83: The Comparison Trap

83: The Comparison Trap

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

The Comparison Trap

By Kelly Combs

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves…

~2 Corinthians 10:12

“Why can’t my husband be more like her husband?” I silently wondered about a woman I knew at church. My spiritual life seemed to be growing in leaps and bounds, and yet I couldn’t get my husband to do more than attend church on Sunday.

I longed to attend a Sunday school class together, but instead I attended a daytime Bible study alone, along with Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) and Wednesday night church dinners.

In comparison, that woman’s husband seemed to be everywhere. He attended Sunday school and Wednesday night dinners with her, and sang on the praise team. He was with her and their kids at every family activity our church sponsored.

But an interesting thing happened. As I attended more events and got to be friends with her, she asked if she could share a concern with me. “My husband has anger issues, and we really need prayer,” she said. I agreed to pray for her, but I was stunned. Her husband had anger issues? And I had wished my husband could be more like him…

Suddenly, I noticed all the positive things about my husband. Yes, he “only” attended church with me, but he attended every Sunday, faithfully and without complaint. He was a kind and loving husband and father, and an excellent provider for our family. I still wished his spiritual growth would more closely mirror mine, but I no longer played the comparison game with other husbands. Instead, I focused on my husband’s positive attributes and prayed for his spiritual growth.

Years passed, and eventually we changed churches. The second Sunday we attended our new church, my husband said, “I guess we should find a Sunday school class.” Shocked, I just nodded and followed him down the hall. Soon, he was attending Wednesday night suppers and family events with me. I was thrilled.

This experience has taught me several lessons. First, the comparison trap is a dangerous one. Because we only see the outward appearance, we don’t know what happens behind closed doors in others’ homes. Not only that, but comparisons lead to bitterness and envy. In choosing to look at my husband’s positive attributes, I was no longer bitter, but content.

Second, prayer works! I prayed for my husband’s spiritual growth, instead of just wishing for it. But don’t think it happened overnight. It was literally years before I began to see small changes, and it’s been nearly ten years since we first attended our old church. But, make no mistake, God did answer my prayers on His own timetable.

I am so thankful to God for not only growing my husband, but continuing to grow me as well. Currently, my husband is working toward his master’s degree in theology. I am so proud of him. When I look at my husband now, compared to the man he used to be, there is no comparison. We have both been made new by God.

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