We just did a recent podcast “How the envy and jealousy you have for others can negatively impact your marriage”. You can listen to the Ultimate Intimacy Podcast episode HERE.
For every waking second and every conceivable angle, it seems like we are be bombarded telling us if we don’t have a certain lifestyle, car, money, house, kids, body, and many other things, then we cannot be happy.
The constant lies can build a lot of envy and jealousy if we allow it to do so.
We see on social media that our friends are going on vacation, or they just bought a new house or car.
Maybe their husband got promoted to a great job. Whatever is presented to us, we can begin to think “why don’t I have that house, or why don’t we travel to those places, or why is that not happening to me…” and because there is everything out there, something will hook us in.
What we don’t see is behind the curtain. We don’t see the debt people are in for that new car, or house. We see a mirage of things, but these mirages cause us to have envy and jealousy.
When we start down that path of getting jealous, or envying what others have (and focusing on what we don’t have), it can slowly destroy you, and your relationship like a cancer. People with envy and jealousy often become resentful, un-grateful, and bitter and think they can’t find happiness unless they achieve what others have, and even then they won’t be fulfilled.
What is Envy
The dictionary states that envy is: A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. The desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else).
Wikipedia: Envy is an emotion which occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it. Aristotle defined envy as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have”.
An example of this could be you have friends or neighbors that have a lot of money. They never seem to struggle with being able to afford or buy anything. They have new cars, boat and seem to be traveling all the time. You envy them for what they have and wish you had what they did.
What is Jealousy
Jealousy is a feeling of unhappiness and anger caused by a belief that a loved one might be unfaithful or a feeling of unhappiness caused by wanting what someone else has.
Jealousy can often involve relationships.
Psychology Today states: “Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from suspicion to rage to fear to humiliation. It strikes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or imagined.”
An example of jealousy could be that your husband starts to play pickle ball and joins a league. In that league he is playing with other women around his age. He starts to spend a lot of time playing with them and teams up really well with a woman around his age (who is also married). They start to play in tournaments together and practice together. You get jealous that he is wanting to spend more time with them and less time with you and they enjoy spending time together.
I give this example as this is happening ALL THE TIME where we live and we constantly talk about how many marriages are going to get destroyed.
SETTING BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS IN YOUR MARRIAGE CAN OFTEN ELIMINATE JEALOUSY IN THE RELATIONSHIP.
The Difference Between Envy And Jealousy
Jealousy is when you worry someone will take what you have.
Envy is wanting what someone else has.
How Can You Control The Envy For Others
Remove the toxic social media and people from your life
If you don’t have anything to envy, you won’t have envy for others. This may sound like a stupid solution, but we have done this in our life and marriage AND IT WORKS! Now you can’t eliminate everything but the less you take in, the less of an impact it will have on you.
My wife and I use to always go to what is called “the parade of homes.” Basically every year they built the biggest, most expensive homes in the area and allow people to go through them before the owners move in. It is a way for the owners to show everyone what they have.
We loved to do this, but found ourselves wondering why we don’t have those things, and we were convinced if we had a house like that, we would be happier.
On top of that, on social media we saw our friends and neighbors traveling, buying new cars and all those nice things.
We could see the envy impacting our lives.
We often had discussions as to why EVERYONE else was there in life, but we weren’t.
This was not a good thing and I started to feel insecure, and like I was partially a failure as I couldn’t provide my wife with a new Tesla, and we didn’t have a swimming pool and all those things we saw others around us have. Honestly, it was real.
We sat down together one day and decided as a couple we would remove some things from our life.
Things like some social media, parade of homes etc, and see what kind of impact that would have on our life. It has been quite amazing for us.
We don’t have those feelings anymore as many of the things that caused those emotions and envy for us were removed from our lives. More importantly we are much more grateful for what we do have and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what we don’t have.
It doesn’t mean we don’t strive for more success and goals to better our life, but it is now longer overtaking our life. I can’t promise we won’t ever visit the parade of homes again, or do other things but at least we understand and can clearly see the difference in our lives and have learned how to conquer those feelings for the most part.
How Can You Control The Jealousy
Jealousy is something that can often be avoided or controlled with communication. Here are some things that can help:
In the example given above, if a couple had set boundaries in their marriage and discussed what is allowed or not allowed, the situation could have been avoided. For example, my wife and I have agreed we won’t be alone with the opposite sex or start playing in tournaments or leagues with other women (unless we are there watching).
If you discuss and set boundaries, you will know what the boundaries are and won’t have to worry or be jealous (unless the boundaries are crossed). In our marriage, we have set some boundaries and expectations where we both agree. Because of these, I don’t worry or get jealous of what my spouse is doing and vice versa.
Communicate with each other about what your boundaries are, expectations, and how you are feeling. Communicating openly together and sharing how you are feeling can get rid of the jealousy really quickly. Part of communication is also listening. If your spouse is communicating their feelings, listen to how they are feeling.
Envy and jealousy can quickly destroy yourself, and your marriage if you allow it to infect you. A lot of the problems we have in the world stem from these feelings and it will only get worse with social media and all the other ways we get bombarded. No one is immune from this, but we can learn to control how much we take into our lives and how we allow it to impact us.
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