Have you ever made any one of these statements and it instantly started an argument between you and your spouse?
“I wish we had date nights like so and so; their marriage is so romantic.”
“How come we don’t take vacations together like so and so?”
“I wish you would clean and cook for us like this.”
I can go on and on, but I think you get the point. It’s easy to see the flaws in our spouses when comparing our marriage to that of others, but are we really helping ourselves when doing that?
Teddy Roosevelt said it best when he stated “Comparison is the thief of joy” and although this can apply to all areas of our lives, I see it done so often in relationships and almost always if not kept in-check, ends up hurting marriages.
We are all unique people with our own flaws, differences, vulnerabilities, strengths, stories, and when we compare our special union to others, we are instantly taking away from our blessings. We tend to forget what we do have and instead focus on what we don’t. The biggest problem with this is that you are comparing your marriage to what you see on the outside of someone else’s life and that’s not fair. You don’t know their struggles and weaknesses, so how can you compare their life to yours?
Social media is a big part of the problem when it comes to comparing our lives/marriages. With technology at our fingertips, it’s hard not to get caught up in someone else’s “perceived life” through Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. Keep in mind, though, that you are comparing their picture perfect life to yours at this point. No one showcases the ugly side on social media and therefore why should we question our relationship based on someone else’s great picture.
I learned a long time ago that, although, my marriage is not perfect (no one’s is regardless of what their Instagram pictures show), it’s perfectly mine, and when I embrace and work on it, it will flourish through any storm. What you see on my blog and social media pages are only pictures from our happy moments. Every smile, hug, kiss, and hand-held photo you see is the product of our struggles.
We are where we are today because of EVERYTHING we went through in the past, and as I’ve said multiple times, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. I love who we are today and more importantly, what we mean to each other. When we were going through our roughest times, I couldn’t see past the pain and into the future (no one can really). You can’t see that everything you are going through is building you up for something better and more significant.
Comparing our marriage to others during that time (primarily via social media), only made us more unhappy, ungrateful, and honestly speaking kind of envious for what other people had and we lacked. When adding this mix to a struggling marriage, it just makes things toxic.
What worked best for us during those days was detoxing from social media and placing our focus on the blessings we had. It took us a while to understand that though, and it was only as a last resort that I decided to give the “grateful approach” a try. I immersed myself in everything positive and overtime we both worked on ourselves enough to bring that positive energy towards our marriage. Staying grateful every day, focusing on what we had versus what we didn’t and understanding that no one’s relationship is perfect really saved our marriage…well that and A WHOLE LOT OF PRAYER.
I hope this blog helps you or someone you know. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you find yourself comparing your marriage to others and feeling bad? Do you always think about what you don’t have versus being grateful for what you do have?