Jealousy. That nasty word. We’ve all experienced it, but no one really likes to talk about it. I’m about to get real. Have you ever had a moment of jealousy? If your answer is no, well, your not part of the human race.
I’m married to a handsome man with big muscles. I won’t lie, some women can get downright giddy around my man, and have gotten to the point where they think I’m not in the room when they try to get his attention, even though I’m standing right beside him. I secretly want to sneak a laxative in some cookies and hand them a couple dozen.
Even men admire my husband more than they do me. It can be humbling. We were standing at the towel station by our hotel pool in Miami. I was signing our towels out on the sheet that the Hollywood-movie-star looking man had handed me, when I heard him say to me, “I remember you from last year.” I looked up in surprise and realized he was looking at Vance… ya, I get that a lot.
A few days later we were eating supper at one of the outdoor restaurants, and a man came over to our table and said, “Are you a movie star?”
“Yes, I’m Angelina Jolie,” is what I wanted to tell him, but he wasn’t looking at me … he was talking to Vance.
The next evening we went for dinner at our favorite, way-too-pricey, organic restaurant. The waiter served us, as we sat on the outdoor veranda overlooking the lush gardens. Then he mentioned to Vance that the staff was talking in the kitchen and said they remembered him from last year, due to his big muscles. I was dressed pretty snazzy, I wasn’t in my pajamas and even had lipstick on. Seriously, why does no one remember me? Vance tells me if I was six-foot-four and two hundred and fifty pounds, like him… people would remember me.
That always makes me feel better.
A year ago, when my whole body was out of whack and unhealthy, I became paranoid… very paranoid. I thought my man desired every woman who looked his way or spoke to him. It was so out of hand, I called a local counselor, but when I got the answering machine… I chickened out and hung up. I knew what I was feeling wasn’t normal. I then began to beg God to take this paranoia from me. I didn’t tell a single friend that I was going through this because I was so embarrassed and didn’t feel like exposing my outrageous behavior.
My husband also didn’t tell anyone, he carried this burden alone. It was a long road we went down together, but it caused me, in the end, to love my man even more. He has stuck with me through thick and thin and tried even harder to prove to me there was no reason to be jealous.
When we found out our house was contaminated with mold and had it all removed and I took care of some other health issues, my health improved to the point where I was no longer paranoid. I was back to my normal self, and my husband didn’t have to live in constant worry that I was looking over his shoulder.
I don’t know what your marriage is like or if you’re going through what we went through, but this is a conversation that spouses need to have with each other, a counselor, pastor or a close trusted friend. Our physical health can deeply affect our mental health and marriage. But most of us are afraid to talk to anyone, worried they will judge us for being jealous and won’t understand.
I went to Nova Scotia a few weeks ago to visit my ninety-four-year-old grandmother and my other relatives, I was gone twelve days. While I was away, Vance was here alone with Kyle, our twenty-seven-year-old son who has autism. I am usually the one who makes Kyle’s breakfast and packs his lunch. Vance, on the other hand, showers Kyle and mops and cleans his room in the morning. He is also running a logging business from his phone in the morning, while he is doing this. When I am gone, he has to play the master juggler roll.
I was vacationing, while he was working and caregiving. Vance has never been fond of being away from me. Not because he’s jealous, but because he’s devoted. Each year he agrees to take over my duties so that I can have time with my grandmother and his sacrifice does not go unnoticed.
Last year when I went away, it almost undid him. Kyle hit a bad spell right after I left. He spent every night wandering the house, getting into the cupboards and fridge, then climbing the stairs and throwing everything off the balcony and down into the great room. Vance went a week with hardly a wink of sleep. I worried constantly and offered to fly home early, but Vance told me to stay. When I came back he had big bags under his eyes and looked exhausted. He looked at me with droopy eyes and said, “You’re never going away again!”
This year I didn’t want to mention that it was that time of year again. Vance brought it up and asked me if I was going to go visit my grandmother. Kyle has been sleeping the past few months quite well, so my husband was feeling confident it would be different this year. Kyle was excellent while I was visiting my loved ones and I relaxed during my stay. Why would I have been jealous of a man who sacrifices continually for my happiness?
Even though we can have amazing spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends who would do everything in their power to do what’s best for us, we can still be jealous and doubtful of their devotion. Vance has not been a jealous husband, or he wouldn’t trust me to go away for twelve days without him. I am grateful for that because it would have smothered me if he were. Trust is crucial for a good relationship. If you don’t have it, your relationship may not survive. Who wants to be with someone who is always questioning their every move. It’s exhausting! Believe me, my man was put through the wringer when I was paranoid.
When I came home from Nova Scotia, he picked me up off my feet and kissed me as though he hadn’t seen me in ten years. He sends me to see my grandmother because he knows it is beneficial for her and also for me. It is a sacrifice on his part, and there is really nothing in it for him, other than knowing he has allowed a granddaughter and grandmother one more visit that may be their last.
Some of you are probably feeling angry right about now because you do have a spouse or significant other who causes you to be jealous. Is this wrong? No, it’s not. You have every reason to be jealous if they have a wandering eye.
When I was twenty-one years old and only wed for a couple of years, I was sitting in the back of a car with a woman in her forties. Her husband was at the grocery store grabbing something they needed. When he came out of the store and hopped into the vehicle, he turned to his wife and said,” I saw ____ in the store, boy is she hot!” I was mortified. I looked at his wife, and her shoulders slumped, and she hung her head. I knew the women he was talking about, she was my age. I was always leery of him after that and felt sympathetic towards his devoted wife.
I have also seen the opposite, women who flirt with every man they come in contact with. Some of them were married women. I was strolling through the grocery store one day, when I came upon the woman I had seen before, she wore wedding rings. It seemed every time I saw her in the store she was shamelessly flirting with one of the men who worked there. On this particular day, she was standing almost nose to nose with one of the men from the meat department and had his tie in her hands as she was batting her eyelashes at him. I thought to myself, “Her poor husband.” Now I could be wrong maybe her husband is a shameless flirt too, either way, she was making a fool of herself.
Is jealousy always wrong? According to the Bible, God is a jealous God. If we worship false god’s or put people, money or fame ahead of him, he has righteous jealousy.
He understands jealousy and a desire to have someone devoted to you and you alone. He wants his children devoted to him and only him, he wants to be the only God you follow. His jealousy is righteous. He is sympathetic towards people who have an unfaithful spouse.
The good news? Some couples are probably going through this, also, you are not alone. I am speaking out, hoping this gives you the encouragement you need to get help, and to show you someone else understands the pain of jealousy and has come out the other side with an even stronger marriage. It’s good to ask for help, I wished I had reached out to a friend, but in the end, my husband and God carried me through.
Now that you know one of my embarrassing secrets, if I can tell the whole world about my vulnerable moments, I’m hoping you can put your fear aside and get help too! Hopefully, It will strengthen your relationship and help ease your pain and anxiety.
My hope is Vance, and I will be sitting on our front porch when we are in our 90’s watching our family milling about our yard, knowing our devotion, trust and love lead to a long and happy marriage.
Having a marriage that is built on trust and loyalty, will cause a person to bloom and grow within the safe and loving boundaries of that relationship. I love how my man trusts me, and in return, I needed to gift him with the same faith he offered me.
If your jealousy is ruling your thoughts and emotions and is just paranoia, give it over to God today, he wants to deliver you and bring you to the point where you can trust your spouse and have a marriage that can last a lifetime.
Believing and hoping
* Vance commented that this post makes him look like a saint, so I told him I’d leave the link to my book Beauty from Ashes, so you can also read about his other side 😉