I used to think jealousy in a relationship was a very bad thing.
That idea goes back to a boyfriend I had ages ago who would fly into blood-boiling rages if another guy so much as glanced in my direction. Being young and dumb, I thought his possessiveness meant that he loved me a LOT, and on some level thought that I deserved the screaming (alternating with the silent treatment) because maybe I had worn something he had forbidden me to wear, or because I had in fact made eye contact with a cute guy that day.
But that was until one of his jealous rages left bruises, and that was the final straw for me. By the grace of God I had the good sense to know that even I didn’t deserve that.
I spent the next few years refusing to get attached to anyone. Attachment meant allowing myself to be possessed, and I wasn’t having that. I prided myself on ‘not being a jealous person,’ which in reality was just fear of getting attached to another person who might be mean. And so I didn’t get attached to anyone, and during that time I made more than one guy cry actual tears while (I’m ashamed to say) I laughed.
That boyfriend I mentioned? As it turns out, he had another girlfriend or six on the side, and his jealousy was his way of projecting onto me something he himself was doing. Therefore, I came to believe that if boyfriends are jealous, it’s because they themselves can’t be trusted.
So if jealousy is about insecurity, immaturity, or an indicator of dishonesty….
Why does the Bible say that God is a jealous God?
Then there’s that song I told you about…. The one that says, “He is jealous for me…” That song has been stuck in my head since last Sunday, and I’ve been pondering the idea since then that if God himself is jealous…
Doesn’t that mean that jealousy is a good thing?
Of course God’s jealousy doesn’t stem from insecure self-centeredness like some silly college boy’s might, but rather out of vast love for us.
Because of God’s enormous love for us, anything that separates us from Him makes Him jealous for us.
With that in mind… wouldn’t it be right to assume that jealousy, rooted in love, has a place in a healthy, trusting relationship?
Not the kind of angry jealousy that leads to bruises…. I want the kind of jealousy that only seeks to protect the relationship from them.
Not the kind of immature jealousy that’s suffocating…. I want the kind of jealousy that says, “Have a life outside of me. Just don’t let it come between me and you.”
Not the kind of insecure jealousy that’s controlling… I want the kind of jealousy where we happily, willingly put in their place those things that cause the other person to doubt.
The right kind of jealousy makes you feel valued and cherished and loved.
I want to be valued so much that there’s a part of his world that belongs only to me.
I want to be valued so much that there’s a clearly defined, jealously-guarded boundary separating that part of his world that’s mine exclusively from that part which is open to the public, and EVERYONE knows the difference between the two because they know his character but most of all because they know how he values me.
I suppose that makes me a jealous person.
And I never thought I’d say that… but then again I don’t think that’s a bad thing.