Envy is a tough one. The dictionary defines it as “a feeling of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”* Here is my take on envy.
There are times when one person envies another. In my experience working with married couples, I have found that envy seldom transpires between a husband and a wife. Usually in a marriage we celebrate each other’s possessions, qualities, and luck (blessings). These things typically benefit both the husband and the wife and are seen as positive by both. But what if a husband and wife envy someone else or another couple? What if the best friend’s spouse gets a big raise and they move to a bigger, fancier house? What if the next-door neighbor gets a new car and you and your spouse are both driving clunkers? What if a friend’s wife gets pregnant with their third child and you are struggling with infertility? When circumstances like these happen, envy can rear its ugly head. In our culture, envy borne out of examples like these is very prevalent and can be very destructive.
The opposite of envy is contentment, and I believe therein lies our answer to envy. Contentment is being satisfied with what we have and the circumstances we are in. It is not being driven by what our neighbor has or does not have. It is watering the grass where we are instead of looking at the greener grass wherever it is. We can always find someone who has something that we wish we had. We can also always find someone who has less than we do. The key to contentment is landing in the middle. It is enjoying who we are and what we have. It is embracing the blessings God has bestowed on us.
Envy puts us on a cycle of discontentment, which is not a healthy way to live either a life or a marriage. Is envy controlling your life? Why not bring that before God today and let Him fill your heart with contentment?
Dr. Kim’s new book, 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage, will help you deal with envy and move your marriage forward like you never dreamed possible.
*Source: Oxford Dictionary Online, s.v. “envy,” accessed July 15, 2015, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/envy.