The Grass Is Never Greener on the Other Side
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
“‘And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.’ - Deuteronomy 5:21
My little mini-Schnauzer cracks me up. Every day, he’ll sit inside the living room and stare out the French doors into the backyard, agitated and constantly wanting to go outside to chase squirrels. Once I let him out, usually within a few minutes, he’s back staring at me through the window from the yard, wanting to come back inside. We do this a dozen times a day.
It might be funny when it’s a dog’s silly antics—but not so much when that same level of discontent is evident in your own marriage. We get married and begin by loving our “yard”—our marriage. It might not be fancy, but it’s ours. It’s pretty. We worked hard for it. We paid for it—so we protect it. We place “do not walk on the grass” signs. We guard against intruders. We spray for weeds and are diligent to care for it.
Then, like my Schnauzer, time passes, and we start glancing outside. It might start off relatively small—such as admiring someone in the gym or at the office. Thinking the neighbor down the street is attractive. Wondering who the new deliveryman is. Then it grows more specific, such as noticing things about your spouse that you wish were more like so-and-so. And suddenly, discontent grows, and we start wondering if perhaps our yard isn’t all that green after all. We start looking into other yards and comparing ours to theirs. The discontent then morphs into a monster and we’re at risk of burning it all down with sin.
The church isn’t immune to this. It’s not uncommon for couples to experience coveting or jealousy within their own small group or Sunday School classes. It’s not even uncommon for full-blown affairs to start in church!
But guess what? Once you make the leap, you’re going to be just like my dog, staring through the glass, wishing you were back where you were. Because the view from the other side isn’t worth it. Sin distorts. It promises pleasure where there’s only pain. It makes guarantees it can’t keep. And it lies.
If you feel the weed of discontent growing and tugging at your ankle, cut it off with a hacksaw. Focus on watering your own marriage—in fertilizing and investing in the blossoms of your relationship with your spouse. Trust me, so-and-so at church are struggling with their own issues. That deliveryman and that co-worker are living out their own relationships with their own sin and bad habits.
Don’t get fooled by the mirage. Stay in your yard, put up those “do not walk on the grass” signs again, and protect the blessing of marriage that God has given you.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over sixteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Visit her and see a list of books at http://www.betsystamant.com./
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