Stop Comparing Yourself

Written by J. Greenwood

We got married at a time when oodles of our friends and family were also tying the knot.  It was only shortly after our wedding that my husband started battling mental illness.  Here I also met some new monsters of my own:  resentment, irritation, and envy.  Watching other couples experiencing the “newlywed bliss” and the “honeymoon phase” was hard because we didn’t get one – what I would’ve given to argue about leaving the toilet seat up or how much to spend on groceries!

A wise friend gave me a few frank and important reminders.  First, people are not always as happy and perfect as they look.  We all want a nice, put together looking life.  Social media is the worst for this.  For heaven sakes, just log out for a while.  Nothing is as pretty as it looks on the outside.          

Wise friend also pointed out that I am not unique.  Every couple will encounter crap in their lives and marriages.  No one is exempt from disagreement, pain, and suffering.  Some couples reach major life hurdles 10, 15 or 30 years into their marriage, ours happens to be in the first few years.

Theordore Roosevelt once said, “Don’t let comparison steal your joy.”  I think my wise friend would agree with Teddy.  Not letting comparison steal your joy is a useful lesson for life and marriage in general, but it is especially relevant to marriage to a spouse who is experiencing mental illness.

When too much time is spent comparing, you lose sight of the things that make your relationship special and beautiful.  Remember all those snapshots?  Yours are unique and wonderful, and they will disappear if you focus on everyone else’s lives.  

Love does not envy, it does not boast.  Relationships don’t exist to be on display; they aren’t just for fun and companionship, they are meant to have someone to walk through the difficult seasons with, which is exactly what we are trying to do.