Have you heard the phrase – Compare and despair?
It means that you compare yourself to someone else (usually some facade version of the person and not their actual reality) and feel like you do not measure up. You probably are doing it somewhere in your life and somewhere in your marriage. I do it all the time without even realizing it half the time. It may look like this:
Why can’t my marriage look like theirs?
Why can’t my husband act like hers?
Why cant I be a good wife like her?
Why don’t my kids act like those?
Her house it always clean.
Her kids always look so put together.
A faith transition can bring up a whole new level of comparing to others and their relationships.
When we fall into this pattern of thought and compare ourselves or our relationships to others it feels pretty BAD. Here is why:
Compare and Despair causes us to feel isolated or alone.
Our brains automatically seem to default to negative comparisons unless we train them otherwise. An untrained brain may frequently think some of the following:
We must be the only couple in the ward dealing with a faith transition.
We must be the only couple who has this problem.
No one else has to deal with this.
As you can imagine, these thoughts are not going to help you feel connected or that your life is normal.
Compare and Despair Contains an Inherent Fallacy
We think our marriage can be perfect. We think there should never be any problems. We think this should not be happening. We think all the problems should be fixed. We don’t expect our relationship to have hiccups. We don’t expect imperfection. Are you noticing a pattern here?
This is actually kind of crazy – two humans living together is NOT a recipe for perfection, but that is so very often what we expect.
We expect great conversations, great dates, great sex, great everything.
Needless to say it leads to disappointment and frustration.
Maybe you have a normal marriage? Maybe normal means you have marriage with ups and downs, one with two imperfect people just doing their best?
Compare and Despair Makes Us Feel Unworthy
Sometimes when we think our marriage isn’t perfect we make it mean we have done something wrong or we are wrong. I call this the “bad wife syndrome.” This means we frequently tell ourself that we are a bad wife because we just don’t measure up.
Have you ever thought that you have to have a perfect marriage to be worthy or you have to be a perfect wife to be worthy?
Have you considered that this may NOT BE TRUE. Your marriage does not reflect or create your worthiness. It is inherent in you. No accomplishment or achievement impacts your worthiness. Your worthiness is inherent in who you are.
Coaching can help you recognize where you may be comparing and despairing.