Jealousy is one of the most common emotions in human beings. It’s also one of the most painful and destructive. In a marriage, jealousy often becomes unbearable for both spouses. While jealousy can destroy a marriage, it doesn’t have to.
In a recent article on the Huffington Post, Dr. Terri Orbuch offers some insight into jealousy and offers some advice on how to stop jealousy from destroying your marriage.
In my study of couples married 25 or more years, none of the husbands and wives who described themselves as happy reported being concerned that their spouse was attracted to other people By contrast, nearly one in five of the unhappy couples in the study said they ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ felt worried or mistrustful. Clearly, there’s a connection between trust and satisfaction in a marriage.”
As you can see, jealousy has a definite impact on the quality and safety of your marriage.
The first task in overcoming it is to understand what type of jealousy is the problem.
Jealousy comes in two forms: reactive, which you feel in response to an actual threat to the relationship; and suspicious, when your fears do not match the facts at hand. This distinction is important: Almost everyone feels reactive jealousy when they realize a partner has been unfaithful, but people differ in whether they feel suspicious jealousy.”
This suspicious jealousy is the one that can damage a marriage where no one has been unfaithful or given the other partner reason to suspect them of it.
Dr. Orbuch explains that this type of jealousy usually stems from insecurity caused by something in your past, such as abandonment by a parent, trauma, abuse or being bullied as a child. It can also come from body image issues, feeling unneeded by your children as they grow up and move out or being too dependent on your spouse.
For the spouse who is jealous, Dr. Orbuch suggests talking openly with your mate about your feelings and perhaps seeking counseling. For the spouse of the jealous person, she advises that you listen with compassion, try to identify any innocent behaviors that can feed the jealousy and reassure your partner with both words and actions.
Jealousy can destroy your marriage if it goes unchecked, but if you work together, you can work through it and build a stronger, healthier relationship.