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   Home  > Tips

Struggling with Jealousy

Jealousy has a bad reputation. Yet in fact jealousy in marriage has its roots in the exclusive commitment that marriage is founded on.

When we fear our husband or wifeís attention is somewhere other than on our own relationship, alarm bells ring for us. We may be feeling hurt and threatened, fearful that our precious relationship is going to fall apart. We may be seeing warning signs that all is not well and action needs to be taken. Some of us are very intuitive and we may have spotted the beginnings of serious infidelity.

Not all jealousy however is based on a desire to protect our marriage from broken vows and infidelity. Sometimes jealousy is aroused because of our own poor self image. We need our spouse to be constantly reassuring us and telling us that we are loved. We may resent any contact they have with members of the opposite sex, and want to control their behaviour and their friendships.

When feelings of jealousy arise, then the time may have come for a little honest reflection. Is our partner really acting unwisely or hurtfully, or do we need to face up to our own insecurities?

When my husbandís enjoyment of female company began to concern me, I stopped to think through what was going on. I remember feeling hurt and lonely, as if I was invisible. I needed his reassurance that he still found me attractive.

I could have just decided that his behaviour was unreasonable and withdrawn into myself or accused him of flirting. The silent treatment or pouring out the blame would only have built barriers between us. Eventually I managed to tell him that I felt sad and uncomfortable when he teased and joked with young ladies that we knew. I shared my feelings of loneliness and hurt and told him how I wondered what other people were thinking and why he behaved that way. He was taken aback and honest enough to admit that it did his ego good to be liked by younger women, but he recognised the hurt it was causing me and decided to change his ways. I recognised that I needed to remember that he loved me, but that he too needed to know that he was attractive as a man, something that I could reaffirm in the way I cared for him.

My reaction had been a mixture of concern for our marriage and insecurity that I needed to face up to. Talking it through together helped us to understand each other better and strengthened our marriage relationship.

Jealousy like anger can either be a spontaneous feeling telling us something about ourselves and our relationship, but it can also develop into a deep seated attitude that colours the way we respond all the time to our spouse. Facing up to jealousy and exploring itís roots is far better than leaving it to fester and destroy our lives.

Tip by Kate

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