What Would Your Marriage Be Like
By Susie and Otto Collins
Zack and Sara live with it just about every day and
every night. It eats meals with them and sleeps with
It is jealousy.
Sara has always been very social and outgoing. Zack
is more introverted and quiet. Because Zack craves
peace and quiet on the weekends, he doesn't like to
go to dance clubs or parties.
Sara finds the energy and excitement of these places
and groups of people invigorating. She gets bored if
she sits at home all of the time.
Friends sometimes wonder how Zack and Sara ever got
together in the first place...and now they are
This dynamic wouldn't necessarily be a problem,
except for the jealousy that has erupted, in part,
because of their differences.
Zack knows how friendly Sara is and he worries that
she will send some guy the wrong message. He also
fears that one day she'll decide that he is boring
and she'll find someone more lively and sociable.
When Sara returns home from a night out with her
friends, Zack always sits up and waits. He questions
her about everyone she talked and danced with.
If Sara gets defensive about being interrogated--
which she often does-- Zack retreats to the
troubling scenarios he's
imagined in his mind.
Jealousy can ruin a marriage or love relationship.
You have probably already felt the negative effects
of jealousy if, like Zack and Sara, it is present in
The one who is jealous might feel justified about
his or her suspicions and worries. The one who is
deemed a flirt or na´ve might close down or lash out
There's no doubt that jealousy causes distance in a
Overcome jealousy as a team.
The person with the jealous habit needs to take
responsibility for his or her thoughts, feelings and
But if the partner of the jealous person sees
jealousy as only the other person's "problem,"
the improvements will be minimal or non-existent.
Instead, we recommend that a couple approach
jealousy as a team.
It's time to set aside blame and finger pointing and
to work together to find solutions to this thing
that's tearing you apart.
As we said, of course, there is work that the
jealous person needs to do from within. But there
are probably ways that the other person can
contribute to the positive changes that both are
Zack and Sara realize that their marriage, which is
not even a year old, is in trouble.
They have a very honest talk and decide that it's
time for them to meet with a relationship coach who
can help them learn how to manage their different
preferences and overcome jealousy.
Zack has owned up to the fact that he's jealous and
Sara has acknowledged that she often adds to the
conflict in the way that she talks about her social
plans and reacts to Zack.
They decide that they'll need to work together if
they're going to rid their marriage of jealousy. It
has become a joint challenge, not just Zack's
What would it be like if there was no jealousy in
After seeing that jealousy is a dynamic that both
people in a relationship often contribute to, you
might be able to make the shift that Zack and Sara
made and start looking for ways to overcome jealousy
as a team.
One powerful exercise that you might also try is to
ask yourselves (you and your mate can respond
individually and then compare answers) these
What would our marriage be like if there was
no jealousy in it?
How would you two interact differently without
How would you talk to one another?
What kinds of words would you say to your mate after
he or she has been away?
How would you greet your partner after being apart?
It might take some imagination if you are used to
communicating and being together in particular ways
that involve jealousy. Give it a try.
Create in your mind-- you can write your responses
on paper too-- an image of what your marriage would
be like if jealousy was not present.
This exercise is not meant to make you feel bad
about where your marriage is right now.
On the contrary, it can help you to see that
it IS possible for you to enjoy the connection and
love that you want.
If you can imagine your marriage without jealousy,
you can begin to make the shift-- in real life--
toward that desired relationship.
Remember that you can stop your jealousy habit and
begin to create the kind of marriage that you've