Theodore Roosevelt is apparently the source of the well loved quote “Comparison is the thief of joy“. Teddy was a great thinker, and lover of nature and politics, and in this case he was absolutely correct. Why? Because it’s true, and believe it or not, it applies to your marriage as well. How, you ask? Let’s see….
There are rural villages in Africa where the wealthiest person is considered wealthy because they own a radio, while no one else does. Or a bicycle. Or a fishing knife. In essence, wealth is a matter of perspective. Many people who grew up in what is considered poverty today, claim that they never even knew they were poor until someone showed up and told them they were. Usually someone who had a lot more stuff.
This same phenomena has been pointed out as being rampant in the social media community. Commonly referred to as “comparing your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlights reel”, it is an affliction that has invaded every aspect of our modern lives. Including our relationships.
Think about it. Your friend posts everything her husband does for her on Facebook. And he’s a romantic, so the list seems endless – unexpected flowers, love notes tucked in her briefcase, the whole shebang. It makes you jealous. And it makes you wish your husband was more romantic and less predictably pragmatic. Suddenly your spouse seems like less of a catch.
Be it better looking, more affectionate, less of a workaholic, more romantic, or possessing a less critical eye for household chores, most people would agree that there are things about their spouse that they would change, given half a chance. Which, to be honest, is pretty normal. But that is not the same thing. In the same way that a cozy little home suddenly looks cramped and small when compared to a sprawling mansion, one’s spouse can start to look “not good enough” when compared to other people’s spouses.
Perspective is everything. How you look at something determines how you feel about it.
In the same way, when you start to focus on your spouse’s failings, they become the only things you see. This in turn can lead to dissatisfaction and loss of happiness. In essence: comparison is the thief of joy. So how does one combat this slippery slope? Simple. It’s all in your head….
The first thing you need to remember is that no one is perfect. Yes, obviously that includes your spouse, but it also includes that seemingly perfect husband or wife that someone else has. And you may never know what makes them imperfect, (alcoholism, a bad temper, lazy, self-absorbed, it could be anything) but it’s a fact and you have to accept it.
Secondly, you need to focus on the positive. Instead of spending time every day thinking about what is wrong with your spouse, or what you would change, put your focus on the things that you like about them. Are they hard working, kind, a great parent, neat and tidy, generous?…. whatever it is, focus on it! The more you keep your attention on the things you love about your spouse, the happier and more loving you will feel towards them.
So don’t let comparisons steal the happiness out of your marriage. Focus on the good stuff and the rest will follow. If however, you’ve discovered that the good things you need to focus on are in frighteningly short supply, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We can help you prepare your exit strategy and prepare for your new future.