Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?
I have heard this question pop up a countless number of times in discussions of love and relationship. There have also been related questions such as, "Is jealousy part of love?" "Is jealousy a sign of love?" "Is jealousy a proof of love?"
It's all confusing, right? I mean, looking at it from a religious perspective, jealousy isn't part of love and thus, shouldn't be encouraged in a relationship, right?
What does the scripture say about "love" and "jealousy"?
Scripturally, does these two go together? Ask a Christian to tell you what love is or to define love for you; you'd be directed to 1st Cor 13:4-8 which says lots of sweet and amazing things about love.
The part that would be highlighted more to drive home the point that jealousy is not part of love is the part that says, "love does not envy". Some versions indeed used the word, "jealous".
But wait, doesn't the scripture also say that our God is a jealous God? I will pause here. If it is confusing for you, it might as well be confusing for many other people.
Jealousy and love in a relationship
As usual, I'm not here to dispute or go against what the scripture says. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't do that. But I love being realistic. Let's be real, is it possible that you would care so much about something and yet be indifferent to it?
I mean, let's say you have always dreamt about this owning this sleek, fire-engine, fast-paced automobile and then one day you wake up to realize it's finally yours. You could afford to get it. Wouldn't you feel even a tiny of possessiveness over it?
What happens when someone out of the blues wants to take that away from you? What happens when someone is about to ruin it for you? I bet you would put up some fight.
Let's bring it to human relationships. Can you love someone and not care if you are about to lose them? I hadn't really been in many relationships, and it made it a bit confusing knowing when and if I was really in love.
I have always had my friends of the opposite gender. I do care about them, but I knew there's got to be something else when I started getting that extra feeling for someone.
I remember the first time I got the feeling; I was mad at myself. I never felt jealous of the opposite sex. I mean, we could be friends, you can decide to talk to a host of other women, do whatever you wish, I'd care less. I was angry with myself that I cared for this time. I thought I was always in control.
Maybe jealousy is not part of love, but somehow it plays out in relationships and doesn't ultimately mean the partner who gets that feeling is evil. It's another emotion, perhaps different from love.
But, just like other emotions, it is left for you to control how it plays out, how intense it is. It is in your place to control every emotion as they have the power to ruin you- talk of anger, hatred and jealousy.
I think to an extent; a little jealousy shows you care, it shows you don't want to lose the other person. It plays out not just in intimate relationships but in casual relationships as well. I hear people say that there is "healthy jealousy" and "unhealthy jealousy".
Jealousy itself is born out of fear which is more reason why it shouldn't be encouraged or allowed to get out of hand. The excess jealousy, the over-possessive jealousy is not healthy at all.
It only speaks of insecurity and is destructive. When you love, you should also be able to let go when it's necessary; you should know when to give some space; otherwise, your actions would turn to obsessiveness.
Relating it again to God's love. God loves us, but I don't see him imposing things on us, forcing us to love back. He still gave us the free will to choose our stand or path even while caring for us.
So, in a relationship or marriage, you can care and still feel that tiny of jealousy. However, you should give your spouse the needed space. Do not go about forcing people to love you. If you chose them, allow them to choose you too. In that way, the tendency of getting jealous gets reduced to the barest minimum.
If you find yourself constantly worked up, fighting it, trying to take by force, then maybe it is time you consider your place in the relationship because that feeling isn't a healthy one.