“Jealousy springs more from love of self than from love of another.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

– Bible

Frances spent the morning in a local coffee shop with some of her girlfriends. They had a great time sharing and laughing together. While they were there, one of Frances’ old school friends, George, happened to come in and stopped by to chat briefly with Frances.

Later that evening at home she and her husband Frank were sitting at the dinner table. Frances noticed that Frank was acting a little strange. He seemed upset about something. Finally he asked Frances what was going on between her and George.Frances was really taken aback. One of Frank’s “friends” had noticed them talking and gotten word to Frank, causing Frank’s jealous streak to kick in quickly.

Jealousy can be defined as an emotion accompanied by negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection.

Feelings of jealousy usually are connected to feelings of insecurity and/or mistrust. The root cause, however, is selfishness.

Feelings of insecurity in relationships usually stem from an abnormal focus on self and one’s perceived personal inadequacies. It is also connected to the natural drive to protect self from harm.

Notice that jealousy is connected to the anticipated loss of something of value, particularly in a relationship. You might say that Frank is jealous of the perceived relationship between George and Frances because he fears losing something of value that he possesses. We don’t usually fear losing something valuable if we don’t think it belongs to us.

The feelings of insecurity may come from problems in the current relationship, but they often point back to issues in our background. Maybe we grew up in an unstable family, or maybe we have experienced divorce, either directly or in a close family member.

Marriage was designed by God for a man and a woman to come together in an environment of unconditional love, but not with the idea that they possess each other. They are to voluntarily submit to one another in godly fashion, not in a master/slave manner. If a marriage partner chooses to be unfaithful, the other partner will feel much pain and sorrow but should not feel insecure.

To recall an old adage, we must love someone enough to let them go; their love for us will then cause them to return to us.

Mistrust is another cause of jealousy and is closely connected to feelings of insecurity. Our mistrust may stem from experiences in previous relationships, but it is often driven by real or perceived behaviors by our current spouse.

Feelings of insecurity and mistrust are dealt with best by discussing them with our spouse. Insecurity may be our own problem stemming from a variety of causes. This obviously includes violations of trust in past relationships. However, this feeling of insecurity will have a definite effect on our marriage relationship. Talking them through with our spouse may help us deal with them.

If trust has been broken in our current relationship, communication once again is vital to reestablish the trust. Boundaries may need to be established and monitored to renew the trust.

Dr. David Hawkins, director of the Marriage Recovery Center, suggests some ideas to maintain trust and eliminate jealousy.

• Agree that there will be no close relationships with the opposite sex.

• Agree that all relationships will be open to discussion.

• Agree to always be sensitive to your mate’s feelings, placing them above anything else.

• Agree not to scold or judge your mate for their feelings, however unrealistic they may seem to you. Create a safe place in your relationship for feelings to be expressed and protected.

• Agree to seek immediate solutions. Don’t let jealousy ruin your relationship. This is an easily solved problem – let your mate know their safety and honor is of utmost importance to you.

The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, executive director of FAMCO, can be reached at 640-4689, rogerrollins@aikenfamco.com or www.aikenfamco.com.