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Are you dealing with a fearful spouse or partner in your relationship who’s undergoing jealousy and insecurity? If so, I recommend that you face the issue and deal with it as soon as possible by undertaking these task:
Task #1 – Identify the source of the situation
There was an interview conducted between couples to help them identify any possible behavior that might justify this type of attitude. Having a non-trusting partner or spouse to begin with is a big issue. The question was addressed to the accuser; “Do you have a reason for displaying this type of action? If so, what are those reasons?”
Many times the answer was always the same; one partner has violated the others trust. And if violations of trust have occurred, the suspecting person has a tendency to wonder, “Is he being truthful? Is he being straightforward with me?” Once burned, twice careful.
This situation means that the couple does, in fact, have issues to work through. A deeper dialogue may be important – perhaps with a therapist or a pastoral counselor present as a guide.
Without some type of guidance when problems brew, your relationship will surely suffer.
Once you identify the sources of your miss-trust, you have to move into new territory: the territory of trust. Remember, this is No dating game. This is serious stuff!
For the person who is the object of miss-trust, this means making sure that you never give your partner a new reason to be worried. You have to “walk the straight and narrow path” to reestablish trust.
For the miss-trusting person, the goal is to realize how much harm he or she is doing to the relationship by being so worried.
Even though you’ve entered a relationship that is exclusive, you both still need a certain amount of freedom – a certain amount of room to grow and to develop and to be yourself.
Task #2 – Grasp the damage that ‘non-trust’ can do
If you are coping with this suspicious behavior, you need to grasp as soon as possible that this emotion will damage your relationship in the long term. Miss-trust can’t do any good for their relationship.
You’re dealing with a ‘demon’ – what Shakespeare called “the green-eyed monster.”
This monster can attack and even devour your whole relationship if you allow it to. So if you don’t deal with it head-on, this ‘green-eyed monster’ can ultimately ruin what you and your partner are trying to build together.
Do you realize that this attitude demonstrates that you don’t have a very mature relationship?
Because when you have a mature relationship, there’s a sense of freedom, of trust, of willingness to let the other person be.
Let your spouse develop. Otherwise, you’re clinging to a rather adolescent attitude.
Here’s another important question that you should ask yourself: Does the person you’ve married belong to you as a thing you own? Or is he or she a gift you’ve received?
Your husband or wife is autonomous – a separate person. If you perceive the other person as a thing – an object you own – it’s not only a false assumption, it also suffocates the other person.
Think back to a time when you felt that ‘green-eyed monster’ and expressed how you felt to your spouse or partner. Now answer these questions about what resulted from that situation:
- How did your partner or spouse react?
- What was the outcome of the situation?
- Looking back now, did you have cause for the miss-trust?
- What were the circumstances?
- Can you see now how you might have misinterpreted the situation?
- Did your expression of insecurity strengthen your relationship-or weaken it?
- Did your expression of miss-trust deepen communication between you and your partner – or make it more likely that he or she would hold back from you?
As you think over the answers to these questions, I think you’ll probably agree that your expression of jealousy probably had the opposite effect from what you may intended or desired.
Instead of fostering closeness, it probably became a wedge that drove you and your spouse apart.
Instead of encouraging your partner to confide in you, it probably prompted him or her to hold back from you. Not trusting isn’t a force that strengthens a couple’s relationship. On the contrary, it’s often a “solvent” that loosens the ties between the partners.
Task #3 – Learn to deal with jealousy
Next, you need to face this problem head-on and deal with it. This task involves two separate actions – one for the worried and concerned partner or spouse, another for the person that is the object of miss-trust.
If you are the worried or concerned spouse…Next time you feel that green-eyed monster rear its ugly head, stop and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I feeling this way? What am I afraid of?
- Has my partner given me a reason to fear this?
- Could there be another explanation for his/her behavior?
- Are there ways I can cope with my uncertainties that are better than subjecting my partner to my worries and concerns?
Answering these questions will help you widen the scope of your insights so that you don’t fall into habitual accusing.
If you’re dealing with an accusing person… ask yourself these questions the next time you’re confronted with a series of concerned questions from your spouse or partner.
- Why would my spouse feel this way? What is he/she afraid of?
- Did I do anything to contribute to this fear?
- What can I do to ease this fear in the future?
- Are there ways we can discuss the situation so that we can diminish the risk of my partner’s habitual ‘drilling ‘ me.
Task#4 – Consider the possibility that accusing is part of a bigger problem
Sometime insecurities can be part of what’s called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This disorder can be a serious mental health problem – a disorder in which obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors plague you.
An example of this would be a husband who can’t stop obsessing over his wife’s whereabouts and activities, or whose compulsively tracks her movements, phone calls, or e-mail.
Sometimes OCD is the result of personal trauma in the past. There may also be a biochemical aspect to the disorder.
If you believe that you (or your spouse) may be suffering from OCD, I urge you to seek professional mental health counseling. This disorder isn’t a situation that should cause you feelings of shame; it’s a genuine health problems, not a moral failing.
It isn’t your fault. But it is a situation that you can’t ignore, and you must address it as soon as possible.
Speak with your physician or call a referral service to find a mental health professional, or else raise the issue with your pastor.
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