Words of Hope: Where There is Strife There is Pride

One meditation I have been speaking in my mind and heart is from Proverbs 13:10, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Strife means to contend for superiority, quarrel, fight, and be contentious. I admire how my husband Shann remains calm under conflict. It’s extremely hard to do. Gottman research out of the University of Washington found those who are experts at relationships have learned how to disagree with another person and yet still be deeply loving during the conflict. The secret? They don’t enter strife, but they maintain high-level positive interactions, especially in conflict. That means when I disagree with Shann about the parenting of a child, I am in strife if I start to blame, criticize, and judge him. I am maintaining love in our disagreement as I express my point of view with kindness, listening to him, appreciating what he has to say.  

When I am not in conflict this seems so logical and reasonable. In the trenches of real relationships, I sometimes want to win my argument more than I want to be loving. Strife is happening all around the world. It’s wrapped up in pride, ego, and the unwillingness to listen. How convenient for us to live in disunity because we see the other person as “evil” or sinful, wrong, problematic, pigheaded, blind, etc.  

The best way to begin to heal is learning to take advice. Dad was a master at this. I think it was one of the crowning qualities that made him such a great father. He was constantly checking in with me asking how he could improve our relationship. He was willing to suspend ego and entanglement with conflict by maintaining gratitude and love for me and remained willing to take advice. 

Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]. – James 1:19