I would never, in that same moment of anger or pain, allow her to walk away. I want to be ready and able to grab her hand and ask her not to go. I want to love her enough to call back if she hangs up. Or drive to her place if she won’t answer. I want to, in that moment, be strong enough to conquer my own pride.
If it’s me that is acting out of pain or anger and expressing a desire to leave, I would want her love to be stronger than her pride also. I would want her to see past the surface to my heart. I’d want her to know I love her and that, in this moment, I’m just angry or hurt and taking actions out of pride.
So I fight for my relationship most effectively by fighting against my own pride. Many people do the opposite, fighting instead for their pride to the detriment of their relationship. I’ve made myself a promise that if my lady ever, in a fit of anger or having been overcome by hurt or pain I caused began to express a desire to leave me, I would lay myself bare and fight for her to stay. And I believe she would do the same. But pride would never allow such a pitiful display of desperation. And that’s why it has no place in love.