Love does not envy. (1 Corinthians 13 v 4)

The roots of envy, no pun intended go back to the garden. Eve wanted to be like God, she envied the almighty’s knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3 v 4-6) so she ate the fruit with Adam and life on this earth hasn’t been the same since. And just as Eve was jealous of God, Cain was jealous of Abel (Genesis 4 v5), Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him (Genesis 37 v 4) and Saul was jealous of David (1 Samuel 18 v 8-9).

So, what about us? Jealousy within marriage is not uncommon, so it’s important to be honest with ourselves about harboring jealousy towards the very person God blessed us with as a lifetime partner. Is there a pang inside when you think about how she gets to work from home while you are out fighting the elements just to get to the office? Or maybe you envy that everyone is drawn to his vivacious personality while you struggle with shyness?

The opposite of being jealous or envious, then, is rejoicing in what others have, it is rejoicing in the gifts and abilities God has blessed them with. If you are really honest with yourself, your spouse’s gifts, abilities, and roles are probably an amazing compliment to yours (okay, most of them!), giving the two of you a rich fulfillment union as well as an effective partnership for dealing with life’s challenges. And that’s a reason to celebrate rather than envy.


  • What is it that you are good at? What is it that your spouse is better at? In what ways do you and your spouse complement each other?
  • In what ways is your partnership for life’s challenges stronger because of your spouse’s talents and personalities? Choose thankfulness instead of envy.


All covetousness implies a discontent with our own condition.


Lord, we acknowledge that you brought us together. Your plan calls for a husband and a wife to complement each other, not to be clones of each other. Help each of us to honestly search our heart for any area of jealousy towards the other. Give us the desire to rejoice over rather than envy the gifts, abilities, and opportunities you have given each of us. Enable us to celebrate our differences and to see them as a source of strength for both of us.