When I was growing up, my mother distinctly taught me that when dating, you should never make comparison statements to your man about other men and how great they are – including even your father. Comparisons are interesting… I’ve thought for a long time that they only serve to bring about two things: pride or dissatisfaction, and never EVER contentment, happiness, or joy. You cannot be content or joyful when you are looking over at someone else’s possessions/house/wife/kids, and are coveting them.
When I was working, I’d listen to radio talk shows in the mornings while on my drive to work – I learned some incredible lessons from greats like Chuck Swindoll (Pastor and founder of Insight for Living) & Chip Ingram (Pastor and founder of Living on the Edge) – both great men that gave such amazing advice and knowledge to me daily that I came to view them as friendly guides in my life. I’ll never forget a series Chip did on how Comparisons lead to sin. [You can read a great short post he did on it at his website here.] It was expounding on the same point that whether you compare up or down, it only leads to something negative and unhelpful in the long run.
The effect on a husband when he’s compared to someone else’s is not pretty, how is he supposed to take that she wishes he’d be like someone else? For women who do this, think about if the situation was turned around and he was suddenly comparing you to someone else’s wife and the way she takes care of her husband, or the way she cleans her house, or another couple’s sex life (oooOOOoooo). If a wife insists on reminding him that he’s failing her in being like someone else, he might try harder for awhile, but will eventually give up depressed and angry at the injustice of being compared.
It only creates distrust, discontentment, and resentment, in the marriage and in life in general. The secret to being content is a topic for another post, but I can tell you now that the first thing it begins with is getting rid of all comparisons.
Another detrimental comparison is when we look at other couples and covet their standard of living – the house they have, the cars, or how they can afford to have their kids in every sport imaginable under the sun, or in private school. This is definitely a marriage stressor – especially again, for the husband who feels the societal pressure of providing the family’s standard of living.
I know it seems to go against the norm of our society, but living simplistically and frugally produces so much contentment! This I can say with undoubted assurance from my personal experience! Stressing your marriage out with unnecessary loans and a huge looming mortgage, all the while coveting more and more the standard of living of those around you is a recipe for discontentment.
Here are some helpful tips in reminding us to avoid these pitfalls:
- Get rid of all comparisons of others you make during the course of your day, be mindful of when you are making those judgments and keep track of what circumstances bring those feelings & thoughts up
- Don’t compare yourself to others either! Be the best you can personally be, but avoid comparing your body, personality, or life to others around you… like I stated earlier it either makes you feel prideful (to compare down) or less self-assured (to compare up) – either of which are bad roads to take
- Work on being accepting and finding peace and contentment in your life – no one’s life is perfect, no matter how much it may appear that way on the outside. Everyone has bad days, bad feelings at times, or gets sick (had to add that, I’m sick with a cold right now!).
- Accept your life and embrace what God’s given you – embrace your husband in all his human qualities, if he is willing and able to provide for your family, embrace his ability to provide for you and your family at whatever level that is
- Practice gratitude for everything you are given. If you are feeling discontent with your life, you need to focus on the gifts God’s surrounded you with. Make a thankfulness journal and write 10 things in it each day that you are grateful for! You’ll be amazed at the change in your attitude in just one month. Try it for a year and you will never quite be same person you were!
Embrace your life, your marriage, your spouse! And if you have good health, food in your pantry, and are blessed with friends or family you have it all my friend!