The Comparison Trap

Have you ever played the "if only" game? I've played it. I'm pretty sure you have too. All it takes is you, your spouse and one other person.

I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family. The game goes like this. If only...if only my wife was more like Judy Jones. She fixes exotic dinners every night. She keeps a sparkling house. She even goes fishing with her husband when he wants her to. Or if only my husband was like Johnny Johnson. He's always bringing flowers to his wife, and he takes her dancing. And he doesn't slurp his soup at the dinner table. Well, what's wrong with comparisons like this? For one thing, the conclusions we draw are based on a distortion. We're equating the obvious flaws and shortcomings of a person we know intimately with the public image of the person we idealize. In other words, that individual is imperfect too, though it may not be as apparent across a crowded room. Besides, the comparison game is specifically designed to insult our marriage partner, and weaken the bond that makes a relationship successful. In other words, everyone loses when we engage in this mind game. We should seek to elevate each other as husband and wife, and that's the best way I know to make marriage go the distance. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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