Getting the Puffiness Out of Your Marriage

June 22, 2012 at 9:58 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 13 Comments
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Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13:4 (emphasis added)

Vaunting myself is high-handed pride. The word “vaunting” is from the same origin as the word “vanity:” something which looks substantial, but is really lacking in substance. Vanity is emptiness masquerading as fullness. Vaunting is attempting to disguise this emptiness with loud boasting.

Being “puffed up” is filling myself with vanity, but it differs from “vaunting.” Vaunting involves trying to fool other people. When I am “puffed up” I am making no special attempt to fool anyone but myself. In other words, vaunting makes me feel good because it makes you think I’m something I’m not. Puffing up makes me feel good because it makes me think I’m something I’m not.

Here are some tests to see if you are vaunting yourself or puffing yourself up in your marriage:

Test One tests to see if you are vaunting yourself: Do you long for a lot of attention from your spouse?

It is not necessarily a bad thing to want attention from your spouse, but if these are some of your techniques for this attention-seeking, then you are guilty of vaunting yourself: You get attention from your spouse by being: (a) dramatic; (b) desperate; (c) demanding.

Test Two tests to see if you are puffed up: Are you envious or critical?

In the previous lessons I discussed envy. Envy secretly feels smug when your spouse is sad and it secretly sulks when your spouse is happy. A telling sign as to whether you are subconsciously falling into this pattern is that you are quick to put a damp cloth on your spouse’s success. I doubt that the children’s story of “The Three Little Pigs” was intended to have anything to do with Christian marriage, but I like to use the Big Bad Wolf to illustrate this point.

http://reinventingtheeventhorizon.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/big-bad-wolf-1011-big_bad_wolf_k949.gif

Remember, he both huffed and puffed. He huffed (vaunted himself) in order to scare the three little pigs. Then he puffed in order to reassure himself that he really was big and bad.

Test Three: Is it hard for you to admit you are wrong?

This question will tell you if you are thinking more highly of yourself than you ought.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Romans 12:3

Most people in my generation remember the television program “Happy Days.” One of the main characters, Fonzie, had a real problem with this. Occasionally (very occasionally) he would be forced to admit that he had made a mistake, and he would try to say, “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong.” Only, he would nearly turn apoplectic straining to get past the “s” in “sorry” or the “wr” in “wrong,” because it just isn’t cool to be wrong, and Fonzie was nothing if not cool (at least in the weltanschauung of “Happy Days”).

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Here are some indicators that you may be suffering from “Fonzieitis,” and that would cause you to have to answer “yes” to Test Three:

a. When you realize you might be wrong and your spouse might be right, you “blame-shift” onto your spouse, asserting or implying that if you are wrong, it is his or her fault that you are wrong.
b. When confronted with the possibility of being wrong you try to change the subject.
c. You “rationalize” (make an excuse about how you were really “mistaken” and not really “wrong”).

There is an antidote to this manifestation of self-vaunting and puffiness: humility. Humility is not a feeling of worthlessness, but it is a real recognition of our true status in comparison: (1) to God; and (2) to God’s other creatures, including your spouse.

And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

Genesis 18:27

I am not worthy on my own merit even to be able to communicate with God, and, just like everyone else He has made, I am nothing but animated dust. I should be quick to admit that I am wrong often and badly. This type of humility will help me to be able to pass Tests Four and Five.

Test Four: Do you feel entitled more than you feel grateful?

Test Five: Do you believe deep down that you are better than your spouse?

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 6:5

Humility is a right view of myself in relation to God and a right view of myself in relation to others. It causes me to admit that I am a sinner – even that I come from a sinful race. I am a recipient of God’s grace just like my spouse. I am not “entitled” to anything from God, and I am not better than anyone else, including my spouse.

Next time we will take the next five tests to determine if your marriage is too “puffy.”

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13 Comments »

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  1. […] Last time we looked at some tests to see if you are vaunting yourself or puffing yourself up in your marriage. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, […]

  2. Reblogged this on Lion 2 Lamb and commented:
    An awesome study to read, take in, and apply if you are Married or Engaged to be. Test your puffiness in your relationship today and get back on track with your marriage and relationship with God. From Swim the Deep End blog ministries i present;

  3. Thank you for reading and reblogging!

  4. […] always a bad thing. “Proud” is in there 47 times, “haughty” 10, and “puffed up” 6. Have you ever done a Biblical word study on how God feels about pride? It might knock the […]

  5. […] it permeates a whole loaf. It works in secret (although the results are ultimately exposed). It “puffs up,” which is a picture of pride. Christians today are not commanded to observe the Passover as a […]

  6. […] is another word for bragging. Could there be a simpler way to state it? Bragging is not good. Why not? Well, there are a variety […]

  7. […] God not hold guiltless those that take His name in vain? Why is this such a serious crime? Because vanity is emptiness masquerading as fullness, and God’s name has great weight. It is empty of neither holiness, nor authority. Taking […]

  8. […] Being Kind to Your Spouse 25. Jump-Starting Your Marriage 26. Performing a Biopsy on Your Marriage 27. Getting the Puffiness Out of Your Marriage 28. More Testing for Puffiness in Your Marriage 29. A C.A.L.M. and Courteous Marriage 30. A […]

  9. […] division in the church at Corinth, but Paul used himself and Apollos to set an example of humility. Just as the puffiness of pride will destroy a marriage, so it will also destroy a church family. Puffiness is emptiness masquerading as fullness, and it […]

  10. […] ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among […]

  11. […] works secretly. It spreads through the whole lump. It puffs up. When Knows get puffy (and true Christians DO struggle with pride), they sometimes have to be purged. This is different […]

  12. […] “knew” about avoiding idolatrous worship practices – but knowledge by itself tends to swell a person with pride. We expect humility to be the great deflater, but here the Bible teaches us […]

  13. […] grace, knowledge, and love. Christian love puts up with wrongdoing for a long time, and it is not puffy with pride. It is not rude or impolite or discourteous, and it is not overly touchy. It gives the […]


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