When we compare ourselves to others, we always lose. We are never pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, successful enough, popular enough, recognized enough. The comparison game brings anxiety to our mind and hurt to our heart.
There is a comparison game that many people play in their marriage as well. Their intentions may start out good, but in the end it is always a loss. When we play the comparison game in our marriage….everyone loses.
This isn’t a conversation we have out loud all too often, but it is a conversation goes something like this:
- I wish my husband was as romantic as her husband
- I wish my wife complimented me like she compliments her husband
- I wish my husband spent as much time with our kids as her husband does
- I wish my wife worked out and took care of herself like his wife does
- I wish my husband was as good of a listener as her husband
- I wish my wife could cook like she cooks
- I wish my husband was handy and could fix things like he can
This is the first stage of comparison. But if left alone and unidentified, these feelings can quickly move to the next stage.
- I wish my wife respected me like my secretary does
- I wish my husband complimented me like my co-worker does
- I wish my wife was as in shape as the lady in my spin class
- I wish my husband was as good of a listener as my boss
The moment we start comparing what our spouse isn’t to what someone else is, we open the door for disconnection and fractured intimacy. Even if our comparison isn’t followed by romantic feelings, there is an aspect of our heart that is withheld from our spouse.
The reality is when we wish our spouse was more like anyone other than Christ, we place an expectation on them to be something that they were never designed to be.
One of the practical things that Trish and I have done to protect our hearts against comparison is to tell each other what we love about the other. Rather than to compare what we aren’t we compliment what we are. It has drastically changed our relationship. Instead of resenting what we don’t bring to our relationship we celebrate all that we do bring to our relationship.
Maybe you find yourself in that place today.
If your wife could just be more like ____________________.
If your husband could just be more like ________________________.
Living in that thought will erode your marriage and allow resentment to rule your heart. Comparing will never bring life. You will live envious of someone else’s spouse and prideful of all that you are and all that your spouse isn’t.
What do you love about your spouse? Text them…write it on the bathroom mirror…email it to them…call them. See if that doesn’t change your whole weekend.