I have never considered myself a jealous person. In fact, even as I started out this strategy, I was thinking to myself, “I’m not jealous of other people THAT often!” The feeling was similar to the one I had when we focused on letting go of resentment. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have anything to write about at the end of this week.
It’s true that I’m not a very jealous person in the way that people usually think of jealousy in a relationship. I’ve never been particularly worried about my husband talking with other women, having female friends, etc. His strength of character creates such confidence in me that I have never worried about that sort of thing.
Jealousy of other people’s relationships is a different story. Like a nervous tic that you don’t notice until someone points it out, relationship jealousy can sneak by under the radar if you aren’t watching for it, and I wasn’t paying attention. (In case you are curious, one of my nervous tics is that I like to hold a pen when I’m nervous. I will even go across the room to pick one up.)
Once I was paying attention, I saw relationship envy everywhere. I envied my friend whose husband just got a great promotion, the friend whose husband allowed his kids to paint his toenails with sparkles, and the friend who just took an exciting family vacation. And along with the envy I felt discontent. Why can’t my husband be more outgoing? Why haven’t we had kids yet?
It was time to get some perspective, so I did our super-challenge for this week and asked my husband what he envies about other relationships and how he wishes I was different. His reaction was a look of abject terror. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am not great at taking criticism. After a little convincing on my part, he finally admitted that he wishes that I was more outgoing. We are both introverts, and it turns out that both of us wish the other person would take over a little more of the social load because socializing is hard for us.
I’m not sure that this strategy actually reduced my relationship jealousy, but it definitely made me think about the topic, which I think was really helpful. I realized that my husband has just as many things he would like to see changed about me as I wish would change about him. I realized that holding on to envy made me feel discontent. I realized that some of the changes I want could actually get rid of other things I like about our relationship. So while I still catch myself envying other people’s relationships, I feel more content with my own just because I took the time to think through the strengths of my relationship.
So how did it go for you? Were you able to actually reduce your jealousy of other relationships? What do you think your husband might envy about other people’s relationships?