Tackling the Comparison Struggle

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Photo Credit: Ataradrac

I have been married to my beautiful wife, Jen, for 8 years this December.  I have learned so much in those years.  Women are wonderful, beautiful, amazing,…..and COMPLICATED creatures.  Can I get an AMEN from those 10 guys out there reading? 

I have also come to realize that the reason women are so complicated from a man’s vantage point is because we are made so differently.  Our culture has tried the smash the barrier between man and woman in an effort to equalize the sexes.  The outcome of this has been a tragic loss of understanding of our differences. 

I am NOT in favor of women being treated equally in our society in most cases.  Should we pay them the same for the same task?  Yes.  Should women be voting?  Yes, of course.   Should they have all the same rights?  Yes. Should they be treated the same as men?  Absolutely not!  Women are built and wired completely differently than men by our Creator God.

Men should treat women with love & respect and should always view women with a sense of awe at how God has created her with Him in mind.  This really should make us as men step back and see women for what they are, unique and amazing creatures who are fearfully and wonderfully made!  Guys should NOT treat women the same as men; they should elevate women in every case possible.

That being said, I wanted to share an observation I have made about women: Many of you struggle with a constant comparison game.  You compare your clothes, your homes, your bodies, your husbands, your children, and anything else in life.  Right?  (If you said no, you are either deceiving yourself, or God has really delivered you from a common snare.) 

I have watched my own wife struggle with some of these comparisons over the years, often tearing herself down because of it.  Thankfully, I have also watched God work in her life to deliver her from many comparison struggles. 

Jen and I have stepped back and recognized why this comparison battle is such a dangerous one for families, and committed to fighting it in ours.  We have watched friend’s marriages begin to crumble because a husband cannot live up to the expectations of a wife who’s comparing her own husband to other women’s husbands.  (The husband you think is perfect has plenty of faults you DONT see. Trust me.) 

The comparison struggle is alive and well in America. Families spend too much just to make sure their children dress as well as others, causing financial problems.  Wives don’t feel attractive because they don’t think they look as beautiful as their skinniest friend, although most men would argue that a huge part of your “looking good” comes from your confidence, rather than the size of your jeans.

I want my boys to grow up to be content men.  We can do that by stopping the comparison game and concentrate on always being thankful for what we have, who we are, and what we are like.  We as parents should not expect that our children will be anything that we are not.  So we need to demonstrate these behaviors for them.

I am thankful this Thanksgiving for a lovely wife who partners with me in the pursuit to grow godly men.  I am thankful for a God who pardons us when we get it wrong, and helps get us back on the right track.  We have much to be thankful for this year!

How has the comparison struggle affected your own relationships?

Brad

23 thoughts on "Tackling the Comparison Struggle"

  1. Lene Kristin says:

    Can I say AMEN even though I am a woman? :)
    I think we should celebrate the differences, both between the sexes (I absolutely agree with you that the sexes are wired differently!) and between individuals.
    It is so hard reading this because I know you are right – spouses are breaking up because they fall short of some ideal that is not true.
    My old grandma taught me that noone can do it all – by this she means that if I envy something in my neighbour, s/he will have problems in other areas that I just don’t know about. I try to remember her wisdom and stop comparing myself to the skinnier/prettier/richer/craftier/other women (and men) out there. Noone can do it all – and I have to try to understand that what I do is plenty. It may be different, but it is working – and I have to play to my own strengths (which, for instance, never have been in the “crafty” corner. Or the “sprty” one. Or…). This is how God made me. I was not made like “her”. For a very good reason. If He meant for me to be like her, He would have made me like her!

    You highlight a very important topic here, Brad, and I am thankful to you for that!

  2. Lene Kristin says:

    Aj! I meant *sporty*, sorry about that typo!

  3. Brad, thank you so much for giving a guy’s perspective on this topic. My sister, who is a few years older than me and has been married for over 20 years, told me something along the same lines that’s made a big impact in my marriage. She said she learned early on that she could spend her time and energy harping on all the little things about her husband that annoyed her, and compare him to so-and-so’s husband, who surely does X, Y, or Z for his wife. Or she could overlook those things and focus on all the things her husband does well. That shift in thinking totally changed the atmosphere of her marriage.

