A few years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to celebrate a big anniversary in Hawaii, not only in style but at a budget price. A friend who works for an airline offered us buddy passes, saving us hundreds of dollars in airfare, and by agreeing to attend a timeshare presentation, we stayed at a luxury resort for a fraction of the usual cost.
It was both serene and surreal. We spent a week in tropical paradise, although the trip got off to a rocky start — at least it did for me.
Our first flight was from Atlanta to Los Angeles. We sat at the gate, eyes glued to the monitor, hoping and praying there would be two available seats — and there were! But as we walked down the aisle of the plane, the last people to board before takeoff, a flight attendant stopped my husband and led him back toward the front of the plane.
I panicked. Surely they hadn’t over-calculated the number of available seats? But just as I sat down in the last seat in the back of the plane, I got a quick text from my husband saying not to worry and that he was still on board.
I offered up a prayer of gratitude. We got seats for our flight and were safely on our way.
Once we landed and reunited and my husband told me what had happened, things suddenly didn’t seem quite so sunny. The airline had a special club for its best customers and one of those million milers had been on our flight. Since he was on a trip with his family and wanted to sit with them, he gave up his coveted million miler member seat and all the perks that went with it — to my husband.
While I had sat cramped in the back, munching on my small bag of complimentary pretzels, he had stretched his legs and enjoyed a veritable feast in first class. He had photographed everything to show me, but I was too annoyed to be happy for him. Really? He flew cross country in first class in the front row, and I flew in the last seat in the back. Our experience couldn’t have been more dissimilar.
I knew I had to shake it off and get a better attitude or it would ruin my mood. Thankfully I did, and now it’s one of the travel stories we love to share from our trip.
I would like to say this was an isolated incident, the one time I offered jealousy a seat at our table (or on our airplane), but it wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last. It’s easy for me to get caught up in my feelings and forget marriage is meant to be a partnership, never a competition. As spouses, we should always have each other’s best interests at heart.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
If you feel a prick from your own conscience, don’t worry; you and I are not alone. The Lord knows human nature can interfere with our best intentions. His instruction can be easier to understand than to follow.
Loving our husbands won’t always be easy. If you find yourself in a place where you are displeased with your spouse more than you are delighted by him, if you’re more likely to compete with him than commiserate with him (Do you debate which of you had the worse night’s sleep or sorer muscles? Do you try to win every disagreement? Are you jealous of him when things go his way instead of yours?), or when you simply know you aren’t loving him the way God intended in marriage, take heart.
Embrace the promise of a new day and a new attitude. Ask the Lord to help you love your husband when he’s less than lovable (and vice versa). Rejoice in each other’s successes because when one wins, you both win. You’re on the same team, called to love one another well.