Today's Bible Reading:

Choking Your Marriage With Comparison

Some good words of warning for couples from Justin Davis:

I want to talk about a deeper part of our heart and mind that we probably don’t allow others to know about too often. This type of comparison is subtle and it’s often illusive and justified. If the death of our heart begins as we compare ourselves to others, the death of our marriage begins when we compare our spouse with someone else.

This isn’t a conversation we have out loud all too often, but these thoughts can flood our heart and mind. The conversation goes something like this:

  • I wish my husband was as romantic as her husband
  • I wish my wife complimented me like she compliments her husband
  • I wish my husband spent as much time with our kids as her husband does
  • I wish my wife worked out and took care of herself like his wife does
  • I wish my husband was as good of a listener as her husband
  • I wish my wife could cook like she cooks
  • I wish my husband was handy and could fix things like he can

This is the first stage of comparison. But if left alone and unidentified, these feelings can quickly move to the next stage.

  • I wish my wife respected me like my secretary does
  • I wish my husband complimented me like my co-worker does
  • I wish my wife was as in shape as the lady in my spin class
  • I wish my husband was as good of a listener as my boss

The moment we start comparing what our spouse isn’t to what someone else is, we open the door for disconnection and fractured intimacy. Even if our comparison isn’t followed by romantic feelings, there is an aspect of our heart that is withheld from our spouse.

The reality is, when we wish our spouse was more like anyone other than Christ, we place an expectation on them to be something that they were never designed to be.

One of the practical things that Trish and I have done over the past five years is to tell each other what we love about the other. Rather than to compare what we aren’t, we compliment what we are. It has drastically changed our relationship. Instead of resenting what we don’t bring to our relationship, we celebrate all that we do bring to our relationship.

Maybe you find yourself in that place today.

If your wife could just be more like ____________________.

If your husband could just be more like ____________________.

Living in that thought will erode your marriage and allow resentment to rule your heart. Comparing will never bring life. You will live envious of someone else’s spouse and prideful of all that you are and all that your spouse isn’t.

Maybe the best thing you could do for your marriage today is to tell your spouse all that you love about them rather than all that disappoints you about them.

About Jason Hardin

Jason lives in southern Indiana with his wife Shelly and their three daughters. He works with the Charlestown Road church of Christ. Jason has written three books and a variety of workbooks. He's a fan of photography, baseball, mountains, wildlife, BBQ, banana pudding, and coffee. You can contact him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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The Great Commandments Apply at Home

"Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)

If no commandment is greater than these, no environment needs them more than our homes. When God first commanded the children of Israel to love him with all their heart, soul, and might, he directly attached his expectations to everyday life at home.

"These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut 6:6-9)

By God's design, home is "where the children are led to know Christ in his beauty who loves them so." Home, as God envisioned, is "where the altar fires burn and glow" (B. B. McKinney). Home may be "where the heart is," but nothing matters more in Christian homes than the heart of God.