It’s a question that’s been asked for centuries: how do we combat jealousy in our relationships? It should come as no surprise that as times passed, the answer has evolved from seeking advice from tradition and religion to seeking advice from science and psychology. In the past, it was believed that individual character and moral obligation could cure any bitter feeling of insecurity or possessiveness. Today, more often than not, couples are searching for something far more tangible: steps that can be taken in order to keep those destructive traits at bay.
The reality is, couples have to work hard to prevent jealousy and insecurity from ruining their marriages. It takes a lot of time and effort to analyze ingrained patterns of behavior and, if left unrecognized and unaddressed, they could start to ruin an otherwise fulfilling relationship. All too often, couples become so enveloped in their own negative thoughts or stories that affect their dynamics and the very core of their connection.
So how can one recognize and conquer those feelings of possessiveness and distrust that come between partners in a marriage?
Recognize Signs of Jealousy
Before anything else, it’s important to take on an introspective approach. One should not be so quick to place all of the blame on their partner and instead take a deep dive into their own emotional reactions and thought patterns to identify signs of jealousy. When nearly every conversation starts with a barrage of doubt and criticism, it’s almost guaranteed that jealousy is playing a role to some degree. If a partner is too overbearing, too controlling, or seems to make demands for assurance constantly, then it’s key to recognize these behaviors as symptomatic of jealousy.
Talk It Out
Once these emotions and irrational beliefs are identified, couples can then confront the fiery feelings as they arise and make a point of understanding where they come from. This can be a challenging process as it involves disagreeing, both parties feeling misunderstood or falsely accused, or dashed expectations. But it’s necessary to talk through the root obstacles in order to put one another at ease. Communication is key in this situation because it fosters trust and mutual understanding, both immensely valuable elements of any long-term relationship.
Focus On Yourself
Perhaps most importantly, it’s important to remember to focus on what you can control — yourself. It’s paramount to consider your own innermost thoughts and judgements about your partner. Ask yourself why you might be feeling jealous and validate that emotion rather than chastising yourself for it. Furthermore, turn inwardly to discover things about yourself; why you feel threatened, why you’re feeling insecure, what’s lacking. The more you understand yourself, the less power those green-eyed monsters have.
At the same time, it’s okay to rely on your spouse for emotional maturity and positivity during a tough time. Pursue moments in which you feel calm and connected. Seek out those sweet moments of love and your own subjective experience of joy. Doing so opens up the pathway to trust and unconditional love which helps couples rise above the unwelcome and undesired emotions that have been disrupting their marital bliss.
No couple in a longterm relationship is immune to jealousy, and while it sometimes rears its ugly head as an unavoidable consequence of hurt feelings caused by some kind of betrayal or disappointment, it’s important to remember that those issues can be overcome with honest communication, empathy, and self-reflection. With care, understanding and above all, patience, married partners will be able to identify the source of their feelings and eradicate the negative feelings that currently stand in their way. Exercising these various steps and techniques can reignite the flame of unconditional love and reignite harmony in their marriage.
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