The Comparison Trap: Marriage

comparison 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Land of “Er”

“If I was pretty-er..”                   “If I was thin-er…”                         “If I was rich-er…”    

“If I had  more-er.”                   “If I was lucky-er..”                        “If I was smart-er..”

…I would be…Happy-er…Fun-er…Bett-er………..

I was recently listening to Andy Stanley. He preached a great lesson on the comparison trap and the Land of Er. While listening to this I realized there was a great connection for marriages. Read on as I share the connection and how your marriage can be healed.

Here’s a link to Andy Stanley’s messages: http://northpoint.org/messages/comparison-trap

Who do you compare yourself to?

Why do we compare ourselves to anyone?

Down deep inside is a part of us that needs to feel successful, accepted, and okay.

We just want to know we are OK. And how do we know we are OK? We compare ourselves to people around us that seem OK or not oK and we say “well I’m not as OK as that person, but I’m better than that person. So I am OK.” Because there is always someone better and always someone worse off.

And we compare everyone in our lives to other people too. We compare our children to everyone else’s children. “My children aren’t as smart as her kids.” “My children act better than her kids.” “My children can’t play sports like those kids.” “My son is…My daughter is…compared to….” “MY baby is prettier than all other babies!”

Who do the perfect parents compare their kids to?

Who does God compare you to? As his kid. He compares us to no one. He loves and accepts us just the way we are. You are not compared to sister so & so in the front pew. Your holiness or lack thereof or shortcomings are not compared to anyone.

When your child does something wrong you don’t love him less. When you correct him you do it for his own good. To help him live a better life as he grows up. You don’t expect him to know it all. You teach him and he develops good habits and such over time.

The Garden of Life

garden

I picture my life as a beautiful garden.

Each lesson that we learn is to pluck out the roots that cause the ugliness in our lives. Roots are being plucked out: Bitterness, unforgiveness, traumas, etc.

Think of your life as a garden. Do you want ugly weeds in your garden?

The light has to shine on it. Show that it’s there. Then we can deal with it with God’s help and healing.

We all want our Garden of Life to be beautiful-filled with joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness, purity, beauty, etc.

So is there one more root that has to come out?

Comparison

 

Parable of the Talents (money bags)

Matthew 25:14

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,a each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  • 1.    Each servant was distributed his portion to care for. Entrusted “his wealth”

2.    Each servant had to answer for his actions.

3.    Only one servant placed blame.

           a.       He was called “wicked and lazy”.

           b.     Can we be that way sometimes in our marriage? It’s easier to complain and criticize and compare than to do something positive?

4. Suffer the Consequences

           a.  Not living the way God intended results in frustration, fear, and torment.

           b.  And results in no peace.

How does this apply to marriage?

1.    God entrusted one of his most precious treasures to us–our spouse. God’s creation. Beautifully and wonderfully made. To love, honor and cherish. God’s Treasure.

2.    In the most holy bond on earth-husband and wife united as one.

3.    How we respond to what was “entrusted” is up to us. The blame is not on God if we feel we got a bad lot. We can’t say…if only my spouse was like ….. or…if only my spouse was this or that…

               a.    The 3rd servant blames the master for his actions. “If you had given me more I could have done more with it. I didn’t have the 5 or even the two.

                You gave me just one, how am  I to make that into something great?” With God all things are possible and maybe what you look at as a “bad lot” and less than ideal                   may be the best you could ever imagine if you changed your perspective. Sometimes it is our perspective that is off not God handing you a bad situation. Sometimes                its our own sin and mess ups we pay for. But even our own mess-ups can be made into something great if we fully rely on God to so something with it. 

4.    We compare our “lot” or “spouse” to others just like we do our house, car, job, money and our children.

            a.    We say “if my husband acted better I would act better” “If my wife was..” “If he acted like so & so…” “if wasn’t as lazy as…” or “if he would just do this …”

5.    Sometimes we contributed to the way our spouses respond to us through our own disrespect, dishonor, superiority, criticism.

Living in the Land of Comparison “ER” is dangerous. The grass is NEVER greener on the other side. That is a lie. 

How do we move out of the land of “Er”?

  1. Be thankful. Recognize that God gave you that husband. (and everything else you have). His precious treasure that he shares with you.
  2. Ask God to show you what you can learn with your spouse. There is always a lesson. God is developing something in you. Look for it. Learn it. Live it.

Peace will be found when you move out of the land of “Er”. That is what we seek. PEACE

The Christian life was never meant to be just a get out of Hell free card. Jesus didn’t just give his life for that. He gave his life so we could live free and abundantly. With peace and joy. In whatever situation it is.

Don’t just say “Oh, I can be thankful because my spouse could be a lot worse.”

Instead “I am thankful because my spouse is…” Be specific. If you can’t think of anything then because “he/she is loved by God and God will save him, renew him, etc.”

Don’t let the bitterness cause you to resent your marriage. Or cause you to blame God for everything wrong in your life or marriage.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for not treasuring my spouse, for not honoring him/her in my thoughts and actions. I repent for every blame I have ever put on you Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to be thankful for my spouse. Help me to praise him for things he does. Help me to recognize the gift and talents you have put in him. I repent for any resentment I may have. I trust in you Sovereign God that you give good things to your children and you do good for us all our days. I trust that my spouse is your Best for me. I will start to look at him/her in that way. I am willing to learn from him/her the lessons you want to teach me. Holy Spirit, show me what you will have me to learn.

If he/she is not saved I ask you to open his eyes and show him/her your truth. Help him/her to walk in your ways. Turn his/her heart to you. You change the heart of a man from stone to flesh. Change it Lord. Send someone to him/her to minister. Help me be the light that will shine for you and point to your grace and mercy every day.

I pray blessings over my spouse. That he/she is strong in you, that he/she is highly favored. That he/she hears your voice and follows you. That you protect him/her everywhere he/she goes. 

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