Editor’s Note: This is a great guest post by Thomas Warren. Thomas asked if he could share his thoughts on jealousy in marriage, and I thought it was a wonderful topic for our community.
Love and trust are the basis for a sound marriage, so if either of these ingredients is missing, you may begin to wonder why you’re in a relationship at all. While love is something that is maintained emotionally, trust can shaken by both emotional and psychological forces.
You enter into marriage believing that it will last forever and that the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with feels the same way. But then, for one reason or another, jealousy rears its ugly head.
It is extremely common for married individuals to experience jealousy, and in small doses, it can actually ensure that you don’t take each other for granted. But if the problem persists, you’re going to have to find a way to deal with it or risk reneging on your vows.
Communication is a good place to start. This is really the key to resolving any conflict in a relationship (and to keeping your marriage healthy). If you have nagging doubts, this is the best way to clear them up.
Maybe you saw a photo from your husband’s holiday party where he is apparently ogling another woman’s derriere. But when you ask him about it, it turns out that he was in the process of helping an elderly co-worker to her feet and just happened to be turning towards the other woman when the photo was snapped.
By putting the event in context, you can effectively clear up any misconceptions. If you never confront your spouse, your jealousy will only grow.
If you really don’t have the tools to communicate effectively (i.e. conversations turn into confrontations or arguments) then you should consider marriage counseling (and possibly individual therapy). You may find that your feelings of jealousy are irrational, that your expectations are unrealistic, that you suffer from issues of control, abandonment, or low self-esteem, or worst-case, your fears of infidelity may be confirmed.
Whatever the case, a professional can help you work through your feelings. Let’s face it, we all come into relationships with some kind of baggage that we haven’t dealt with emotionally, and it can color your interactions with your current mate. If you don’t want to end up frustrated, depressed, crazed, or divorced, you have to be the one to deal with your fears and insecurities. If it turns out your spouse is a serial cheater, you will almost certainly require the expertise of a licensed therapist.
What you should NOT do is hide your feelings and spy on your spouse. If you suspect cheating, do you really want to stoop to the same level of lying and sneaking around that you’re trying to expunge?
And what if you find your jealousy is unfounded, but you get caught in the act? Then you have effectively broken your partner’s trust, which is just as bad. If you really can’t control your feelings of jealousy and you find yourself engaged in nefarious behavior, then it’s definitely time to seek outside help, because you clearly can’t handle the situation on your own.
You and your spouse should be able to work through anything together and come out of the experience stronger and more committed to each other. And while cheating is a deal-breaker for many individuals, don’t be too quick to throw in the towel.
A strong relationship can weather even the worst of storms if you agree to work together towards a livable solution.
Have you experienced jealousy in your relationship? How have you overcome it?(photo source)
Thomas Warren is a content writer for GoCollege, one of the oldest and most trusted resources to guide students on how to finance and succeed in college.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.