When you walked down the aisle what did you envision your life looking like in 5 or 10 years? Did you picture yourself becoming jealous? I sure didn’t. In fact, until recently I still didn’t think of myself as having an issue of jealousy in marriage. Then in an in-depth study through 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 God showed me how this command, love is not jealous, intersects with my marriage troubles.Fighting to be sure love is not jealous and that there is no unhealthy jealousy in your marriage is a choice as simple as 1-2-3. Learn how here! Click To Tweet
Love Is Not Jealous, What Does it mean?
We are in the middle of an in-depth word study looking at each of the verbs in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act disrespectfully or unbecomingly; it does not seek it’s own, is not provoked to anger, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, enduring all things. Love never fails.“
What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 13? Over the course of this series, we are exploring each verb. We will see who said love is patient and kind. Together we will learn what kind of love is used in 1 Corinthians 13 and explore What does 1st Corinthians Chapter 13 say as it applies to marriage.
This week the verb phrase is, ‘love is not jealous‘. Jealous feels like an evil word doesn’t it? It also feels vague so let’s define it.
Love is not Jealous is not easily defined. When looking at the love is not jealous meaning we must examine the verb tense of jealousy which is best explained in two parts.
- Envy -you have what I want.
- Covet -I hate that you have that and wish I had it and you did not.
1 Corinthians is specifically speaking of jealousy over spiritual gifts. The church at Corinth was vying for position based on who had what gift. Paul is trying to get them to stop competing with each other. He wants them to be happy that there are so many gifts to help the body function well. (Philppians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5-6 & Galatians 5:13-15)
Competition In Marriage
If you knew Bud you wouldn’t say that he is competitive… but he is with me. He is quick to point out that I cannot park straight (I really can’t Y’all). He claims he is a parking expert compared to me.
I am also competitive with him, though I wouldn’t have admitted that until a few years ago.
- I want to be independent.
- Most of my life has been spent to prove my worth apart from “a man”.
I still actively wrestle for independence and where it fits with my calling as a wife and mother in relation to Biblical discipleship because it is not Biblical at all.
Related Post: 16 Characteristics of a Godly Marriage
Fighting Competition in Marriage
It is a little scary when I realize how far the cultural worldview has worked in my life! God’s way of living and doing marriage is dramatically different and I’m not sure my need for independence really features into it!
Love is not jealous means I have to actively fight the drive for competition and independence in marriage.
To show love to my husband without jealousy, instead of competing with him or feeling bent out of shape when he competes with me, I need to acknowledge areas where he is better than I am. Yes, there are areas!
It is also critical to acknowledge that our husbands have a need for admiration and appreciation. When I am competing with him I deny him those things.
Related Post: When Cultural Marriage Advice Fails God Has the Way
Fighting To Be Sure That Love Is Not jealous
How do we fight this natural instinct of competition and independence in marriage?
I need to meet his needs, rather than competing with him or tearing him down because we are different. And Y’all, it is a fight to choose to respond rather than react!
This is a choice. Choose love first.
How To Choose To Love My Husband Without Jealousy
Pick one area to admire and appreciate your husband this week instead of competing jealously with him. To tight the jealously I feel, I choose to change my reaction.
- Step back from anger
- at his pointing out a weakness.
- Step into appreciation
- of his keen observation skills (try to do it with a straight face)
- Step into admiration
- of his talent (maybe to park the car straight and all that must mean to him).
- Add a bit of sweet and sassy
- to deflect the fight that is brewing in him.
And Y’all, this conversation (and many others like it) comes up repeatedly – so I get to practice and get better often! I bet you will too.
Community in Marriage
Stay connected to other wives. This is key for living out love in marriage!
Have you joined the private marriage FB group? This is a wonderful community of wives standing together to do marriage God’s way! We’d love to meet you there and work together to be more loving in marriage!
Forgiveness in Marriage
Y’all, I know I come back to this, again and again, but this is yet another area where we have to spend time working on forgiveness in marriage.
Right?!?!?! That competitive drive or jealousy in either of us can cause us to say and do things that hurt. And if we are not forgiving, it builds up into resentment and bitterness that stops us in our tracks! Let me share the steps I follow to get to a place of forgiveness in this free guide below.
Is God Jealous?
One response to this marriage exercise I have heard is that God is jealous and so it is good for us to have some jealousy in marriage. I want to address this for a moment because there is some confusion about the jealousy of God.
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:24 NASB
How is God Jealous?
God’s jealousy is righteous jealousy toward believers who are worshiping other gods. He longs for us to worship Him alone much the same way that you would expect your husband to be faithful to you, God expects us to be faithful in worshiping Him alone.
The truth is that while God is love, God is also many other things. God is Jealous. God is Just.
Of all the many things God is we see jealousy or justice and get confused. Rest assured that the jealousy of God fits perfectly with the love of God.
As we’ve looked at each verb describing love in 1 Corinthians 13 we could easily say that God is all of these things first and we are following His example.
Take for example the love is patient meaning, God is so very patient with us bearing with us well in the face of great unfaithfulness to Him. God is jealous when we step out of Him and give our hearts to other things. You could say God is a jealous lover. He is the lover of our soul and expects faithfulness from us.
Is Jealousy A Sign of Love?
In the same way God expects faithfulness, it is right to expect faithfulness in marriage. Jealousy in that way is a healthy sign of love. When there is evidence that your spouse is tempted to be unfaithful, jealousy comes out of us. What is critical in that situation is to set firm boundaries and get help early before temptation leads to sin and betrayal.
Remember that love does not dishonor others. Unfaithfulness dishonors others but so does distrust when there is no cause. For some, jealousy is a character issue that doesn’t need provocation. If your spouse has given no reason to believe there is the temptation to unfaithfulness be sure you are taking your jealousy to God.
Are You Fighting To Be Sure Love Is Not Jealous In Marriage?
Fighting to be sure love is not jealous and that there is no unhealthy jealousy in your marriage is a choice as simple as 1-2-3.
- Play and affirm.
- When competition comes up try to enjoy it with a playful spirit and find ways to affirm your spouse rather than giving in to the jealousy.
- Stay connected to other wives.
- Have you joined the private marriage FB group? This is a wonderful community of wives standing together to do marriage God’s way! We’d love to meet you there and work together to be more loving in marriage!
- Forgive easily.
- Letting go of offenses when they occur goes a long way in keeping a healthy marriage.
As you work through this study I’d love to hear from you and pray over you. Be sure to drop a comment below to connect.
Do You Need To Go Deeper?
This is part of the 9-week Marriage Bible Study –Finding Hope & Joy in Marriage. Through this course, we will explore the 9 Biblical foundations of having a successful marriage God’s way.
This class will include:
- 10 video lessons
- You can watch live or when you have time
- 9 weeks of personal study
- 5 days each week that should take 10-15 minutes
- A private Facebook Group to discuss the homework and talk through the weekly challenges
- 45 Days of Prayer prompts
If you liked this post, check out these:
- How to Pray Effectively Over Lust In Your Life
- 11 Steps to Start Overcoming Pornography Biblically
- How To Be a Biblical Wife To an Ungodly Husband
- How to Fast and Pray In A Way that Pleases God