Comparison is a Trap

I love nights out with my girlfriends. I love catching up and laughing together. I especially love when my friends dote on their husbands. But every now and then, I’ll admit, I’ll hear a story from a friend bragging about her husband and I’ll think, “My husband never does that.” Whether my friend was surprised by a bouquet of flowers or a weekend getaway, of course I’m happy for her, but… it’s hard not to think and wish I had that in my own marriage.

Whether we are comparing our husbands, our homes, our children, or ourselves, when we compare we are falling into a self-laid trap. Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I wholeheartedly believe it. The danger in comparing is that we can begin to believe we are entitled to, or we deserve, something we don’t have. Maybe you wish your husband were more handy so you didn’t have to hire a plumber. Maybe you wish your husband of little words would write you sonnets to express his love. Yet, since he’s not Shakespeare the Handyman, you might be overlooking who he is and how he already loves you.

When you find yourself with that twinge of jealousy, when you start to wish you had what you believe someone else has in their marriage, there are a few things you can do.

1. Celebrate their joy!

One of the best ways out of the trap of comparison is to get excited for other people and encourage them. Compliment your friend. Let her know how wonderful it is that her husband surprises her with post-it love notes around the house, and reinforce how loved she is. Hearing yourself say such complimentary things may just turn your own attitude from irritated to joyful.

2. Play your own highlight reel!

Keep in mind that most of the time we are only seeing the best “clips” from our friends’ life stories. This is especially true if you’re comparing your real life to the life you see from others on Facebook or Twitter. Believe me, their lives are not always as good as they appear. So instead of focusing on all they have that you don’t, think about what you do have. Find something to brag about in your own husband. Remember when he picked up your favorite pint of ice cream just because? Or the other night when he offered to clean up after dinner, remember how loved you felt? Then, go one step further and compliment him verbally.

3. Check yourself!

If you feel like something might be lacking in your husband, there might be a teensy weensy possibility he’s wishing for something more from you, too. So, instead of comparing him, or your marriage, check yourself for things you can do or areas you can improve by your own attitude and behavior. Maybe your husband wishes you’d give him an unsolicited back rub once in awhile. Maybe he loves the lasagna you used to make, even though it is full of carbs and calories. Bring your best to your marriage and you won’t have time to think about someone else’s.

Nobody’s marriage is perfect all the time. Comparison will only ever serve to blind you from the goodness in your own life, and as Mr. Roosevelt said, steal your joy. Stay out of the trap and #staymarried.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post and think it could benefit someone else’s marriage, please consider sharing. You can use the social media buttons at the top or bottom of this post. Also, if you’re new here, welcome! You might like to check out why we started this blog and my first entry to get a little background. Thanks for stopping by!
~ Michelle