If you’ve been married for any length of time, you should already be aware. Married life is ever changing like the seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s to be expected. Life is continually evolving and shaping us with new experiences. So, naturally our relationships will reflect those changes. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing to what others have, especially if you’re in a less favorable season. The saying goes, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
There’s no such thing as a perfect husband, wife or marriage. We’re all in different stages, with varying circumstances and needs. Any attempt to compare your marriage, husband or even yourself as a wife, could be dangerous. Lingering on comparison could lead your mind, heart and body to places that cross the line or set you further back in your marriage. Below I’m sharing three common areas of comparison. Learn how to stop looking over the marital fence and ‘water your own grass’.
Build a Marriage You Both Can Love
I’ve often given engaged and newlywed couples this advice. Create a marriage that works for you. Don’t compare or base your marriage off what you’ve seen from your parents, friends, and most definitely not the media. You and your spouse have to come up with your own traditions. What is important to you both? What do you both love? What do you both dislike? Based on your individual needs and desires what would work for you? What does your version of normal look like? What is your vision for your marriage? We are all individuals who are wired differently. What works for one couple, may not work for you.
Marital relationships are in constant motion as both of you evolve through life. What your marriage looked like from day one will look different in year five and year 25. You may have to take time to reevaluate your relationship periodically. Agree on a safe place, and time where you both are relaxed without distractions. Perhaps every six months or more, do a check in with each other. Listen to understand, instead of listening to reply or provide your defense. Is our routine working for us? Do we need to switch up some things? What can I do to be a better Wife? What can he do to be a better Husband? Be intentional in working together to build the marriage you both can love.
Re-Focus on your Husbands’ Strengths
From personal experience and conversations with friends, it’s easy to see what your husband is lacking, when you’re in a challenging season. And for some reason, it’s harder to pull on the positives of what he IS doing right. If you are currently in a dry spell, let me encourage you. When you find yourself in the midst of comparing him to another man– stop yourself in your tracks. Counter act the negative with a positive. Is it possible that he’s showing love in a way that you haven’t realized? So for example, he may not be the best at helping out around the house, but his paychecks are still making it home to help take care of the household. He may not be romantic and a grand date planner, yet he supports your dreams and decisions.
Do you remember how amazing he was when you fell in love with him? Chances are he still has those glistening traits. Refocus on that. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is by no means giving him a free pass to not make the effort to meet your needs. If there are issues that are truly affecting you or the household, then it should be addressed. Have a conversation (or two) about it and work with each other to make the necessary change. If there are things that he used to do and stopped, but you miss it, let him know! But not in a persecuting way, lol. Guys are simple and they can’t read minds. You just may have to demonstrate or teach him how to love and communicate in your love language. If he loves you and can realistically make those changes, then he can and will. And when he does, don’t forget to express your gratitude for making those honest efforts to change.
Be the Wife and Woman YOU Love
Some women can get so caught up in trying to be the perfect trophy wife. They compare themselves to other examples of wives in their lives, thinking they have to look, talk and act like someone they’re clearly not. Or they feel down because their husband isn’t giving them the attention or affirmations that they desire and need. They forget who they are, by dropping their name and replacing it with “So and So’s” Wife. I’ve heard it, read it, watched it being said a thousand times. Even Sam, this week told it to me. One of the most beautiful and sexy things a woman can possess is… CONFIDENCE! Learn to be confident in your skin, with your role as a wife and with your presence as a woman. Don’t lose the essence of who you are and what you love.
Listen, you are a woman before you’re a wife. You’re more than a sidekick. You are made in God’s image, and your identity should be found in Him. He sees you as amazing without the aide of anything or anyone else. When you do what you love, you exude the confidence. When you’re having fun and do the activities that bring you joy, you also bring joy to the rest of the household. Discover your passions, follow your dreams, advance yourself! Look in that mirror and compliment yourself! Be the better authentic version of you, and discover how beautiful you can be, by just being you. Confidence doesn’t cost a dime. Your husband was attracted to you and fell in love with you for a reason. Tap into that person, and if that old person needs a boost – then look for ways to upgrade yourself. Let him fall in love with the updated confident version of his wife. You can still be a supportive and present wife, without hiding and neglecting yourself. A confident woman and supportive wife can exist as one. Don’t be afraid to ask your husband to be supportive of your desire to change too. Happy woman, happy wife, happy husband, happy life.
I hope you were able to find at least one nugget of encouragement, or a different viewpoint that will help you shut down the comparisons to revive the joy in your marriage. Married life is tough enough without the added stress of comparisons. Don’t let comparisons steal the joy out of your marriage. Believe in yourself, believe in your husband, believe in your marriage.
P.S. Check my previous blog post for more tips and ideas of catering to your own marriage: Married Life: Tips for an Intentional Marriage. These couples share a total of 226 years of marriage experience and wisdom!