The Secret of Being Content
My Envious Heart
A pretty woman walks by and you wish you could look more like her.
Maybe that cute guy in class would pay attention….
…maybe my boss would take me more seriously….
…maybe I’d be more confident….
…maybe I really do deserve to be prettier…
…maybe it would be better if I was prettier than she is…
…I DO deserve to be prettier…
…I want to look like her and I don’t care what it takes!
Does this sound a little ludicrous? It does now that I’m older and wiser. Yes, I confess, these thoughts have gone through my head. I’ve struggled with being envious. I’ve shamefully wanted my husband to be more like a friend’s husband. I’ve wanted a different family, bigger house, nicer clothes, and a husband with different abilities.
Then I stop and remind myself… if I didn’t have my family, I wouldn’t be the same person. If I lived in a bigger home and nicer clothes, would I actually be happier? If I had a different husband, I’d be living a very different life and would the other husband bring me as much joy and pleasure? Would he love me the same way? Probably not. I absolutely adore my husband and I’m so grateful for him, and where would I be without my quirky, lovable family who’s gotten me through some of the toughest times of my life?
I’ve recently created a Pintrest account in the last month and I love being able to find decorating ideas for my future home, recipes to put on my table, ideas for stories, and of course, what girl doesn’t like her accessories (or shoes)? But sometimes I have to disconnect and remind myself that I am truly grateful for all that I have, and I’m content with my life. Nothing like a good dosage of gratitude to battle envy!
Is wanting nice things wrong? Absolutely not. Is wanting a happy and healthy marriage (or family) wrong? Not in the least. The Proverbs 31 woman is proof that desiring nice things and having a healthy and happy family and marriage IS Biblical. But when we begin to covet what others have, when we begin to wish our lives were different, we set ourselves up on the dangerous downward spiral of envy.
1 Peter 2:1-3 says, “Rid yourselves of all…envy. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
How do you secure your Biblical garden of love so that you don’t get choked by the weeds of envy?
A – Ask God to rid your heart of jealousy, envious thoughts, and ill intentions toward others.
B – Be in constant communication with the Holy One! Prayer is a powerful weapon.
C- Crave Scripture. Soak up God’s Word on a regular basis.
D – Do plug yourself with other believers regularly to help keep you accountable.
L.O.V.E. Envy Away
When my husband and I first got married, he was working and I wasn’t. I was envious of him. I wanted to be out in the workplace instead of being at home all the time. This envy settled deep into my heart and corrupted my love for my husband. I’m so grateful God changed me from the inside out.
How do you fight the weeds of envy in a marriage especially when it corrupts Biblical love?
There are two types of weed killer – preemergence and postemergence. These are types of herbicides (or chemicals used to destroy weeds) that “create a weed control zone on the soil surface, preventing seeds from germinating,” according to Facts About Weeds.
*An easy way to remember ways to avoid or abolish weeds of envy is to think LOVE.
This type of weed killer is used to prevent weeds from cropping up.
L- Love your husband. Be patient. Show him kindness. Without love, you have and gain nothing.
O – Open your heart to contentment. Be content with your husband, with who you are, and what you two have together – materially, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, and mentally. Be genuinely joyful for him when things are going well for him.
V – Venture into the Bible. Read verses on contentment and peace. Study the effects of envy and jealousy in Scripture.
E – Engage in the relationship with God. Paul writes in Philippians 4 that he has learned the secret of being content no matter the circumstances. He is content because he is in relationship with Christ.
These herbicides “are applied after the weed is established and actively growing (Facts About Weeds).”
L – Love your husband. Remember that without love, your marriage has no meaning or purpose. Restructure love into your life with him.
O – Open your heart to God’s healing. Ask God to show you if you’ve been envious, jealous, resentful, or begruding toward your husband (or significant other if you aren’t married). Take time to write down instances when you have been if you can remember them. Invite God into your heart to place His healing balm in your life and marriage.
V – Vent negative emotions in a constructive way. Go to God first in prayer. Spend time in the Scriptures. Talk to your husband only when you’re calm and right with God first.
E – Evict envy from your heart by replacing it with contentment, joy, love, and peace.
5 Ways to Uproot Envy From Your Life For Good
1. Christ – Seek God constantly and daily together with your husband. Humble yourself and remember without God, you have nothing.
2. Cooperation – Actively seek to be cooperative. Don’t purposely cause tension. That doesn’t help anything. Don’t be a contentious wife. Work to find peaceful solutions. Work toward having a harmonious marriage.
3. Contentment – Be content with what you have. Make a list of what you are thankful for and write down three reasons why you are grateful for each item. Make a list of what positive things you have in your marriage. Dwell on the good, not the bad.
4. Communication – Communication really is the key to solving any issue or conflict within a marriage. Use your Christ-centered words to clear up misconceptions and head off potential future problems. You need to verbally explain to your husband why you feel jealous or envious and humbly ask him to help you overcome this problem in your marraige. Or you need to verbally confront his jealousy/envy with love, patience, kindness, and gentleness and reaffirm him through your words. You can also nonverbally communicate through physical touch, the giving of gifts, spending time together, and actions.
Tension is often resolved or on its way to resolution through giving or getting a hug from Adam. Physical touch unites us. Show him you need his help overcoming jealousy by maintaining eye contact. If you’re envious of him getting a promotion at work while you’re still stuck in your tiny cubicle job, turn the green-eyed monster on its ugly head by giving your husband the gift of a celebration dinner or some small token of appreciation for his contribution to the marriage. If you’re jealous because he spends so much time with his friends or on a computer game, turn your jealousy inside out by offering to get to know his friends better or asking him to teach you how to play that computer game. Make a list of all the reasons why fell in love with him and halfway through that list you’ll begin to feel jealousy slipping away. Communicate your thoughts and feelings to God often. Pray for your husband and for your marriage on a regular basis.
If he’s the one who is jealous or envious, reassure him through physical touch and love. Even though you might be the one who just got the promotion at work, find something small that he has accomplished to celebrate – the fact that he took out the trash or how he remembered to fill up the tank with gas without you asking or how he sounded really good at praise and worship today. Spend more quality time together to communicate you love him and respect him and he has nothing to be envious over. Show him you care by writing him a note of gratitude or tell him what you find attractive about him.
5. Counseling – If you find that you or your spouse are irrationally jealous, your expectations are unrealisitc, and your actions are out of control, you should seek the help of a pastor or a professional, an older experienced adult or couple who can help you see things in a new light. This person can help you work through negative feelings and help reverse the negative impact on your marriage.
I’d love to hear from you
How do you battle envy and jealousy in your own life? Do you have a personal story you could share about overcoming envy?
1. When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect Practical advice on allowing the Gospel to work in your marriage and your life
2. 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…”
3. Are There Weeds in Your Marriage, Part 3B “Like weeds, envy spreads quickly…”
For other posts from the Biblical Garden of Love series, click here.
Check out posts on April’s blog – Peaceful Wife