Compete or Complete?
By Laura Way
My husband and I are great teammates. We met on an overseas ministry team, got married, and continued serving together for another 6 years. It’s still one of the best parts of our marriage.
But there was a time early in our journey when our team roles began to shift, and I felt sidelined. We were living overseas, and while we both enjoyed learning the language, he continued with formal classes while I took care of our baby. And his language skills began to surpass mine.
I did not like that. Not one bit.
I was an achiever, yes, but I also was a woman who had dreams of making a difference. And I felt like I wasn’t getting to do much of either. I was jealous of my husband’s freedom, the things he was accomplishing, the impact he was making.
So I played the martyr.
I guilt-tripped him for the “glorious days” he had out in the world when the reality was that his job was super draining. I compared his leisurely lunches with co-workers to my PB&Js and picked-over veggies, and his adult conversations with the Daniel Tiger songs looping in my head.
He was simply being obedient to what God had called him to during that season, and I slowly learned to do the same. I was able to extend more empathy for his fatigue when he came home. We learned to support and pray for each other for what was hard about both of our days, rather than trying to compare difficulty levels.
It’s not always easy to lay down comparison and competition, but when I remember God put my husband and I on the same side—working together for His will in our home, neighborhood, and the world—we make a pretty great team.
The good stuff: So if there is any encouragement in Christ … Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
Action Points: Is there jealousy or competition growing anywhere in your marriage? Ask God to help you choose to humbly serve your spouse rather than comparing. Then thank God for putting you and your spouse together.
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