Perhaps the surest way to demonstrate unconditional love is to not envy your partner but to promote them above yourself. Love does not envy! Of course, God must be first in our lives, but then, our spouses need to be elevated.  Once we work on our vertical relationship with God, then our horizontal relationships will have no choice but to fall in line. Many relationships are struggling today because we sometimes envy our partners. We are literally destroying the relationship when we envy each other. To envy means to have a desire to be in the other’s person’s place or location. We may want to have what our spouses have. Perhaps it is their career, popularity, or income. We even display contempt for one another wanting them to stumble and not be as successful as they could be. Some even try to hurt their spouse or see them fail. That is not unconditional love.

Furthermore, some are even jealous of the success of their spouse. I have often heard about the debate between a man’s salary and woman’s salary. We know women get paid less for doing the same job on average. According to an article in the New York Times last year, on average, women make almost 18% less than men for the same job despite the 1963 Equal Pay Act signed by President Kennedy. I don’t think that is right or fair. I submit that if my wife earns more than me I would be ecstatic! First, that means we can do more together as a family and live more comfortably and give more to charity and the work of God. Second, it means that she is fulfilling her dreams. I would be thrilled about that fact because I want my wife to be successful. I want her to reach her goals and potential. That is what God wants for us. He wants us to grow and reach our destinies. Likewise, we should want our spouses to grow and develop.  On the contrary, envy breathes criticism, pain, and hurt. When we envy our spouses, we are actually stopping the progress of our own future, for we are one in the eyes of God. Therefore, when I hurt my spouse, I am in essence hurting myself. When my spouse fails, I fail! When my spouse is in pain, I am in pain!

We should never hold back our spouses from success in order to soothe our own egos. In fact, we should do the opposite and push them to success. We should encourage one another. There should be no competition between the spouses with regards to goals in life. Both team members are valuable to the success of the relationship and the family. Imagine if we loved the other person so much that we wanted them to excel and accomplish more than us. This is the essence of love.

 

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