The green-eyed marriage: is your marriage monster-proof?

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!

32 Replies to “The green-eyed marriage: is your marriage monster-proof?”

  1. Shelah

    I can relate to the green eyed monster. I feel that I could deal with a lot in marriage EXCEPT for wandering eyes….we have agreed upon boundaries to keep those feelings from coming up for us both. So, neither of us have opposite sex friendships that aren’t OUR friendships.

    Reply
    • S'ambrosia

      Nice point, Shelah! We’re still getting used to having friends as a couple, but that’s a great reminder to always at least make sure your spouse knows your friends of the opposite sex. It opens the door for discussion on whether or not those connections should be maintained. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Nikki

    Lol Sam I seriously was cracking up on the post and my husband was looking at me crazy wondering what I was looking at on my phone. The part about trip a girl down the aisle and punching then in the throat. Lol so doesn’t sound like you thats what makes it hilarious.

    Reply
  3. Fern :)

    I agree about opposite sex friendships. I had to cut off some of my guy friendships after I got married because they made flirty comments to me in private message on FB. I want to be trustworthy, and to have my husbands trust, so it is a good idea to weed out unhealthy friendships.

    Reply
  4. kdcooper2013

    I have had more trouble with this than my very laid back, eyes-for-me-only husband over the years. I have learned a thing or two from him. He has NEVER questioned a friendship I have with a male and I would never want to be friends with any male who even remotely appeared to cross a line in our friendship. I had mostly guy friends growing up–less drama so my hubby was very accepting of that. I have more girl friends now but a few trusted guy friends. My hubby has not ever acted interested in any other women and at one point when he was away on business, he called me to tell me some waitress had hit on him and made him so uncomfortable that he quickly paid and left the restaurant. I was thankful that he was honest with me and “fled” that situation even though it was not remotely tempting for him. It also made me understand that I was married to a man of integrity who was and always has been transparent with me. So, since I don’t have the woman thing to get jealous of, Satan leads me down the path of being jealous of time he spends with his guy friends–stupid, he allows me gal pal time, he deserves the same; of late nights he spends at work–stupid, he is a hard worker, has deadlines and works hard to keep a roof over our heads; and any other petty thing Satan can work up in my mind. All that to say COMMUNICATION is key–talk honestly and respectfully with your mate when these things come up and when I have arrows flung at me to rile up the GEM, I head first to prayer–honest, open prayer and God usually puts me in my place and gives perspective. Sorry, a little windy there but I was trying to cut 18 years of marriage experience with GEM into a paragraph! 🙂

    Reply
    • S'ambrosia

      This is so good, Kim! It sounds like our husbands have a lot in common as do we. I didn’t think about it until I read your comment, but being jealous of other people of things taking up his time is something I totally have issue with as well. Ray had to work on the coast over the weekend, and I spent the whole before then pouting. I was definitely needing to be “put back in my place and given perspective.” Thank you so much for sharing. Oh how I wish we had more time to connect before I left Kansas. I’ve learned so much from you.

      Reply
  5. Grace Grogan

    My husband and I have been married 32 years and the green-eyed monster is not a problem for us. We completely trust each other and have a mixture of friends/acquintances that are of both genders. I am connected to former boyfriends on Facebook, he is connected to former girlfriends. If one of us is talking to someone of the opposite sex it isn’t an issue, people are people. While I know that there are a lot of people who do deal with jealousy, it is a very peaceful existence if you can reach a level of trust in your relationship where that is not a problem.

    Reply
    • S'ambrosia

      That sounds nice! *sigh* Have you always been that way or did you have to reach that point? How did you get there? I agree that it makes for a peaceful marriage if you reach that level of trust, but I’m curious as to how you reached it.

      Reply
      • Grace Grogan

        S’ambrosia, we have always been that way. When we met we lived 2 hours apart and only saw each other on the weekends. That was back before cell phones, so our contact with each other was limited during the week. Being that he was only two weeks into a divorce and I had been involved in a seven year on-again off-again relationship, I don’t know why we had an unquestionable trust, but we did.

