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Jealousy In A Marriage

QUESTION: How Do I Overcome Jealousy in a Marriage?

ANSWER:

As much as we would like to deny it, all couples have feelings of jealousy in a marriage from time to time. Wives often struggle with strong feelings of jealousy when they see their husbands talking to other women. Husbands can also feel a bought of jealousy when they see their wives paying too much attention to other men.

Jealousy in marriage can also take the form of one parent being jealous over another parent's undue attention to the children instead of the marriage partner. This often occurs when there is a new child in the household.

Jealousy in and of itself is not a bad thing. There are times when jealous is an appropriate response. For example, if your spouse is having an inappropriate relationship, jealousy allows you to confront the person. However, jealousy is most often an emotion that is self-serving and often leads to feelings of anger and self-doubt. The main thing to remember is to not allow jealousy to consume, but instead allow it to guide.

Jealousy left unchecked can arouse fury and lead to destructive behavior. The problem with jealousy is that most of the time the jealousy is unfounded. It is simply our misrepresentation of the facts whereby we have taken an innocent situation and turned it into a crisis. Jealousy in marriage can be a stumbling block and can eventually erode away a close bond between spouses.

There are five basic steps to lessen the severity of your jealousy or even eliminate it altogether.

  • Start thinking of jealousy as an emotion that happens inside of you. You have control over that jealousy. Do not let jealousy take control of you. In short, your reaction to jealousy is what you make of it.

  • Determine to seek the truth. Make sure your jealousy is solely based upon what your spouse is doing and not on something you are not doing. Your insecurities may trigger a false perception of the situation.

    When you discover the true source of your jealousy, take the time to talk to your spouse about how you feel and why. Your honesty will help to build the relationship and strengthen the marriage.

  • Seek guidance by talking to a family member, friend, or pastor. An impartial source can help sort out the details of the jealousy. Remember when choosing this avenue of approach, do not choose someone who is particularly close to either spouse, but one who will give an unbiased opinion.

  • Talk to each other. Not just idle chit chat, but a good heart-felt talk. The true measure of a good relationship is how well you talk to each other when it's just the two of you. Communication is important in a marriage, especially in instances of jealousy or envy. Each spouse must again be open, honest, and willing to hear the truth.

    A good way to communicate is to write down what you feel and then talk about it. Do not mock or ridicule what the other believes, but listen and learn from what is being written and said. Marriage is work that is done one day at time. So if your jealousy is caused by something from the past, be willing to forgive and forget and move on into the future together.

  • Seek professional counseling. Don't feel that seeking professional help is a cop-out, but see it as a step in the right direction.
Jealousy is a common emotion, even in marriage, but if you are willing and take the right steps, it can be overcome.

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