Changing the Default Position

Changing the Default Position 

In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I were both operating in pride. If anyone would have suggested “pride” as an underlying root issue, we would’ve quickly defended our actions and pointed the finger at the other partner as the source of the problem.

Pride will be the natural default position unless a couple learns to recognize it and battle it.

By “pride” I mean a self-centered focus that views all of life through the grid of how this affects ME.

If I place unreasonable expectations on my husband, and then plunge into a pit of depression or a fit of anger when he doesn’t come close to those dreams, I’m operating in pride and my reaction reveals a heart that thinks: “I deserve bigger, better, more!”

Pride is like an oozing canker-sore in a marriage relationship; it’s always festering, and when it’s bumped, it spews its poison and pulsates with pain. 

A woman whose pride is wounded can be dangerous. She lashes out in self-defense, determined to take her offender down. Her husband forgets her birthday . . . fails to notice her new hair style . . . is glued to the television while she aches for conversation . . . her pride will not put up with this kind of treatment. She deserves better; she pulsates with pain and she’ll make him pay!

Pride perverts the beautiful strengths of fierceness into a harsh, self-centered and demanding ugliness. 

Do you recognize anything familiar in the list below?

Patterns of Pride:

  • My desire to be loved consumes my thoughts and drives my emotions.
  • Convinced if he really cared, I wouldn’t have to tell him what I want—he’d instinctively know!
  • Feeling justified in handing out emotional punishment when he’s hurt me.
  • Viewing my husband through the eyes of an “inspector” rather than the gracious eyes of a lover.
  • “I’m to be prized, adored, and served.” (This attitude may never be voiced, but these expectations lie beneath expressions of anger when these desires go unmet.)

Pride is our natural default position because it’s our natural bent. In our natural state, we are all hopelessly pride-filled. The only hope to break out of the natural default position of pride is to recognize our great need for God to change us. To go beyond the natural.

Our great hope is to learn the way of Christ through entering His door of grace. A marriage relationship that is covered in His grace is one whose default position is humility. More on that tomorrow!

Excerpt from Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior © 2012• Kimberly Wagner • Moody Publishers

Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/


  • Jennifer

    WOW! I can see myself in each of these comments! Can’t wait for the blog post tomorrow! Thanks for sharing this, I need this!

  • Sheila

    Ugh… I NEEDED this so much over too many days that now lie in the debris as I look in the rear-view mirror… Will I EVER learn?

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Jennifer ~

    Hope you found it helpful. Don’t be discouraged by seeing aspects of pride, we all struggle with pride. But I encourage you to confess specific forms of pride and ask God for grace to respond in humility. The first step of humility is confession. Check out James 4:6 and see the promise God includes there : )

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Sheila ~

    Yep, I ask that question some days! Let me encourage you to not allow the enemy to beat you up with your failures, but grab onto grace. I encourage you to confess specific forms of pride and ask God for grace to respond in humility. The first step of humility is confession. Check out James 4:6 and see the promise God includes there. And check back for more on that tomorrow 🙂

  • Jennifer


    Thanks so much for your encouragement! I looked up James 4:6 as you suggested in 4 different translations, I love the AMP translation of this scripture so I thought I would post it!

    But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all other fully) That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but give grace (continually) to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it) [Proverbs 3:34]