Love does not envy. -1 Corinthians 13:4
My husband walks in the door. Another busy day at work, another set of obligations that kept him later than expected, another lengthy to-do list on the agenda for tomorrow. I sigh when he asks how I am. I passively allude to how soon morning will come and he’ll have to leave again. As he settles in for the evening, I scroll through Instagram and like all the pictures of my friends on romantic get-aways and fancy date nights. All we have is a few hours in the evening, I mutter to myself.
Envy rots the bones. The author of Proverbs knows what he’s talking about. It also ruins otherwise pleasant evenings at home with my husband.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m rather envious of my husband’s attention. As a quality-time girl, the work, to-do lists, and people that demand his time drives me crazy. All I want to do is be like ‘every other couple’ and go on beach vacations and spend each evening watching Netflix.
The ridiculous thing about my plight (besides the fact that we’ve been on beach vacations and often watch Netflix in the evening) is that every moment I allow envy to creep into my soul is a moment that I’m not loving my husband.
Because how loving can I be when I’m seething at him for choosing a time consuming career or whining at him for being out later than expected? How is love supposed to enter my heart when envy is taking up so much space in there? With every jealous comparison or envious comment I am inhibiting love to flourish in my speech and actions. Envy bulldozes love over, every time.
Teach me to want what I have. This has become my constant prayer. Whether it is a few hours in the evening or weeks of vacation. Whether it is the whole weekend off or a quiet morning together. Whether it is much or little. Teach me to want what I have. Teach me contentment.
And as I learn contentment I also learn to love.
Instead of nagging, rolling my eyes, and sighing heavily I am greeting him with a hug, asking about his day, laughing over his jokes. Our time seems to be multiplied when envy isn’t there to hoard and steal.
Maybe you don’t struggle with envy this way. Maybe a few hours in the evening seems like luxury to you. But chances are you’ve found yourself comparing your income, your appearance, your spouse, your children, your home, your story. Chances are envy is trying to sneak in and rot your bones too.
Sister to sister, let me share some advice. Don’t let it in. The capacity you have to love – your spouse, your family, your friends, your life – will only be as great the contentment in your heart.