Friday, June 14 2024 - 9:55 AM
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Beware of Jealousy

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, jealousy is being “resentfully suspicious of rivalry (like your lover); resentfully envious which is being discontent or ill-will over another’s advantages or possessions, a desire for something that another has.” Let me add that jealousy is an artful form of manipulation, sometimes involving an innocent party. Since this innocent party is usually clueless about the game, you are sending a false message to them. Although the focus of this message is directed toward romantic relationships, the principles discussed are appropriate for all types of personal interactions.

Before exploring the question of this article, let’s discuss what you desire in the relationship of your dreams. Would you want your relationship to be caring, tender, honest, open, trusting, with much sharing and exclusive? If you are like most people, you do desire those qualities. When you try to make your partner jealous, do you get those qualities just mentioned that describe the relationship of your dreams?

Using Jealousy

Maybe you occasionally use jealousy to spice things up when the doldrums occur, and you need more activity or attention. If you feel insecure in the relationship or feel that your partner’s attentions are divided, is there any other tactic that may be used? Although this is a game that lovers often play, it can create feelings of distrust, resentment, or abandonment.

Undoubtedly, many will report that jealousy works for them, and they are finally getting attention, such as frequent phone calls and their favorite flowers. Is this behavior sustained, or do you have to play the game repeatedly? Realize that when jealousy enters the picture, more insecurity and distrust abound. Neither of these is a springboard for a nurturing environment.

Self-Inventory and Wise Choices

We learn from the Bible the awful acts committed against Joseph, whose brothers were jealous of him (Genesis 37). In Proverbs 6:37, “For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.” This seemingly harmless act can reap havoc. The best remedy is to do some self-inventory and make wise choices.

Some Self-directed Questions

Ask yourself these probing questions: Did you use this tactic in previous relationships? What were the results? Are you too needy? Have you wounded the spirit of your partner, and they are withdrawing? Are you willing to address the negative actions that could be causing distance between you two? Do you participate in your partner’s interests and listen intently to things they are involved in at work or play? Is your partner giving signals that they are not as interested in you as before? Is your partner genuinely giving you signs that they are enamored with someone else?

After asking yourself the above questions, make sure you give your partner space to be an individual. Unless they have crossed the boundaries—that hopefully you have discussed—then lighten up.

There’s Hope

However, if you are still feeling a tad bit of jealousy, there’s hope. I came across this article written by Mitch Slomiak entitled “Coping with Jealousy.”1 Here’s a brief version of that article to help you with your feelings:

1) Be kind to yourself; the presence of jealousy does not mean the end. Be patient and take this time to pay closer attention to yourself.

2) Do not panic! Jumping your partner with insults and accusations could jeopardize an already shaky relationship. Give it a little time to better understand what is occurring in your relationship.

3) Communicate with your partner and keep these lines open. Express your concerns about how you feel.

4) Study the times when jealousy occurs, such as your thoughts.

5) Ask your partner for what you need and try to negotiate. Be open to their suggestions.

One Last Thought

If the person insists on giving inappropriate attention to someone else after you have confronted them and tried to address specific issues, then you must, after much prayer, allow them to be free. After all, you want to be in a relationship with a person who wants to be with you without being forced or obligated to be with you.

1 Corinthians 13:4 confirms this, “love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful.” Real love will demonstrate the attributes you want, and you won’t have to artfully manipulate the situation or use jealousy to get the desired love and attention.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy Learning to Forgive 

Donna Smith writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Donna Smith

Donna Smith

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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