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What is Jealousy?
“Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation. Jealousy strikes both men and women, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or perceived.”[i]
How Can Jealousy Interfere with the Best Possible Sex?
Dr. Noam Shpancer, Ph.D. in his article “Jealousy Hurts Love or Does it?” said:
“It is no surprise that research has often linked romantic jealousy with strife and dissatisfaction in a relationship.”[ii]
An emotion that brings with it fear and rage and humiliation will clog up the finer emotional channels, so that love and affection cannot be felt nor expressed with any sincerity. Unless they’re into “hate sex”, attempting to arouse your spouse while they experience such emotions, or trying to get turned on yourself, can be near-impossible under this kind of emotional turmoil.
If sex happens at all, it might happen on the wave of an intense emotion such as rage, which is not an emotion that edifies nor uplifts or emotionally unifies either spouse. Good sex and healthy progression is unsustainable under such conditions.
When your child is the catalyst of your fear of losing your spouse.
Jealousy isn’t always about a romantic rival. A particularly toxic situation that can sometimes happen is when one spouse feels competition with a child for the affections of the other spouse.
In case you new mothers out there are wondering why your spouse doesn’t seem as into the baby as you are, this is normal. Men (in general) only produce about 10% of the oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that women do.
You could hear the audible exhale of relief when I told my male friends and clients this. They thought something was wrong with them because they didn’t have the rush of feelings of love and bonding at seeing their new born baby – that the movies promised they would feel. Men don’t always feel that, and that is normal.
Because of this, a husband may find himself jealous over his wife’s attention to the new baby if she neglects her spouse’s feelings and needs, or a wife might find herself jealous of her child’s relationship with her husband.
How to Overcome Jealousy in an LDS Marriage
*It may sound simplistic, but sometimes the simplest answer is best; continue dating each other.
“It's completely normal to be jealous of your wife's relationship with your new baby — especially if she's bonding with him through breastfeeding. But it's important to ask yourself who's really making you jealous: your wife, for being so close with your baby? Or your baby, for coming between you and your wife? My guess is probably both.
Whatever the cause of your jealousy, it's best to get your feelings out in the open. Start by talking to your partner as clearly and honestly as possible.As important as talking is, it probably won't be enough. Create a date night or go for a walk with your wife.”[iii]
*After the children come, there is no such thing as “spontaneous” anymore
Time together must be planned and scheduled to keep the relationship balanced. But, if you think about it, regularly scheduling time for your spouse can be very romantic. It shows your spouse that you care enough about them to make and keep time for them in your busy and demanding life.
*Be conscious of your spouse’s feelings. Usually you can gauge when something is not right or the spirit of harmony has left. Communication is 80% of a relationship, so make yourself a safe place to express what the other is experiencing and to come up with ideas for resolution.
Jealousy doesn’t have to get in the way of the best possible sex if you’re both willing to put the other first.
“There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage; but like all formulas, the principal ingredients must not be left out or limited. The selection before courting and the continued courting after the marriage ceremony are equally important. But they are not more important than the marriage itself. Its success depends upon both partners.”[iv]
Join us next time as we discuss how gynocentrism and androcentrism affect the best possible sex.
[ii] Shpancer, Noam Ph.D., Jealousy Hurts Love, or Does It?, Psychology Today, Apr 01, 2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201504/jealousy-hurts-love-or-does-it
[iii] Brott, Armin, Babycenter.com, 2017, As a new dad, how can I get over my jealousy toward my new baby?https://www.babycenter.com/404_as-a-new-dad-how-can-i-get-over-my-jealousy-toward-my-new-ba_3568.bc
[iv] Kimball, Spencer W., Oneness In Marriage, June, 1978, LDS.org, https://www.lds.org/liahona/1978/06/oneness-in-marriage?lang=eng