        Reply
        • Renee-Ann

          Very similar situation for me, Grace. I was just coming out of a 4 year relationship and was raising 2 small children on my own. Needless to say, I was petrified to get hurt again. But there was something about him that said “Trust him.” From the get go, the trust was there. Soon we had to love 2 provinces apart for 3 months, relying on letters and a phone call once in a while. This separation is what did it for us. 😀

          Reply
          • S'ambrosia

            Sounds like I have trust issues then. I know Ray is totally trustworthy but it’s still difficult for me, probably because of insecurities and whatnot. I’m in a totally different culture and I don’t fit in, I’m not a member of his tribe, so there’s always a speculation that maybe he would want something or someone more in line with his background. Looks like this inner healing I’m going through will help out with this too!

            Reply
  6. Kitt O'Malley

    Ray & S’ambrosia, trust is built over time with experience. I love that you turn to God, to prayer, and to repentance as you struggle to overcome jealousy. I will say, too, that if you continually give each other love and devotion, over time jealousy fades away. At least it has for us. Perhaps our courtship of three years was longer than yours. Perhaps we were older. We were well into our thirties when we married. But, in any case the jealousy I felt at the beginning of our relationship faded as his love and devotion to me became clearer and clearer. Now, 17 years into our marriage, 20 years into our relationship, I know deeply that my husband adores me, and I am thankful for his devotion. I, too, love and adore him and consider myself blessed.

    Reply
    • S'ambrosia

      It’s so good to know that as time goes on our love will mature and to see so many examples of this. Thanks for sharing such an encouraging word, Kitt!

      Reply
  7. kdcooper2013

    Thanks, Sam, I also wish we had gotten more time together before you left but am blessed by the time I was able to spend with you. Kitt’s post above is so right on–that is how David and I’s relationship has developed over the years. We too were in our 30’s when we married so I think that maturity helped overcome the jealousy thing more easily. We too, love and adore each other and consider ourselves blessed to not have to deal with that issue of jealousy so much any more.

    Reply
    • S'ambrosia

      Thanks again, Kim. I’d definitely say the maturity is a big factor that we lack at this point in time, but it’s great to hear from people who have been there and done it before, that things will change.

      Reply
  8. Crystal

    Luckily, we don’t have any jealousy issues in our marriage. I’ve been in relationships like that before, and it can cause some angst. One of my best friends is a guy – has been for over 20 years. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, my husband doesn’t have a problem with it.

    Reply
    • S'ambrosia

      That must be nice. Lol
      I think it’s cool to have friends of the opposite sex, but it’s so important to have boundaries. As someone said in an earlier comment here, people are people. It’s difficult to define the line sometimes. It’s cool to hear that some people can manage it successfully though. I guess we’re just not there yet.

      Reply
  9. Renee-Ann

    I must agree with Grace Grogan 200 percent on this one. My husband and I have been married 26 years and trust is key in marriage.

    Blessings! Renee-Ann <

    Reply
  10. Elise Cohen Ho

    The hubby and I met 30 years ago and are coming up on our 21st wedding anniversary. A bit of jealousy is OK but taken to the extreme is very unhealthy. The hubby and I both know exactly what type of cloth the other is cut from. I would be very unhappy if every time that I spoke to someone of the opposite sex he got nervous about what would happen and I am sure he would feel the same if it were me getting nervous.

    Reply
  11. Laura Moreira

    I was shocked when my husband told me, years later, that he thought I was having an affair with the kids’ piano teacher and even followed me once! My next reaction was anger at who he “picked” for me, lol, a much older man.

    Reply
  12. Reba Linker

    Great post and discussion! I think mariage is one of the most challenging and rewarding things we can do, so I have to agree with some of the comments: don’t walk in harm’s way – choose your friends carefully. Congratulations and wishing you mountains of happiness, love and joy – thanks for sharing the wedding photos – you make a beautiful couple! xox, Reba

    Reply
  13. Pingback: What’s your writing process? | From Kansas to Kenya with Love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *