Why You Need to Stop Comparing Your Marriage (And Do This Instead)

Marriage | Newlywed Advice

Comparing your marriage – are there any benefits?

Lately I’ve been coming across interesting pieces of marriage information which I’ve wanted to adopt for my marriage.

But upon closer inspection, I’ve realized that while the relationship advice is amazing, it’s not applicable in the season my husband and I are in.

Comparing your marriage is a huge bliss killer.Here's why, as a couple, you need to cultivate a sense of identity so you can quit comparing your marriage

Not too long ago similar revelation would left me panicked; scoring high on the distraught scale.

Being the growth enthusiast that I am, I’d have jumped on my still-young marriage (at the time of writing this post) pricking and probing looking for ways to make it better (as per what I’d read) convinced that unless I acted now, we’d suffer tons later.

Now while most people would laugh at my misplaced ‘enthusiasm’, I’ve come to learn that unfiltered marriage advice can make a character out of anyone of us.

Comparing your marriage vs finding what works for your marriage

Three weeks ago I wrote about finding what works for your marriage (and sticking with it)

I shared how in pursuit of growth, many people end up holding their marriages to unrealistic standards.

I am currently living in a new culture and on most days I am confronted by huge cultural differences.

I’ve discovered that if I am not careful, I get stuck on analysis mode.

Over-thinking and toiling over things that have no real bearing (or benefit) to my marriage right now.

Things that would most probably never work for us because we are different.

I am learning, once again, how be comfortable and happy in my own marriage skin.

What are you wrestling with?

You might not be wrestling with cultural differences and issues.

But you might be wrestling with identity.

Because that is what it comes down to really.

Knowing who you are as a couple, being comfortable in your own marriage skin, knowing God’s purpose for you as a couple.

Author Mark Gungor says that to have a thriving relationship, couples need to find out what is right with their spouse (and give it to them).

Not what is wrong.

Unfortunately most of us expend some our greatest marital energy trying to fix our spouses, trying to help them overcome their weaknesses.

We completely miss the fact that bliss finds us when we focus on our spouse’s strength (what is right with them, how God wired them), not what is wrong.

When we focus and revel in what is right with us as a couple, we thrive.

But when we go fishing for “what is wrong with you” (and well-intended) ideas, we wither.

How do you know what is right with you to begin with?

You ask your Creator.

Not books.

Or sermons.

Or blogs (ahem).

Not even mentors.

These other sources ought to confirm or encourage you towards something you already know.

Not until you find out who you are in God as a couple will  you know what works for you.

If you don’t know what works for you, you will be like a dust particle in the Kalahari desert, tossed to and fro, dragged around by the winds of comparison.

No other person knows what is going on your life and marriage.

My Facebook updates (oh are we friends yet? You can like my page!) or pins on Pinterest (I am on Pinterest too!) can be helpful, but they are not your source of truth or life.

Comparing your marriage is a huge bliss killer.Here's why, as a couple, you need to cultivate a sense of identity so you can quit comparing your marriage

God is

He has a plan for your life and your marriage.

When you spend time seeking Him and His plan, you will be anchored and better protected from the storms of comparison, envy and jealousy.

~

Are you wrestling with the overwhelm of new marriage and desperate for a step by step guide on how end the confusion, fussing, misunderstandings? Would you like to restore healing and happiness to your marriage? Or maybe you just want to understand marriage so you can love better, create the relationship of your dreams, God’s way. My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years can help! Pick it up here Amazon Paperback I Amazon Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF
Blues to Bliss - Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years

Photo by Sharefaith from Pexels

Linking with Marriage Mondays, Titus 2sdays, Messy Marriage, We are That Family, Wifey Wednesday

33 Comments

  1. I think comparisons are sometimes good and appropriate because they give us a context of reality. For instance, if I expected my wife to cook a 12-course gourmet meal every night, it might be worth comparing ourselves to others to realize that that expectation is totally off the deep end. But for most other times, comparison is actually a really bad idea. Particularly because we have such a bad idea about how other people’s marriages are. We tend to think they’re way better than they really are, which makes us feel horrible when we compare.

    1. It’s true Loren, there are times when comparison is good, but for the most part we tend to do it for the wrong reasons.

  2. thank you for your comment David. I really like what you’ve said about being people of encouragement. i find that if i am competing with somebody, it’s hard to be encouragement to them. thank you for that thought, it has me thinking!

  3. Awesome advice, Ngina, and I agree with you wholeheartedly! Those who compare themselves against themselves are not wise (and that is especially the case in marriage). Find what works for you and “work it!”

    1. Amen Fawn, I love that scripture, it’s been a running theme in our lives! – to remember to stay true to who we are – to find what works and work it! love that! thank you.

  4. Dave Arnold says:

    Nice Ngina! What an important message. Comparison is really deadly. And, as you said so well, if you don’t know who you are in Christ, you won’t be grounded. Well done!

  5. Candace @ candacecreates.com says:

    It’s easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves with others but this can be so deceiving. We are only seeing their “highlight reels” which can’t be compared to the dark days that we all have too as a couple. This makes us hold our marriages, as you said, “to unrealistic standards”. I definitely agree the best advice is go to our Creator and also to focus on all the wonderful things in our spouse. It is easy to find the negative in anyone, including ourselves. Thank you for a great lesson!

    1. “Highlight reels” 🙂 I like that description Candace. A good description of how we tend to compare ourselves with others. Foundation is so key..as well as focusing on the positives! Thank you for reading and sharing more on this.

  6. Great message. You hit the nail square on the head when you said, ‘seek the creator for your marriage vision,’ And when He reveals it, walk in its flow. We spend too much time listening to others advice instead of what God has already ordained. You said it best it is okay to listen to others, but filter it. As you clearly stated and I agree, these other sources ought to confirm or encourage you towards something you already know. If we follow God’s design for marriage we will have less failures and more marriage successes. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

    1. Amen and amen Bernard, thank you for the emphasis. i love what you’ve said “And when He reveals it, walk in its flow.” Understanding what God says and walking it out faithfully are often two different things. We need to be faithful to the things He has revealed in order to have the successes He has promised. thank you for sharing these thoughts

  7. Great advice!

    This is actually something God is speaking to me and my husband about. We don’t want to fit a “mold” that others have for us. We are a unique couple (as each couple is). We aren’t the “smith’s” or the “Jones'” (random, common names). We are the AVEY’s and God has a purpose for us! That purpose may not make sense to others, but that’s okay. We just have to be who God wants and let others be.

    You’ve stirred something in me! Thank you. I needed to read this more than you know.

    1. Love love how you’ve explained and personalized it TC! I feel stirred and so encouraged myself!

      I like also what you’ve said about letting others be…it’s not a competition, we are all running our own races. when we start focusing on what the other couple is doing over at their line, we stumble. Sure they can encourage, but we are not called to be similar in everything.

      Thanks for helping me think more on this too, i feel also encouraged!

  8. You give great advice!!! I loved reading this. I have long believed that to each his/her own when it comes to marriage. What might work for couple A might not work for couple B. Thanks for your words of wisdom. I feel blessed to have found your blog through the Happy Wives Club.

    1. Nicole i am blessed you came by and the thoughts here have encouraged you. So important to remember that we are unique, thank you for that emphasis, thanks for visiting via HWC

  9. I love this advice, Ngina – focusing on what is right in our marriage is so healthy. It’s a practical way to do the verse in the Bible that says rejoice always and to practice thanksgiving.

    I also love what you said about focusing on what the Bible says as opposed to books. The problem with all of us writers is that we can’t include everything that’s in the Bible in our writing (no one would ever read a book that long that wasn’t the Word of God!). We can only share what God has given us to share, but it’s just a tiny slice of the picture. To get the whole picture, we need to be taking in the whole Word of God.

    I used to read marriage books and think, “Oh, I have to make sure I have that perfect marriage, and if I don’t life will be terrible!” It wasn’t any of the authors faults – they were just giving me good tips. But I was forgetting about the rest of the Bible that said, life is about God, not about having the perfect marriage. I will give you abundant life – you don’t need a perfect marriage to have it, etc, etc.

    Anyway, I love the way you always bring us back to the Bible, Ngina, and also keep bringing up the whole picture. Can’t wait til you have a book out!

    1. Barb I love how you’ve broken it down here, this could make a great follow up post if this was a series 🙂 )

      About writing and writers, that’s so true, we can’t put down everything, we only touch on what we feel led to share on. still some of us (me included!) do try to take that and run with it without looking at everything in context, without looking at the big picture.

      thank you for bringing this up and elaborating so well. it’s blessed me. sometimes i have all these ideas and ‘opinions’ in my head and it encourages me to see that i am not the only one thinking that way.

      I can’t wait to have the book out too! I am learning to pace things though, cos i do want a book but also want to keep my mind too 🙂 thanks though, I am glad it’s a book you want to read 🙂

      1. That is so wise to pace yourself, Ngina. Far wiser than me. I made the mistake of saying I was going to get this Bible study published on my blog, then realized halfway through that I needed the Donut questions. So went to work on that, and now if I get the other study done, I’ll have published two books in three months – that’s crazy! It’s doable because I didn’t have much writing to do on the questions and mostly editing on the other, but I didn’t anticipate how much work the finishing touches, marketing, etc, would be. It’s one of those “wonderful” opportunities for growth. 🙂 But also exciting. I just got the Donut proof back and I like it – just need to make a few minor changes.

        1. Wow you are learning so much Barb! You are our treasure trove for writing and publishing processes 🙂 Glad the end draweth even more nigh for the book!

  10. I always appreciate how you strive to look inward first. That’s a lesson in humility that all of us can get better at. I know we touched on it last week, but it is immaturity that points fingers without considering the planks in our own eyes first… even in marriage. Excellent post, Ngina.

    1. It’s so hard to grow up sometimes Floyd! 🙂 yet that’s the way to greater growth and blessing and usefulness. thanks for the reminder once again, i need it.

  11. Since every individual and marriage is unique we should not compare our self to anyone else or another marriage. Though we can strive to have similar characteristics (like a passion for God, high ethics, motivational) as someone else. We should never say I want myself or marriage to be like _____. Great thoughts.

    1. I agree with you Dan, i really believe that better does not necessarily mean similar. we can be encouraged by someone we admire to become better, but we should feel ‘encouraged’ to be similar or exactly like them. if anything we need to strive to be better.. :), that’s actually something most mentors and teachers want of their students and mentees . thanks for sharing and adding more thoughts

  12. Lincoln Parks says:

    Amen, Ngina. Marriage and Leadership are pretty much the same. Ok, now I know that might have gotten a strange look but stay with me. I believe that in Leadership we are taught to work on our weaknesses to make ourselves better. If Oprah were to work more on her singing would her talk show be better? No, she worked relentlessly on her craft what her strengths were.

    If Andy Stanley worked more on dancing, would that make him more of an effective Communicator? No, so in Leadership you should work more on what your strengths are once you discover them not your weaknesses, and also in Marriage you should work on what brought you both together not what someone else says is weak and needs improvement. Keep getting better in marriage by discovering the other person’s likes, not dislikes. You hit it spot on, great post.

    1. Lincoln thank you for bringing this up as well. I wanted to include this thought in the post..but i had to decide which direction to take the post 🙂 I totally agree with you, focusing on weaknesses does not make us stronger, focusing on strengths does. Not that we are to ignore weaknesses but we don’t spend our best energies on them. Thank you for adding more thoughts and sharing the post, blessings

  13. Yes, comparison in marriage can do great damage! The problem with comparison is that we often don’t really know what the relationship problems are in another marriage, maybe their marriage is better than ours or maybe it just looks better on the surface. I once heard a pastor who said that he didn’t always like marriage conferences because there is often such a high standard shown that everyone goes home discontent with their marriage and their spouse.

    Just yesterday I was talking to a friend and I told him that he needs to worry less about how other marriages/families function in his church and just do what he knows he needs to do for his family. The reality is that every marriage and every family is unique. As a husband it is my responsibility to give my wife and my children what they need, not what someone else tells me they need or what I see another husband doing for his wife. I know my wife and kids better than anyone and I am uniquely able to provide for their needs.

    1. Thank you Caleb, this is so true

      Your thoughts do remind me of something someone shared in a comment on the blog sometime back – that you can’t compare the outside of someone else’s marriage to your inside. exactly how you’ve put it, the ensuing conclusion will be obviously skewed.

      I like what you shared with your friend, it’s something i too have to tell myself and be reminded of often. Cos so often i’ll be trying to go the bird in the bush forgeting what i have in my hand. ..and i end up losing both.

      Great tips and encouragement thank you so much for sharing

  14. I’ve had your blog in my reader for a few weeks now and have really been enjoying your posts. This one really hits the nail on the head. Knowing your identity in God is so key – especially in marriage. It’s a truth that is not told often enough. Great post.

    I mentioned you as my “new blog of the week” on my Facebook page.

    1. Thank you for reading and the mention on your page Scott, it’s such an honor.

      I am learning more and more important foundations are – knowing who we are in God as a couple makes all the difference.

  15. Very interesting! I’ve not really looked at things from this angle, Ngina. And I completely agree with the idea that we need to look to God to define our identity as a couple. He’s the only One who can help us discern what we need to do or not do in our particular marriage. Thanks so much for another thought-provoking post and encouragement to seek God above man’s wisdom!

    1. Glad the post helped you think more on this Beth. Being away from home and being in a new culture and country has been helping me learn and grow in this area. unless our foundations are right, we can’t build anything that will last. thank you so much for your thoughts and encouragement here, i appreciate you!

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