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How Do You Do Jealous?

Can jealousy make a marriage better, or is it toxic every time?

This post on, about the different types of jealousy, brought up an interesting question for me: Can jealousy ever be a positive thing? Personally, I think it can. But everything hinges upon how the jealous party behaves. I think we can all agree that snooping, in any of its forms (whether that be scrolling through cell phone logs, hacking into Facebook accounts or literally digging through that shoe box stashed in the back of the closet), is destructive. I think that it's also true that if you’re threatened by your spouse's independence (i.e., you don’t like them going out with their friends), you probably have some personal work to do.

It might sound a little sick on my part, but I've always found Jack's jealousy to be fairly endearing. I think that it boils down to two reasons. First, he's just not a jerk about it. Jack has never tried to hold me back, and for the most part, he really lets me be me. That means he's never treated me with suspicion, even if I was dressing sexy or hanging out with a guy friend (which I often did when we were first dating). He'd question me now and then, to make sure he knew the true nature of what was going on, but never in an accusatory way. This approach worked really well with me, because his calmness helped me see when I was actually behaving inappropriately. Second, he doesn't get jealous very often. Because it's so infrequent, when it does happen, it feels flattering -- a little reminder that he still finds me hot and thinks other men might too. If it were something that happened all the time, I don't think I'd find it flattering, though. In fact, I'd know that it was really all about him and some personal insecurity that needed sorting out ASAP.

Does your spouse get jealous? Is it the good kind or the bad kind? How do you deal with it?

-- Holly

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