Love is Not Proud

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 delineates several critical attributes that reveal the force and nature of love. Among these is the sentiment that love is not proud. What does scripture mean by this statement? What is the practical application of this principle with respect to the love between a husband and a wife?

The expression “love is not proud” is similar in meaning to the preceding statement in the same verse, “love does not boast.” [See previous article.] There is a significant difference, however. Pride is the state or feeling itself whereas boasting is the expression of that feeling. Pride is the mindset and attitude while boasting is the speech and conduct.

The King James Version of the Bible renders the expression: love “is not puffed up”. This is true to the Greek word which literally means to inflate, blow up, or cause to swell up. Figuratively, this term describes bearing one’s self up loftily or haughtily with pride. Synonymous terms for this state of being include arrogance, conceit, and vanity. All of these express the idea of an inflated and inordinate opinion of one’s own importance and superiority.

The opposite of pride is humility. The proud person credits himself for his attainments and advantages. The humble person feels he does not deserve what he has received and counts them as blessings. The proud person feels superior to others. The humble person considers the position and welfare of others of equal importance to his own – if not greater in importance to his own. Pride and vanity will swell the mind with the conviction of self-importance. But love is humble, meek, mild, and modest.

Regarding your marriage and relationship with your spouse, there are insightful lessons inherent in the principle that love is not proud.

For your marriage to be successful, you must realize that a prideful mindset is just as corrosive to your relationship with your partner as the actions of contemptuous treatment. Both the feeling and the expression of pride are contrary to true love. In other words, you may not technically say or do anything wrong – but if your conduct merely conceals a secret prideful attitude and spirit then your relationship will never flourish.

The more you genuinely love your spouse the further you will be removed from the feelings of pride and vanity that will inevitably threaten the relationship. Despite your best efforts to hide it, pride will eventually show through and reveal your true nature. But, love destroys both the expression and feeling of pride. In its place grows a beautiful spirit of humility that desires to encourage, serve, and fulfill the needs of your mate.

On the concept of pride, one final word is in order. Often in contemporary English the word “pride” is used in a positive sense that is completely different in meaning to its biblical usage as described above. One may be “proud” of being a Christian, of their nation, of their child, and so forth. Generally what is meant by this expression is the experience of feeling honored, blessed, or pleased. This is sometimes called a “humble pride” or a “godly pride”. In this context, it is fitting and appropriate to be proud of your spouse and of your marriage!

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