When You’re Jealous of Other People’s Relationships Over the Holidays

My sister-in-law and her husband are super talented musically. They have beautiful voices, can play multiple instruments, and are great at improvising. It really is beautiful to watch them make music together.

They really are the perfect couple, and it’s really sweet to see. But sometimes my watching them can turn into me comparing my marriage to theirs.

They were having a blast and I’d wonder, “Do Adam and I have that much fun together?”

“Why don’t Adam and I share a talent?” I’d think to myself. Next thing I know I’m pouting and thinking of all the ways Adam and I could be as “perfect” as they seem to be.

Then last Christmas we spent several days around them with all of us staying together in the same house. From time to time I’d see them rehearsing a song for their annual Christmas card video.

Adam’s sister and her husband had so much in common, and as I watched them smile and sing and then laugh when one of them made a mistake, all I could think about was how Adam and I had argued just a few hours earlier because I felt like all of the Christmas preparations—planning, buying, wrapping—had all fallen on my shoulders that year.

My self-pity grew to an all-time high one night while my sister and brother-in-law were preparing dinner for everyone. They both knew their way around the kitchen and were enjoying cooking together. This one hit hard because I love to cook, while Adam struggles to identify a blender.

I tried to think of things that we are good at together. What do we enjoy doing that deepens our love? But at that moment things were only made worse as I could hear my husband whooping and hollering while wrestling his brothers in the basement.

When Adam and I had a chance to talk later, he could tell something was bothering me. When I spilled my frustration he chuckled a bit and said he was glad our relationship wasn’t like his sister and her husband’s, not because he didn’t like their relationship (he does!), but because if everyone’s love was the same, it would be boring.

He reminded me that our relationship is unique and we do share a lot in common: We enjoy traveling together, talking about books, watching sports, and more. While we didn’t always share the same hobbies, we were always more than willing to participate in each other’s interests. In fact, part of our initial attraction to one another was our differences. I agreed that he had a point; it just had been hard for me to see it.

The next time I found myself starting to compare my relationship with my husband to others’, I stopped and thought of the fun moments Adam and I have shared. I thought of our playful bets each spring on our NCAA brackets. I thought of a weekend getaway we took and the time we took ballroom dance lessons together.

I realized that my insecurities and subsequent complaining to my husband weren’t fair to our relationship or to him. When faced with another wonderful couple, it’s all too easy to forget our own strengths. I don’t want to take what Adam and I have for granted. We’re not the “perfect” couple, but we don’t have to be.

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1 Comment

  • Great article! It’s not always easy to count your blessings, and Lord knows that life is awfully unfair, especially when looking at it through green eyes. For this reason alone it really is important to recognize when this happens, and celebrate what is uniquely ‘Us’ about your relationship. Far from settling, it encourages the most divine gift of all: Love through contentment

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