I had a bride and groom meet me before their wedding as I like to get to know couples before I officiate their Jewish wedding ceremony. The groom couldn’t stop bragging about his successful career, his ability as the chef of the family, his incredible computer skills…. and when it came time for his soon to be wife to speak about herself, after 20 seconds of her talking, he cut her off and continued to speak about himself.
It got me thinking right away about humility.
We all have weaknesses and relationships always reveal these faults quicker than anything else on earth. An essential building block of a healthy marriage is the ability to admit that you are not perfect, that you will make mistakes, and that you will need forgiveness. Holding an attitude of superiority over your partner will bring about resentment and will prevent your relationship from moving forward.
If you struggle in this area, grab a pencil and quickly write down three things that your partner does better than you—that simple exercise should help you stay humble. Repeat as often as necessary.
To try to cultivate humility, you may want to try one or more of these activities as suggested by skillsyouneed.com : Spend time listening to others. A key quality of humbleness is to value others and enable them to be heard. Spending time listening to others, and drawing out their feelings and values, enabling them to express themselves, is a very powerful way to start to understand this. It is important to remember that you are not trying to solve their problems, or answer them: just listen and respond to them as a fellow-human.
Practice mindfulness, and focus on the present.
A key part of mindfulness is accepting what is, rather than judging and commenting on it. An important element of humility is accepting yourself with all your faults, rather than judging yourself for your shortcomings. That doesn’t mean you should not strive to improve, but positively, rather than berating yourself for your negative qualities.
When I discussed the above with the bride and groom, he seemed to have a mini beak through and shared that he speaks about himself incessantly because he never received any praise from his parents growing up. His soon to be wife, knowing this, now wants to make an effort to praise her husband to build his self esteem so he doesn’t have to be boastful. He also was able to praise her wonderful qualities. It really brought the two of them much closer together before their special wedding day.
That’s why I love what I do - for me, as a Cantor who performs Jewish wedding ceremonies, it’s so much more than officiating the ceremony - My role as a Cantor is also to strengthen the relationship of the couple and do what I can to help set their marriage up for success.