The Consuming Passion Of Jealousy

Have you ever heard your parents refer to jealousy as the green eyed monster? Or comments like “her jealousy is driving me crazy.” A wife will say “she was a major flirt with my husband. I didn’t like her from the start. The moment he saw her I knew that he was attracted to her.” We become jealous of our siblings our neighbors and even friends. When wallowing in anger and self pity we allow our jealousy to consume our emotions. Even to the point where it will ruin relationships and hurt our marriages.

So what exactly is jealousy? Well jealousy and envy go hand in hand. It is a toxic mix of anger, anxiety-based insecurity and an obsessive habit of comparing yourselves to others. There also can be a root of fear. The fear of losing love, praise or affection. This usually involves three people. The jealous person becomes fixated with a rival. Which by the way most of the time is misperceived. While the rival is sometimes the object of intense hatred and opposition it will always spill over and affect our relationships. Jealousy causes many divorces, broken family relationships and even failed business partnerships.

The Bible says that “Destructive jealousy is like a torrent if it is not tamed and overcome.” {Proverbs 27:4} Obsessive, fixated, consuming love that is “strong as death” easily produces a powerful jealousy that is “as cruel as the grave.” {Song of Solomon 8:6}. Jealousy isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. In the Bible God is described as a jealous God. {Ex. 34:14}. God is jealous for His church and Paul in {1 Cor. 10:20-22} warns us not to provoke God’s jealousy by turning away from Him to idols.

Marriage or any deep commitment to a relationship will always create a strong feeling of attachment. So in this case the absence of some jealousy can mean that the person doesn’t care to the commitment of the relationship. Obviously there is a good reason to be jealous when a spouse displays secretive behavior and spends a lot of time outside the home. Unresolved issues from the past can contribute to this also. A very jealous partner will use self-pity, lies, threats and manipulation to control the relationship.

So how do people overcome jealousy before it reaches a breaking point? Here are four ways to do that. First by listening to others. So if a friend comments on your jealousy, it’s probably true. So the first step is to face it. Second, be honest with yourself. Most people will say “I’m not jealous.” Instead ask yourself. “Do I try to manipulate or control the person I love.” “Am I pushing them away?” “Am I causing them to doubt me and why?” The third point is that it is very important to spend time with God. Pray and ask God to reveal the truth. You must ask Him to transform the need of security into dependence and confidence on Him. The last point, transform the loved one in your mind. Show them love and think about what special things you could do. A phone call, a touch or a gift can do wonders to a relationship. Remember jealousy can even destroy the strongest marriage. Guard your relationship so you will not be sowing the seeds of jealousy.


Paula W. Thomas, BMHC

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