Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There is so much truth in this statement, yet in this social media crazed-post every great thing you do, or it didn’t happen–culture, most of us struggle with comparison. However, the comparison trap doesn’t begin and end with social media; it starts in our homes. Some of us struggle with comparing our success with our spouse’s, and this can cause a lot of frustration, jealousy, misunderstandings, and arguments between spouses.
So, how do we combat this?
The struggle with comparison has nothing to do with the person we are comparing ourselves to, but it has everything to do with our pride and insecurity.
If we constantly feel the need to “one-up” our spouse or point out our wins and their failures, then we are being pulled down into the comparison trap by our pride. It tells us that we are a more diligent worker, more deserving of success, more well-liked, and altogether better than our spouse. Our pride demands attention and propels us to let our spouse know of our ability. This only makes our relationship worse, and we belittle and hurt our spouse in the process. We may experience thoughts like:
Why doesn’t my spouse work as hard and as effectively as I do?
I bet my spouse is going to mess “this” up like they always seem to do.
I am the one holding this family together, and I don’t really need my spouse’s help.
I am more successful because I work harder and have more talent and intelligence than my spouse.
The kids (and everybody who knows us) know that I am more successful than my spouse, and I’m not going to apologize for that.
Have you ever had any of those thoughts, friend? If so, then you are probably struggling with the pride of comparison, especially when it comes to your success. However, you must reign in these prideful thoughts and feelings for the sake of your marriage and family. Maybe you do work harder and are more talented than your spouse. Even so, you must remember that you were attracted to your spouse and their attributes for a reason, and they aren’t going to strive for success in the same manner you do.
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” Instead of thinking about all the ways you are better and more successful than your spouse, try to think about how they are talented, what you love and admire about them, and their strengths. Then, tell your spouse how thankful you are for those attributes. You will be amazed at how thankfulness and healthy perspective will put pride in its place and bring peace to your relationship.
Sometimes we feel threatened by our spouse’s success, but our pride isn’t the root issue. Instead, we deal with insecurity. There is something profound inside of us that feels like we are not talented enough, making enough money, or liked as much as our spouse. We feel inadequate. We question our worth, and the enemy pulls us right down into the comparison trap. We have thoughts like:
Why is my spouse good at everything they do, and I seem to struggle?
Why does my spouse always get promotion and recognition, and I don’t get anything?
I bet everybody thinks I’m holding my spouse back.
I wish people showed me the love and respect they show to my spouse.
I’m better at “this” than my spouse, but people always assume they do all the good work.
The kids look at my spouse like they can do no wrong, and they just roll their eyes at me.
Have you ever had any of these thoughts before? If so, you are struggling with the insecurity of comparison in your marriage, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You must realize that your spouse is not the enemy. Mentally shut down any jealous thoughts that you have against your spouse and replace them with admiration and encouragement. Remember that you and your spouse are not competitors; you are a team. You win together or lose together. When we are fighting against one another, you are both losing. However, when you choose to fight for one another and see the best in each other, you both win every time.
Romans 12:10 says, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” I love that! When we cast comparison aside and allow God to keep our pride and insecurities from taking over our mind and heart, we have a greater capacity to love and honor our spouse and family. Let’s strive for that, friend! Ask the Lord to reveal any pride and insecurity that you might be harboring. Ask Him to help you stop comparing your success to your spouse’s (or anyone else’s, for that matter). Ask Him to bring more peace and joy to your home, and thank Him for all He is doing in your life and marriage. He will see you through this, and bring the two of you closer to Him and one another in the process.