Love does not envy. ~ 1Corinthians 13:3
Oh, of course – (you’re telling me) – “I don’t envy my spouse…”
What is envy?
Don’t confuse the concept of envy with jealousy. Jealousy is fearing you’ll lose something precious.
Envy is wanting something someone else has – with no ill will intended.
I’m going to touch on something tender – this might feel a little bit like I’m prodding a sore spot. (I don’t mean to hurt you.) Most times we don’t want to envy our spouse – we fight against those thoughts. Or we hide them. Or we shove them down… deep.
Love does not envy.
Love does not envy means that when your spouse goes out of the house to pursue their career with a lunch at a fancy restaurant and adult conversation, and you’re looking at a day at home with cranky toddlers – there is no snarly niggle or creeping desire.
And conversely – when you are getting dressed in your corporate uniform, shoving your laptop into the case, and grabbing your coffee, and keys to scramble out the door because you’re late, once again – there is no sighing breath or mumbling grumble at your spouse who is still snuggled under the covers with the kids for a few more minutes of sleep, because love does not envy.
Love does not envy means that when your spouse and you are sitting at the dining table with your parents-in-law and everybody is laughing and reminiscing about a next-to-ideal childhood – you aren’t mentally wincing because your childhood left a lot to be desired.
Love does not envy means that when your spouse is praised by their peers for pulling off a great production/event, you don’t imagine how much better you could have done it if only you’d had the chance.
When one of you wins, but the other envies the win – you both lose.
We are unique individuals – created by an omnipotent, omniscient Creator. He is the Great Engineer. He gifted us with certain talents – with opportunities and struggles.
Who are we to envy what the Creator of Heaven and Earth has designed for our spouse?
What’s the opposite of envy?
So if envy means to desire something your spouse has – what’s the opposite?
Well-meaning, generous and kind-hearted. That’s the opposite of being envious.
Being generous instead of responding with envy takes effort – concentrated effort.
Being generous instead of responding with envy may take some wrestling in prayer. Over and over and over and over. And again.
Being generous instead of responding with envy may take some inner sorting – some acknowledgment of stuff we don’t want to believe we are harboring.
And finally – or perhaps to sum it up – responding with generosity instead of envy may take a leap of faith. And an inexplicable choice to just trust God’s will.
It may be simple – but it’s not easy.
Has envy ever crept into your marriage? (At least, that you’ve acknowledged?) How have you combated envy? Give generosity a try…
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