The following column by Jennifer Houlihan was published in the fall 2014 issue of Better Times Magazine.

I have been guilty of jealousy at times, when it comes to my marriage. This jealousy has nothing to do with my husband. It’s 100 percent silly, unrealistic pride and competitiveness with other wives.

I don’t like thinking some other chick has it better than I do.

An envious attitude is destructive to a marriage. It’s hard for a husband to stand it. I didn’t make that up, it’s right here in Proverbs 27:4. “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous, but who is able to stand before envy?”

When I first got married — and occasionally since then, until I realize this is what is happening and promptly nip it — I wanted my husband to have all the admirable qualities of every man I’d ever seen or heard about since I was 4 years old, and none of the bad qualities.

This is absurd. That guy doesn’t exist, not for any wife.

A husband can’t drop canned goods from his fighter plane during a missions trip while presenting you with a diamond necklace he bought during your anniversary trip to Paris, before initiating family devotions for your 12 children, implementing scripture he memorized in Hebrew along with a poem he composed for you the day he planted a row of leyland cypress trees which you really wish he had arranged in a more staggered fashion but whatever, it’s too late now because this afternoon he’s arguing in front of the Supreme Court for stricter internet laws for minors, and you will be glad when he’s finished with that and begins his benefit 10K run so that he will come home and load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, which he recently repaired MacGyver style using popsicle sticks and liquid iodine.

Perhaps he would simply like to watch the football game?

We laugh and tell ourselves that no wife could be quite that diva. True, maybe not all in the same paragraph. Maybe not all in the same day. But what about over a span of three years? What about a span of 20 or 35 years? A wife could hope that her husband would do every one of those things.

She had better not invite those thoughts in to have tea.

Otherwise, her personality begins to take on a critical attitude of wishing her husband would do things that she thinks other husbands are doing. She is wishing her husband is different. A husband translates that into meaning his wife wishes she had married someone else.

Ouch. He’s just been handed a discouraging existence.

The Bible says to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. If we wives think about our marriages in a competitive, jealous and comparing way, it makes for one impossible to please wife. It equals a lifetime of frustration for a husband, who feels he will never measure up.

Not fun.

Dudes are designed by God to slay the dragon and win the girl. A husband slays the dragon as he tries his best every day to provide for his family. He needs to know he’s won his wife’s heart and that, no matter what, it will stay that way.

Little eyes are watching their mothers all the time. Children, whether 18 months old or 23 years old, are experts in detecting disappointment and jealousy in their mother’s attitude toward marriage. Nary a word need be spoken. The children see it in her frosty facial expression toward their daddy. They hear it in her tone of voice toward their daddy. Their world is in confusion and their hearts are breaking.

Most of all, we wives don’t want to let down our Heavenly Father. Ephesians says for wives to give reverence to their husbands. Nowhere in the Bible can we find anything that suggests a wife must first make sure he’s a buff Mister Rogers astronaut ninja. We obey the scripture unconditionally, out of love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

After all, Jesus Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived.

Jesus Christ is the object of our worship. He is the source of our strength. He is where we get our identity. We love our husbands, we honor them, and we respect them.

But a wife has to accept that her husband, ultimately, is just a guy. He’s a guy, who used to be a little boy and is trying to have a family now. He needs his wife’s ongoing approval and admiration.

In that perfect Garden of Eden, things just weren’t quite good enough for Eve. She had to go there with the fruit. Now I realize our own lives are not perfect like Eve’s was. But there is a lot of beauty and good that we could be focusing on, instead of focusing on what we wish we had. We don’t know for certain what made Adam cave and go along with Eve. I believe it might have been because nothing is worse for a man than a wife who is always wishing things were different.

I wonder if the opposite of jealousy could be gratitude. I am very happily married and I’ll tell you why. This is my opinion of my marriage and it’s plenty:

“I have a good man who loves me.”