Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him
Most of the time in the Book of Proverbs the sayings appear random. Often verse one will have little to do with verse two, with verse two introducing an entirely different topic. Other times themes are developed over several verses or a whole chapter will be dedicated to one subject. In Chapter 26 the first 10 of 11 verses discuss the nature of a fool: you can’t trust a fool, neither what he says nor what he does. Chaos follows him and whether you hire him or just talk to him, his negativity and pride leave a whirlwind of pain. The person’s life he ruins the most is his own.
And then this verse appears. You want to know what’s worse? A man wise in his own eyes. Or a woman, no doubt. Now let’s have them be married. Two people who are prideful and arrogant, who think they know it all, married to each other. This is a recipe for disaster.
I fear this happens more than is necessary. In my view the whole idea of marriage is two heads are better than one. No one knows everything. You don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. We need to compare notes. You see things I don’t see. I see things you don’t see. I’m every bit as smart as you. If I wasn’t you wouldn’t have given me the time of day. I felt the same about you. We got married to work together for the common good. If we disagree, there is a reason. We’d better figure it out.
But what can happen instead? If you disagree with me, then I’m offended. You must think I’m dumb. Or you are judging me. Or disparaging me. Or mocking me. So I judge, disparage and mock back and off we go to the races, trying to see who can hurt whom the fastest. Or one or both of us shut down out of spite. If you aren’t going to listen to me, I just won’t talk to you. Now we can both feel abandoned and not feel the other loves us at all. Why even talk? All we do is fight. After awhile the thought occurs: why even stay married? We can’t get along. You won’t listen to me. Then we divorce each other, marry someone else, vowing that we’re not gonna take that crap any more, and now we’re even more stubborn and demand our rights even more because we didn’t get any in our first marriage and on and on we go.
This feeling of not being heard, more than likely goes both ways. Listening is hard to do sometimes, because it means a person has to swallow a little pride. Most marriages could use a dose of humility. Perhaps, if we each could humble ourselves a scooch we’d see our spouse has a good point. Maybe, even, it’s not a question of only one of us being right. Maybe we’re both bringing some wisdom to the table: should we buy diapers or pay the life insurance? This isn’t necessarily an either/or. I would guess, more often than not, they both have good point. For many marriages, this is the untapped gold mine they are sitting on: arguing when they could be prospering…if they’d only listen. Your spouse isn’t dumb.
I shared this concept with a young couple and the next session the husband told me that he and his wife started to get into an argument that week at home. All of a sudden his wife said, “Remember, Honey, Bing said I’m not dumb.” They both laughed. The tension eased. They actually listened to each other. They worked it out.
A little humor. A little twinkle in your eye. A little humility. An open mind. A warm heart. Listening ears. A winning combination.