The pitfalls of playing the comparison game in marriageWritten by Jamie Driggers
What's inside this article
My friends’ husbands do the most extraordinary things. Things that leave me shaking my head in wonder. Laundry, for example. Dishes. One husband makes pancakes on Saturdays, and another makes pies from scratch. They change the empty toilet paper roll and go grocery shopping.
Sure, none of these husbands does the entire list, or even most ofit. But for years, when I heard a friend mention something at which herhusband excelled, later I would find myself in asnit that myhusband didn’t even know where to find the soap. My cool greeting whenhe would come through the door after work must have left him wonderingwhat had happened.
I have a tendency to hear the best about another husband and compareit to the worst of mine, completely ignoring the rest of the story. Ihear what I need to hear to make my case.
Dirty laundry and the golf widow
I remember the first time I recognized my selective blindness. I’dvisited a friend who was annoyed because her husband had stepped over afull laundry basket rather than taking it to the laundry room andthrowing a load in the washer. I remember thinking that to have herhusband acknowledge the basket of laundry by stepping over it wasmiraculous in itself. The fact that she thought he might wash it meanthe did sometimes, and that impressed me even more. I attempted to looksympathetic to her plight, but I’m not sure I succeeded.
Later in the conversation, she mentioned her husband was playinggolf – for the fourth time that week. She wasn’t the least bit botheredby it, but I was in shock.
I kept my thoughts to myself, but later that afternoon, any time thelaundry basket scenario came to mind and I considered being jealous, Ifound myself also thinking,Well, at least Brent doesn’t ditch me for the golf course. In fact, on the rare occasion he does golf, he takes me along.
While I replayed other portions of the conversation, I found myselfthankful for many of Brent’s attributes. Brent talks to me. I get theplay-by-play, even when I don’t ask for it. And not only does Brenttalk to me, but he also listens. He will even ask when I’m on a rantwhether I need a sounding board or a solution before he responds to mydilemma.
Brent follows only one team per sport, and he intentionally doesn’tplay fantasy sports because he knows his tendency to obsess. He treatsme as his intellectual equal and values my intuition and advice. Bestof all, he encourages my dreams and ideas no matter how far-fetched,and he has much more faith in me than I have.
Better than pancakes
I chose my husband for reasons far greater than pancakes on Saturdaymorning, and I knew his failings long before we married. I have toremember that every one of those men who has talents my husband lacksalso has quirks that I mercifully don’t have to endure in Brent.
Besides, the woman who talked about her husband making pancakes wasreally talking about the maple syrup that splattered all over thekitchen. I can be thankful my husband didn’t stickify my kitchen . . .or I can obsess over the fact that Brent doesn’t cook, or . . . I canjust listen to her story and laugh, because her story has nothing to dowith my husband.
So whenever I’m faced with yet another duty at which a friend’shusband succeeds, I try to keep things in perspective. Brent has someremarkable attributes, and if I were to stack him up against any one ofmy friends’ husbands, I’d still choose him.
Even if it means I’m perpetually on laundry duty.
© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.
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