Many relationships have been destroyed by the issue of jealousy. However, sometimes it is not so much jealousy but envy and greed that are the real root of the problem.
Here’s a brief definition of each before we get into a larger discussion of these.
Jealousy: the fear of losing something that you feel already belongs to you.
Greed: the desire for what is not yours and currently unattainable, since it belongs to someone else or is beyond your ability to achieve it.
Envy: the desire for what is not yours and the resentment of the person who actually owns it.
People get jealous in a relationship when they feel like someone else is trying to destroy, steal, or take over that relationship. A woman will get jealous when she thinks her man is spending too much time with or near another woman. A man will get jealous when he sees another man flirting with his girlfriend or wife.
Jealousy is a natural defensive emotion that seeks to prevent the loss of something important to that person. This emotion, however, is very powerful. It has caused all kinds of irrational behaviors that range from self-withdrawal to outright violence.
The Bible teaches, in the book of Proverbs, that jealousy is the wrath of man. When a man or woman gets jealous, they often become irrational and can get angry at the person they love.
The Bible tells us that God becomes jealous when he sees his people being seduced by the religions of false gods. In fact, the Bible clearly says that God is a jealous God. Interestingly, there is not a single biblical reference that says jealousy is wrong. Can it lead to things that are wrong? Absolutely.
Jealousy is the direct result of a strong emotional bond with another person. If that emotional bond did not exist, there would be no jealousy. You can see it as a sign that someone cares. But the anger that jealousy usually produces is usually very dangerous and deadly.
Greed is the emotional desire and attachment to something that is not yours and is currently unattainable. The Bible clearly forbids us to covet our neighbor’s wife. When we allow an emotional attachment and a desire for someone who has reserved for someone else, we are walking on very treacherous ground.
You could say that it is greed that produces jealousy. When a husband begins to lust for a life outside of his marriage, he is sure to provoke jealousy in his wife. When a woman begins to lust after an already married man, she will make that man’s wife jealous.
Greed is a sign of discontent. If you are beginning to seek a happy life outside of your marriage, you clearly need help with your marriage. This discontent often sparks jealousy in others, which only exacerbates the problem.
There are two ways to be happy. First, you can get everything you want. This is a lousy way to be happy, because you will never get everything you want in life. Second, you may want what you already have. This is a much simpler and deeper means of achieving happiness. If you love your wife, if you love your husband, you will not look elsewhere.
Envy is perhaps the most dangerous of the three. Envy is a combination of greed and hatred for the person who has what you want. When you walk past a nice big house and say, “That should be mine! They have no right to it!” That’s envy. When you see the woman you wanted to marry or date another man and you say, “That idiot! He should be with me! He doesn’t deserve her.” That’s envy.
Not only will you be unhappy, but you will seek to hurt the person you think is standing in your way to get what you want. I recently read in one of these Internet forums a request for help from a woman who had fallen in love with another woman’s husband. She wanted ideas on how to sabotage her marriage so she could have a chance with him. That’s envy. She is willing to hurt or hurt the other woman, and possibly the man as well, just to satisfy her own desires.
Envy is incredibly dangerous. It leads to bitterness and hatred towards other people. Avoid it at all costs.