Marriage Blog: I Wish You Were…


A sinking boat.

It’s the only image that could come to mind when I hear couples use the comparison phrase:

“I wish you were more like…”

Each time it’s said, it’ s like another hole is being drilled in the bottom of a boat.  Every time the quote starts out, more water floods in…threatening to sink the vessel.

“I wish you were more like…”

When it comes to marriage, it’s very easy to compare your own to someone else’s.  It is not just seeing a couple you know holding hands, going out one a date, or making out in public. It’s in the sweet birthday Facebook posts or the anniversary tweets. In social media, there are a myriad ways people can publicly express their love to their partners and spouses so that everyone else can see and hear how much in love they still are.

We place ourselves in an unfair situation when we compare our relationship with another person’s.  It’s really like comparing apples and oranges. Because as much as we’d like to think that we’re getting the full picture of their relationship, we’re really only seeing small snippets of behaviors and interactions that could have all sorts of meanings.

You look at another marriage.  You compare your spouse to them. The thought forms in your mind and festers in your heart. If it’s not corrected, inevitably, it will come out of your mouth.

“I wish you were more like ________’s husband, he…
…listens to his wife.”
…really cares about his wife.”
…makes her feel special.”
…is romantic like you used to be.”
…takes care of himself better.”

“I wish you were more like ________’s wife, she…
…listens to her husband.”
…is affectionate with her husband.”
…doesn’t speak to her husband like that.”
…takes care of herself better.”

Marital comparison kills marriages.  It deteriorates the integrity of the vessel/marriage.  We get frustrated with what other people have and then we fire off the phrase…

“I wish you were more like…”

These words are not constructive.  They’re manipulative.

Are you guilty of saying it? Are you guilty of thinking it?

The truth is that you have absolutely no idea what’s really going on behind closed doors. I’ve learned that what we’re seeing (at parties, dinners, on Facebook, and on TV) are just snapshots and highlight reels of what people want to share.

Why do we have to be someone else?  More specifically, why does our spouse have to be someone else? I’m not against personal growth/maturity and marital development. But why can’t we be…well ourselves.  Be the marriage and the people Christ created us to be.  Imagine if every prayer time was filled with the Holy Spirit speaking to us “I wish you were more like (insert someone’s name).” But he doesn’t do that to us.  In fact, we are not called to model and reflect any one person except the person of Jesus Christ.  It says in 2 Corinthians 3:18:

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and REFLECT the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Would you change something today? Would you deal with the marital envy in your life? Would you stop praying for your spouse to change to be more of who YOU want them to be?

Pray this:

God change me today.  Let what my spouse sees in me be Christ in me.  Let me attitude and my actions reflect the person and the character of who Jesus is.  Forgive my wandering eyes of envy deterring me from the joy you want me to have with my spouse.  Help me to find my contentment not in what I obtain but in who you are. Bless my spouse today. I ask not for the change I desire to see with my own eyes, but the change you desire to do within his/her life. Holy Spirit, develop in his/her life the character of Christ.  Let his/her life shine with the reflection of the glory of the Lord and not the reflection of what I think he/she should be.  Thank you for my wife/husband. I thank you that he/she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  I thank you for placing him/her in my life.  Help me to walk in thankfulness towards him/her.  Amen

Does the phrase “I wish you were…” consume your thoughts? If so, marital envy is knocking at the door, desiring to sink your marriage.

Take a step back.  Pray over your heart.  Pray for your spouse.  And let the Holy Spirit do the change in your spouse you’ve been trying so hard to do.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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