    One thing I would encourage guys to do is to help each other learn how to uplift their wives. I’m the first to admit that we are beyond complicated, and often expect our husbands to just know what we need. A perfect example is this: my husband knows and respects that I need some time, in our home, to myself. He often takes the kids out on Saturdays for “Super Fun Daddy Time” while I enjoy the peace and quiet. We know another couple quite well whose wife feels the same way, but the husband doesn’t realize how important this ritual would be to her as well. Every so often, my husband will encourage her husband to meet up with him and the kids, giving her a break as well. I just love that about him, and I think guys are much more receptive to encouragement from their friends than nagging from their wives.

    1. QuatroMama says:

      Angie, thanks for commenting.

      I just think husbands and wives need to study one another much more once we are married. When dating, we were constantly looking for things that make the other happy, things that really made an impact. We need to study our mate and find out what makes them tick, what they need, and what they don’t, then care for them by doing those things! Your husbands “Super Fun Daddy Time” is a perfect example of your husband recognizing your needs and loving you by addressing them, so excellent!

      Make sure you tell your husband that you bragged on him here. We all love to hear that our actions are recognized, but even more guys typically need to know that we are providing for your needs even more than we need your love: That tells him that you respect him!

      Brad

  4. Liz says:

    What a great post. I appreciate you articulating this common issue that I think we all deal with on some level. It’s especially something I deal with and have to constantly remind myself that God has given me THIS life, not HER life or THEIR life.

    1. QuatroMama says:

      Liz, Yes we do all deal with comparison, I am certainly included in that. For some reason, the way we are made, it seems that women deal with this issue more often and in more ways than we do. Thanks for commenting, and thanks for reading!

    2. QuatroMama says:

      Liz, Yes we do all deal with comparison, I am certainly included in that. For some reason, the way we are made, it seems that women deal with this issue more often and in more ways than we do. Thanks for commenting, and thanks for reading! Brad

  5. korigammon says:

    I completely agree with you on this one Brad! I find that most of my discouragements/trials as a mom, wife, sister, friend and daughter of God come because I am comparing myself to others. God doesn’t compare, he loves us even with all our weaknesses and shortcomings. I find myself comparing my weaknesses with other woman’s strengths. Really, we should never compare and just be grateful for who we are and the gifts God has given us. It really helps me to overcome this through prayer but also when my husband gives me compliments and points out my strengths because sometimes it’s hard for me to see them. Thanks for the great post and reminder of not comparing.

  6. Julia says:

    Well said Brad! Have you all read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge and Captivating by him and his wife? They are great Christian books about how God made man and woman different. I haven’t finished either book truthfully, but from what I have read I’ve really enjoyed seeing how God created us to be different, unique, and both created in His image. Happy Thanksgiving Murray family! And a very very Merry Christmas!!!

  7. Traci says:

    This was wonderful! Thank you for sharing. Any time we start comparing ourselves to anyone / anything, we will be left wanting! God is the only one that can satisfy our deepest need!

    Love,
    Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

  8. Julie Labes says:

    Brad, I think with you for a dad, you don’t have to worry about how your boys will turn out

    Julie Labes
    The..”Fierce over 50 feels like a young woman Travel lover, entrepreneur, tea drinker, beer and wings date, loyal friend, funny, intelligent, opinionated, mom, wife, doesn’t own a jogging stroller, these are NOT my Grandchildren”… Woman

  9. Crystal Williams says:

    Brad,
    That was really sweet. It’s easy to see that you are a wonderful father and husband. I hope your family has a wonderful Thanksgiving. :)

  10. thank you so much Brad. You are totally right. Each sex demands respect. Yet each sex is not created equal (or the same), but entirely different.

  11. Alison says:

    Thanks so much for the post, I am working hard at being a better wife for my husband and think I’m doing a good job, but it was a good reminder for me!! love your ministry!!

  12. Bonnie says:

    This is beautiful, thanks for sharing.

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  14. Morgan says:

    What an awesome post! At times I have certainly derailed my relationship with my husband through comparisons. My husband shouldn’t have to fight through my insecurities in order to pay me a compliment or get through to me somehow. It’s so easy to get caught up in looking to everyone and everything else as a measuring stick; when in reality we need only look to God. THANKS for the great message :)

  15. Thanks Brad and Jen for sharing this wise perspective. I often worry that the Internet has become just one more place for women to play this comparison game and am convinced that if we don’t offer space that is open, and even and encouraging to all we only help him further those destructive ends.

    A beautiful reminder to remain vigilant.

    Thank you so much
    Lisa-Jo

  16. Sharkbait says:

    You can get an AMEN and a Hoo Ha Ha!

    SB

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