Maybe it’s because we’re still newlyweds (coming up on eight months now) or maybe we’re just really insecure, but our marriage seems to be the perfect dwelling place for that ugly little creature called the green-eyed monster (GEM).
“Who are you talking to?”
“Why are you looking at her Facebook profile?”
“Can we walk down this street instead of that one? There are too many good looking people over there.”
The insatiable desire to be THE ONE AND ONLY
As a single person, I used to have a particular fantasy about my future spouse. He would be on stage performing or preaching with a million beautiful women in the crowd dying to get his attention. These ladies would be some of the most beautiful women on the planet, and in comparison I would feel quite… less than. Suddenly, the man on stage would peer out into the audience and say, “You. I want you.” Like most women, I would look around and prepare myself to envy the lucky lady he referred to and maybe even trip her as she approached the stage, but then the crowds would part and it would become obviously apparent that he was speaking to yours truly.
Again, he would say to me, “You. You’re the one I want.”
I would have to be an idiot to not see how much of a catch Ray is. He has the cutest dimples, boyish charm, and he’s one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He truly is the epitome of the guy I envisioned on stage. Even though he’s married, especially now that he’s married and people see what a wonderful husband he is, there are some women (I use other terms for them when it’s just Ray and I) that will flirt with him and try to get his attention.
Just last week a young girl that works at the shop by our house told my husband that if she cooked for him, he would never want to eat my food again. It took the almighty right hand of the dear, sweet Lord Jesus Christ to keep me from going downstairs and punching her in the esophagus when Ray told me what she said. Fortunately, Ray handled it by taking me with him to the shop and introducing me as his “lovely” wife and excessively commenting on my beauty. I could’ve kissed him right there, I was so pleased by the way he handled it, but I didn’t want to rub it in. The fact that I didn’t severely injure her was kindness enough.
That was an obvious example of how GEM typically surfaces in my heart, but I’ve found that he enjoys pushing my buttons when it comes to small things as well. When Ray scrolls through Instagram photos, I make him unfollow any girls that have that “come hither” look. When he’s chatting with friends or clients on Facebook, I read through the messages just to make sure he’s not flirting (he never is, but I still do it anyway). When he’s on the phone laughing, I come running from the other room to try and ascertain if it’s a male or female voice. I’d like to say that it matters if it’s male or female, but it doesn’t. Sometimes he can be talking to his best friend, and I can’t wait for him to hang up so I can have him to myself.
A quick bit of perspective from Ray’s end so you don’t think the monster is me in disguise
When my wife first came up with the idea for this blog, I was like, “Really? Jealousy? I’m not jealous of anything.” But I have come to realize that this has been, and to some extent still is, something I personally fight with. Early in our marriage (I know we are still in the early stages, but you know what I mean) I didn’t like it when my wife laughed at other guys’ jokes or when she shifted her attention from me to any other person, especially a guy, irrespective of age, profession, or even if they were family. Sometimes I would get mad at her when she constantly giggled while looking at the screen of her other ‘baby’ (her iPhone) at odd hours of the night, forgetting that in Kansas it was daytime.
One area where we can never be like God
At first we used to justify the presence of the GEM in our marriage by saying stuff like, “If we’re not jealous, it shows we don’t care”. There is an element of truth to that. I’d hate it if I was crossing the boundaries of flirtation and it didn’t bother my husband at all. Disinterest to that extent can be dangerous! Just as God is jealous for the affection of Israel, His betrothed, there should be an intense desire for the affection our spouses.
But we have to remember that we’re not God.
Jealousy is such a tricky emotion because when it is borne out of a heart that is in constant need of spiritual renewal, it can become the puppet to insecurity, control, anger, and all those other nasty things that lurk in our hearts waiting for a reason to be lured out of their dark hiding places. I think that’s why we’re told in the Bible to avoid jealousy and envy and all manifestations of selfish ambition. Our weak, feeble hearts just don’t know how to handle it. It’s like a chainsaw. In the hands of someone who knows how to use it, the largest trees can be conquered, but put it in the hands of someone who doesn’t, and that will be the last day you see them with all of their extremities intact.
The best way we know to handle this is to present our hearts and all that’s in them to God on a daily basis and to repent to each other and to God when things get out of hand, but we’d like to end this blog by opening the discussion up to you guys to see what else we can do to supplement that.
Do you experience jealousy in your marriage? How do you handle it?
Looking forward to hearing your comments and ideas!