Are There Weeds in Your Marriage?
“I’m So Jealous”
These were the words that left the mouth of a pretty blonde woman as she hooked arms with her friend as they walked down the street past me yesterday. Hmm? How often we might jokingly say this, but do we really know what it means?
In The Mask of Zorro, Don Rafael Montero invades the home of his arch enemy, Don Diego de la Vega after discovering his true identity, accidentally killing de la Vega’s wife, and kidnapping their daughter to raise as his own while sentencing her father to life in prison. In the Bible, Cain killed Abel, his brother because he envied God’s favor with Abel. David had Uriah killed because he coveted and had relations with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. Last week, I talked about how I envied Adam’s pink peg wife in the Game of Life so much so that I went out of my way to be difficult and obnoxious during a game. What great lengths we go to dislike, avoid, or hurt a certain person when they have something we don’t!
Dictionary.com explains the slight differences between envy, jealousy, covetousness, resentment, and begrudging.
“Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion. To begrudge is to be unwilling that another should have the possessions, honors, or credit that person deserves: to begrudge a man a reward for heroism. To covet is to long jealously to possess what someone else possesses.”
Given these definitions, I think people would want to be more careful with their words. These emotions betray the heart’s true condition without Christ: sin.
Mark 7:21-23 says, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come…envy…All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Facts About Weeds explains a weed is “any plant that is unwanted, out of place, or just has no discernible value.” Envy is a weed that chokes the Biblical garden of love; it has no value and doesn’t know its place. It begins growing in one’s heart, polluting one’s thoughts, emotions, and often actions. It causes a person to wish ill on someone and do things they wouldn’t normally do. Like weeds, envy spreads quickly, choking out the good and replacing it with negativity, resentment, bitterness, malice, and discontentment.
Solution – Build your husband up, especially when he’s succeeding even if you aren’t or haven’t. Douse jealousy by celebrating your husband’s accomplishments. Fill your heart and mind with Scripture to recall when you’re feeling the twinge of jealousy.
Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
While envy may make for interesting drama in a movie like The Mask of Zorro, it isn’t healthy or positive in any marriage, let alone any relationship. If a husband and wife love, respect, honor, and cherish one another as they should in a Biblical way and stay connected with their Heavenly Father, they should have no reason to be jealous of each other or another man, woman, or couple.
“Weeds deprive desirable plants of needed water, light and soil nutrients. Often unsightly, they can also scratch and irritate skin, aggravate allergies and even harbor insects and disease (Facts About Weeds).”
Think of water as the quality time you spend with your husband, light as your love for him, and the soil nutrients as the Holy Spirit and your conscience. The weeds of envy deprive your marriage of its water, light, and nutrients. They aggravate weak spots in your marriage instead of working to eliminate weaknesses. When I become jealous of Adam, envy grows like a bacteria within my heart and spew out in unkind words and cruel actions. It exposes my insecurity about my husband’s love, and my discontentment with what God has given me.
Solution – Fight off bacteria in your marriage by swallowing a healthy dose of contentment daily. Be content with what you have, your accomplishments, and who you are. Be content with your husband, who he is, not just what he does for you. Set aside jealousies and create a comforting and reassuring environment for your husband during the time you spend together. Make quality time a priority and this will breed a good ground for the seeds of contentment. Love your husband by trusting him. Listen to the Holy Spirit when he tugs on your heart.
“Most plants only produce several hundred seeds, but weeds are especially prolific. One single weed can produce anywhere from 10,000 to over 100,000 seeds. With these odds, it’s easy to see how weeds can quickly take over your garden or lawn if left untreated (Facts About Weeds).”
James 3:16-17 says “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
Normal healthy plants don’t desire to take over the entire backyard. Similarly pure contentment doesn’t desire to uproot love in your marriage. But envy does. If left untreated, it will cause serious damage and will be hard to reverse.
Solution – If you are feeling jealous or resentful, first, take these negative emotions to God. I’d encourage you to spend time in prayer asking God to change and cleanse your heart. Secondly, talk to your husband. Reveal your reasons for feeling envious, your insecurities, your hurt feelings, etc. Pursue peace. Be sincere. Act mercifully if your husband has been bragging or boasting or prideful lately about something he’s accomplished, completely overlooking or neglecting you. Submit to God’s authority, and be submissive to your husband by respecting him and being patient, uncomplaining, and humble in your thoughts, words, and deeds.
Envy says, “What I want is more important than what you have and I should have what you have at all costs.” Galatians 5 calls this an act of the flesh. These directly contradict the fruits of the Spirit. One cannot be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlling if one is envious. But unlike the fruits of the Spirit which take time, dedication, and the right environment to grow in, envy grows and spreads quickly much like weeds, “opportunistic and aggressive (plants) genetically designed to germinate, grow and propagate faster than most desirable plants (Facts About Weeds).”At first opportunity, envy aggressively takes over in the Biblical Garden of love, especially when we just let it grow wild and run rampant through our hearts, minds, and marriages. Envy detains us, imprisoning us in our sin.
Galatians 5:13-15, 24-26 says,
“You, my brothers and sisters (husbands and wives), were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh (the sinful state of humanity); rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
I remember when I was a kid, ivy grew on our fence, eventually becoming so thick and heavy, it caused the fence to sag under its suffocating weight. Similarly, envy weighs us down and holds us captive in our sin. Christ freed us through His death and resurrection. But we shouldn’t take advantage of God’s mercy and our husband’s forgiveness. We need to be humble, casting off jealousies and envy. Don’t withhold your love simply because he played a better game, has a better job, more money or success, and her husband paid for a bigger house, etc.
Solution – Crucify your envy and jealousies on the cross. Ask God to daily fill your heart with a desire to follow the fruits of the Spirit in your marriage. Be humble when you lose in a game, when it’s your turn to do the dishes again, when your husband succeeds in convincing all the other couples to see “his” movie. Don’t provoke your husband when you envy him. Envy bites, devours, and destroys, but the fruits of the Spirit evidenced in your marriage builds, breathes, and heals.
I’d love to hear from you
What about this post resonated with you? How do you consciously fight off the weeds of envy in your marriage or another relationship? What other Bible verses can we as women use to battle envy and jealousy when it rises in our hearts and minds?
An Introduction to the Biblical Garden of Love
1. When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect Practical advice on allowing the Gospel to work in your marriage and your life
2. What is Love? “When we are grounded in God’s Word and seeking after Him, love blossoms.”
Love is Patient
3. Does Patience Grow on Trees? Part 1A “…bliss will not last forever, and that trouble in paradise is inevitable…”
4. Does Patience Drive Your Car? Part 1B “Being impatient is like driving down a road in the middle of a storm and suddenly realizing there’s a tree down in front of you…”
5. But What if Patience Doesn’t Fit? Part 1C “Write gentleness and kindness on your heart every morning just as you’d wear your wedding ring faithfully.”
6. I Take Thee to Be My Husband…and then I’ll work under you, be your personal slave, and never have an opinion of my own forever Part 1D What Patience is not
7. A Flourishing Marriage Part 1E A Look Back on What We’ve Learned about Patience “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration. “~Lou Erickson
Love is Kind
8. Broken – Love Poured Out Part 2A “Marriage requires all hands on deck… holding onto each other and pointing each other back to God.”
9. Always Greener on ‘This’ Side of the Fence, Part 2B “Love is the living, breathing, intentional actions we do for one another to demonstrate our grasp of the Gospel…”
Love Does Not Envy
10. This Little Game Called Envy, Part 3A “Men compete over being the biggest, strongest, and sexiest… and then they’re done. Women? We play this little game called envy…”