I Wish My Husband Was More Like Hers (& Other Comparisons)

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!

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Give to Others

I’m lucky to be part of an amazing Mentoring Moms program at our church where women in the congregation who have gotten past the stage of parenting that we are in, become a mentor who meets with us monthly to try to help us get through birth to 5 years.  Last night I came away with good solid guidance, and glimmering new perspective.

It really made me think about the women who do the mentoring.  Ours lives about 45 to 50 minutes away from the church!  She drives sometimes an hour just to meet with us women in her group!  And boy are we glad that we have her!

Our church is big on being generous – many members are financially very well off, and they use their wealth so astonishingly… I’ve personally seen how powerful money is when applied in the right way to people’s problems.  You need a new roof?  No problem.  Wells need to be built in Africa so that an area can have clean water?  No problem.  Our missionaries need more funding to meet their daily needs?  No problem.  The city needs a new startup organization to help homeless or sex-trafficking victims?  No problem.  Our city needs more financing in their non-profits?  No problem.  I’ve seen these things materialize because of the good heart of some ridiculously generous wealthy people.

It got me thinking about so many things….

  • Giving to others out of the blessings in your own life is so important.  It blesses you in stunning ways – the women who mentor us absolutely love giving us their time, energy, and great opinions/suggests/perspectives.  It affects us… we go in somewhat weary & tired, and come out inspired and encouraged – with a little high from seeing friends and laughing and talking about our lives together.
  • Living with a sense of generosity is just so powerful.  You have no idea how much you can change things just by giving to others and being mindful of needs.  What I’ve found personally is that it even changes you.
  • When you give – it doesn’t have to be financial – it could be your time, efforts, talents, or even just your presence!  It truly doesn’t matter as long as you are meeting a real need.

 

When we’re blessed in life, I really do feel like we should be doing something with it – not just pouring our love into our children, husbands/wives, friends, and family… but maybe going a little beyond.

Going out and reaching people, really seeing what needs to be met in their life.  Putting our extra money or time or presence/work to good use instead of blindly giving to something and never seeing the effects of it.

“Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality.  They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there.  And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.  The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.

 People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit — even with those who help in the production.  They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people — even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates.  It’s almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.

 Although they might verbally express happiness for others’ success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out.  Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else’s success, to some degree, means their failure.  Only so many people can be “A” students; only one person can be “number one.”  To “win” simply means to “beat.”

 Often, people with a Scarcity Mentality harbor secret hopes that others might suffer misfortune — not terrible misfortune, but acceptable misfortune that would keep them “in their place.”  They’re always comparing, always competing.  They give their energies to possessing things or other people in order to increase their sense of worth.

 They want other people to be the way they want them to be.  They often want to clone them, and they surround themselves with “yes” people — people who won’t challenge them, people who are weaker than they.

It’s difficult for people with a Scarcity Mentality to be members of a complementary team.  They look on differences as signs of insubordination and disloyalty.” -Covey

It’s by far, much better obviously, to not acquire this kind of way of thinking and acting.  There is plenty enough out there for everyone to achieve their own kind of success.  And sometimes, success doesn’t always mean what you’d think it has to mean – success doesn’t necessarily mean getting a lot of money, looking the best, gaining the most power or influence.  Success – real success – is in how great your life is.  How great YOU make it to be.  Working hard, being fair to others, being a good friend, being good to your family – being happy has a lot to do with the way that you live your life. 

Make sure that what you think is success, really and truly is.