In addition to comparing ourselves with other women, some of us compare our husbands to other men. Here are a few examples of statements I’ve heard from women who have obviously fallen into this trap:
- “I wish my husband aged as well as Sean Connery!”
- “My husband is far from being a rocket scientist or brain surgeon, you know!”
- “My husband just doesn’t meet my emotional needs like my coworker does.”
- “You are so lucky to have a husband who will go to church with you every Sunday.”
When women compare their husbands with other men, they are toying with a threat similar to the threat a man plays with when visually lusting after other women. Whether the comparison is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, we not only show disrespect for our husband’s uniqueness, but we also undermine our marriage and our emotional integrity. Comparisons can lead women to wonder, “Why does my husband have to be like this? Why can’t he be more like so-and-so?”
Sometimes a woman will fall further into this trap by entertaining more and more thoughts of so-and-so until her fantasy life becomes a world that she escapes to in order to make herself feel more valuable and loved. In her fantasy life, she deserves someone more handsome, more intelligent, more emotionally attentive or more spiritual than she has in reality. At the very least, when a woman’s comparisons of her husband with other men heightens any disappointment or disillusionment she feels with her own husband, it can prevent her from getting excited about him sexually or emotionally. These comparisons encourage her once-glowing passion for her husband to fade to a mere tolerance of him as she forgets all about the wonderful man she fell in love with.
Let’s face it, there will always be men more handsome, intelligent, sensitive or spiritual than our husbands, just as there will always be women slimmer, smarter, wittier, or holier than us. If “others” are the measuring stick that we use to place value on ourselves or on those we love, then we are doing exactly what Paul warns against in 2 Corinthians 10:12: “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” However, God gives us grace to accept our husbands and ourselves as we really are, and He gives us the ability to truly love one another unconditionally and unreservedly.
If we crave genuine intimacy, we must learn to seek it only in this kind of grace-filled relationship. The word intimacy itself can be best defined by breaking it into syllables, “in-to-me-see.” Can we see into each other and respect, appreciate, and value what is really there, regardless of how that measures up to anyone else? That is what unconditional love and relational intimacy is all about, and this type of intimacy can be discovered only by two people who are seeking sexual and emotional integrity with all their mind, body, heart, and soul.