One of the names of God that I find fascinating is Jealous (Exodus 34:14). To understand the meaning behind it took some study. In English “jealous” is often used with “of.” But when applied to God and His name, Jealous, it is different. God is jealous “for” our affection (Numbers 11:29). God will not give his glory to another (Isaiah 48:11). God is Jealous for his name (Ezekiel. 39;25). God is jealous for the affection of Israel, His Bride (Joel 2:8, Zechariah 1:11 and 8:2). Jealous for… I thought about that in my marriage. Am I jealous “of” or am I jealous “for” my man?
Laboring side by side for a lifetime there are many opportunities for us to become jealous “of” instead of jealous “for” our husbands. The following are four ways I have determined to be jealous “for” my marriage:
1) “Jealous for” my relationship with Jim puts me on the offensive, not the defensive. While things invariably happen that cause the green monster of jealousy to appear, I need to trust Jim (he has earned that yet sometimes I can get “sensitive”). I remember being jealous of the time he got to “play” with our boys, when I felt like I had to do the hard things of feeding, clothing and disciplining them while he was on campus. Expressing that when I was not in a good emotional place never ended too well. We did discuss it but in the right timing.
2) “Jealous for” the sacred bonds of marriage allows a protection in our relationship. We have forged boundaries over time that help protect our marriage. For example: We both have Covenant Eyes on our computers and accountability partners for purity. We are careful how we communicate with members of the opposite gender and seek to be above reproach. We talk to one another about issues we are facing and as a result grow toward one-another. This is a process and, admittedly, causes friction at times! While Jim served on campus and I was home with littles, these boundaries helped to maintain trust.
3) “Jealous for” means that we choose us! In the beginning of the movie “Family Man” the couple is having a discussion about their relationship. The woman is seeking to help the man see things from her perspective and says, “I choose us!” Later in the movie he comes to the same conclusion about their life together and uses the same words. I am not endorsing the movie but, the phrase, “I choose us” has become one that Jim and I will often say to one another to remind ourselves we want to be jealous for our relationship and for the consequences of our decisions. This most recent season of transition in our lives took a toll on our relationship as we discerned next steps. I am thankful that we have committed to choose our relationship above our work.
4) “Jealous for” means I help him, not compete with him. I am a competitor by nature and like winning! When home with littles, I found myself jealous of the impact he was having through his life and in the lives of others. Jealous of the fact that he could come and go and not have to make plans about how to feed, clothe and care for three little men if he were to go to campus or out of town. Jealous of the time he got with our staff team, with men, doing evangelism and his fruitfulness! I don’t like admitting this, but it was a reality. Honestly, there are times it is still true after 31 years of marriage. I need to remind myself that is I am his helper not his competitor. Some of his success came because I was home maintaining camp!
Jealous for my man, jealous for our marriage, jealous for what God intends to do with our lives. That is my desire. Lord forgive my heart when I am jealous of so many things, especially things You are doing through my husband. Remind me of Your truth and that you are Jealous for me. Help me to jealous for my husband and our relationship and to reflect your Glory!