Dealing with Comparison in Marriage: 6 Different Ways
Spouses are obligated to love, respect, and appreciate one another in a married partnership. However, even in the healthiest of relationships, comparison may sneak in, leading to the destructive sins of envy and jealousy. Whenever one partner is more successful than their partner in any aspect of life, Satan might whisper falsehoods into the other partner’s ear, causing them to diminish or tear down the other partner’s successes instead of celebrating them.
Partner interactions should be constructive rather than destructive.
Arguments between partners in a marriage are never acceptable. The two of them need to celebrate each other’s successes and console one another in times of distress. However, in today’s competitive society, it’s easy for a spouse to start comparing their own relationship to others’, whether at work or elsewhere in the globe. If everything checks out, couples will be able to evaluate one another. But it’s not healthy for a marriage to compare itself to another. What measures can we take to counteract this?
Six strategies to assist your partner in overcoming the effects of comparison:
1. Look to the Bible
The Bible is rich with illustrations of comparison. Several famous pairs of brothers and sisters are examples of this: Cain and Abel, Rachel and Leah, Peter and John. Putting yourself against others seldom yields positive results. Pride, the false belief that one is superior than another, lies at the root of all comparisons. Try looking up the topic of comparison in the Bible to see what insights you may glean. Put a few of them on an index card and read them over. Distribute them about your house in easy-to-see locations. Keep them by your side as a constant reminder that God is the only one whose judgment of you really counts.
2. Have a good time with your friends and family
Each partner in a marriage should share in the success of their partner. The Bible tells us to “rejoice!” I’ll tell it again: “Rejoice!” Reasons for happiness, rather than bitterness or jealousy, should always be readily available to us. Never forget that your success depends on theirs. People get married so they can do life together, just as we can’t accomplish anything worthwhile without God. The goal of a marriage is not for each partner to become completely self-sufficient, but rather for them to become more dependant upon one another. Your partner deserves your undivided happiness whenever they achieve a goal. Your partner will feel more loved and supported and the closeness between the two of you will deepen.
3. Have a Wild Party
In our haste to console one another when things are going poorly, we often fail to take the time to rejoice together when things are going well. It’s not easy to go through life. Let’s have a proper party when we have cause to rejoice! Get some takeout, shop for a unique present, or book a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for yourself. Despite the difficulties we may face, we must always remember to rejoice in each new day. Find something you’d like doing to mark the occasion, then do it.
4. Reveal Private Information
Couples who spend time together often, opening up about their innermost thoughts and experiences, are less prone to succumb to comparison when it occurs. This is because the intensity of your feelings for them grows and their connection to you becomes stronger. When two individuals have a strong emotional bond, they stop becoming envious of one another’s successes.
Set out an hour each week to have a heart-to-heart talk about anything and everything. There is no set theme for this conversation; it may be about anything from each person’s ambitions and dreams to their shared future vision to general satisfaction with life. Maintain an attitude of active listening by paying attention and asking pertinent follow-up questions. Both partners will feel loved and supported as a result of the time spent together. When a couple’s basic needs for affection and safety are addressed, comparisons between themselves fade away.
5. Believe in Christ as the center of your being.
When a person’s sense of self-worth comes from things other than Christ, comparison inevitably arises. It is accepted that in order to accomplish the American Dream, one must work long hours and, at times, forego time with one’s loved ones. When one partner in a couple bases their sense of self-worth on external factors, such as how much money they make or how much their other cares about them. When a couple’s relationship isn’t going as smoothly as desired, it’s common for one partner to start comparing themselves to the other and to other couples.
However, God wants us to establish our worth by virtue of being His children. “Behold, what kind of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we might be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1) “That’s exactly what we are!” When we go about our days certain that God will take care of us, and that this is something He delights in, not because of anything we’ve done or haven’t done, but simply because He is our loving Father. Now, our value is not tied to our output. We won’t have to put on a show for our partners to adore us, and we won’t have to slog away at the office for hours on end just to go ahead. Because He is a good Father, God will give us all we need and more if we ask. According to the parable told by Jesus in Luke 8: “”Which of you, if your kid begs for food, would give him a stone?” Will you offer him a snake if he begs for a fish? If you, a bad man, can offer excellent presents to your children, imagine how generously our heavenly Father would shower his children with wonderful things when they ask!
There is nothing God would withhold from His children who desperately need it. He finds tremendous pleasure in being able to bless His children. Our lives should have meaning, but we shouldn’t strain ourselves unnecessarily to function without God.
6. Don’t get crazy with social media
It’s true that social media has many positive effects, but it also has the potential to amplify our desire for comparison as we browse through our feeds daily to see the highlight reel of others’ lives. It’s easy to compare our own lives to those of others based on the content others choose to share online. The online existence of an individual is just a small part of their whole story. A buddy could share news of a recent promotion or a snapshot of their significant other, but they would never share details about a dispute they had with another friend just minutes before. Keep in touch with loved ones and friends by using social media, but don’t get too wrapped up in it. Try to take a break from all forms of social media. As a result, we internalize the message that we are insufficient since we do not possess the same material advantages as other people.
Each partner brings their own history and experiences into each marriage. Some examples of such “baggage” include inherited sin tendencies, negative self-images, or childhood trauma. Isolation between partners raises the risk of comparison if marital problems aren’t addressed head-on. If you need assistance working through these challenges, consider seeing a professional or reading a book on emotional health and setting healthy boundaries. The two of you, as a couple, will benefit much.
Marriages will be the strongest when Christ is at the heart, despite the fact that comparison might attempt to pull apart even the strongest of relationships. Seek out the excellent in your partner and you’ll have a more optimistic view of the world (and your partner).