Shades of Green
There are couples who seem a little mismatched in the physical department. You’ve all met at least one couple where one spouse is drop-dead gorgeous and the other is perhaps average in looks. I’m strictly talking about the outside appearance at first glance. I know that inner beauty is more important for a healthy and sustainable relationship, but I’m referring to how we judge people in the first few seconds by their outer appearance. Another type of disparity is when someone is very overweight and their spouse is as thin as a rail. These couples stand out to us because of their vast physical differences. We may wonder if their personalities are different too or do their physical contrasts cause problems in their relationships.
Consider the scenario of a couple who differ in weight. Let’s assume the husband is overweight and he decides to go on a diet and begins to shed pounds. At first his wife is thrilled by her husband’s metamorphosis, but then she starts to get envious of all the attention he’s receiving. She finds herself feeling annoyed that all of a sudden he’s so self-restrained. She’s always been the healthy, fit, and disciplined one and now he’s treading into her territory. The funny thing is that she’s been dying for him to make these changes but now that he has, it makes her somewhat insecure. Instead of being proud of him for getting up early to exercise, she finds herself feeling angry inside and then stupid for thinking that way.
It’s not unusual for one spouse, who has previously received most of the attention in the relationship, to start feeling a little irritated when the other spouse is now the focus when they’re together. Unaccustomed to playing second fiddle, this wife starts changing her tune about her husband’s sudden quest for six-pack abs and begins subconsciously sabotaging his efforts. She starts pushing more food his way. There are more cookies and pies cooling on the counter while pastas and cream-laden casseroles are dished out on the table. She knows it’s wrong but she’s too embarrassed by her absurd feelings to talk to him. Yet, that’s what she needs to do.
Even after many years of marriage, spouses can get envious and insecure with each other, especially when there’s been a major life change. It might have nothing to do with appearance but let’s say one spouse gets promoted at work and they’re catapulted into the spotlight, while the other spouse feels left in the shadows.
Humility and honesty go a long way in a marriage but in the short run it’s not always the path a spouse will choose. They would rather keep their feelings tucked inside instead of letting them unravel and reveal their pettiness. Couples need to be aware of their vulnerability to feelings of jealousy, not just when someone outside of the relationship pays attention to their spouse but also of their own feelings of inadequacy within the marriage.
A spouse should feel excited when their mate makes positive changes that will eventually improve the relationship, but at the core, we’re all prone to think of ourselves first. It’s only through our commitment to change and to put our spouse first that we’ll reach a higher level of maturity in the relationship.
This would be a place where each of us are secure enough in who we are that we can be happy for others, especially our spouse, when good things happen.