Killing Comparison

3 ways to protect your marriage from the comparison trap.

Marriage can be tough.  But sometimes we make it much harder than it has to be.  In today’s post, I want to look at one of the ways that we often hurt our marriages unintentionally.  The way that we do this is through a sneaky word:  Comparison.

The Comparison Trap

Comparison is like a sickness or disease in our body.  If left unchecked or untreated, it contaminates everything around it and can cause the sickness to spread.  When it comes to marriage, an unfair comparison is often the root cause of many of the battles that couples face.  We see it’s effects manifested in many ways.

  • bitterness
  • anger
  • jealousy
  • frustration
  • secret romances
  • mistrust
  • disappointment

Protect your marriage from the comparison trap before it gets set.  Here are three ways.

How to Kill Comparison

At the heart of comparison is the longing for something we don’t have.  We look over the proverbial fence and see what appears to be greener grass and lusher pastures.  But seeing can be deceiving.

In many cases, you are seeing what people want you to see.

When we are in public, we hold hands, we treat each other with kindness, we speak sweetly to our children. But behind closed doors, life isn’t always that way, is it?

Yet as obvious as this is, we can easily forget about it when we see a marriage that seems to have it all together.  Deep down, we crave what we see and wish that our marriage looked and felt more like that. When these feelings are left unchecked, the comparison trap is set.

Here are 3 things we can do to protect against this.

  1. Recognize what’s true.  The way to defeat a lie is to take it on with truth.  Most of the time, the comparison trap is set with lies.  “They have the perfect marriage!”  “Look at the way he always treats her so kind.  I wish you were more like that!”  Trap.  Trap.  Trap!  While it may be true that other marriages are great (and we ought to celebrate and hope that that’s true) it is important to not get caught up in the game of measuring your marriage against any others.  Your marriage, like the one you’re comparing it to, is probably strong in some areas and weak in others.  That is true for every married couple.  Don’t believe the lies about “perfect” anything.  There is no such thing.
  2. Celebrate what you have – not what you don’t.  Instead of seeking perfection or believing the lie that another marriage has a perfect union, celebrate what is working or what you have going right.  This can be as simple as telling your spouse ‘thank you’ for the things you appreciate about them.  It can also be as easy as setting up a regular date night and making it a priority to get away and spend time together.  The saying is so true:  we repeat what we celebrate.  If you want to grow your marriage, then celebrate what’s working and stop comparing it to any other.
  3. Guard criticism carefully.  One of the most dangerous outgrowths of comparison is criticism.  It is a natural overflow of a heart infected by comparison.  When we see a critical spirit in our home or marriage, we have to get to the source of it and do it quickly.  Often times, a critical nature is the expression of unchecked comparison.  It is ugly, hurtful, and can damage relationships in a hurry.  The next time you see it, be sure to ask where it is coming from and try to see it for what it is.

If you’re serious about killing comparison in your marriage or just want more help with your marriage, be sure to check out some of the great resources from Mark and Susan Merrill at www.familyfirst.net.  There are some excellent resources here and it is a great place to grow your marriage and protect it even further.

Another excellent place (one of my favorites):  Love & Respect Ministries

Question: Why is comparison such a dangerous trap for a marriage? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Killing Comparison

  1. Great post! I think it’s our response to comparison that is most dangerous. The part about “look how kind he is to her” I think it’s good to notice that, and even to notice that you want it. We should notice successful marriages and let them serve as an example. But the response is harmful “why can’t you be more like that?” Instead of putting the responsibility on the other person and resenting them or getting angry, what if we asked ourselves “what is that wife doing that inspires her husband to treat her that way?” The criticism and blame is harmful…and lazy.

    • You’re totally right. It’s like we tell our kids, “Our response is our responsibility”. That’s why it is most dangerous. Good point! Once we understand that, we can do as you mention here and respond with thoughtfulness and checking our own motives and feelings and seeking to better relate with our spouse. When we don’t do this, you are absolutely right…it’s harmful and lazy. Thanks for your thoughts!