When it comes to marriage and relationships, it's easy to compare your own to someone else's. And it's not just seeing a couple you know holding hands or making out in public.
It's the sweet birthday Facebook updates. The anniversary tweets. The now myriad ways people can publicly express their love to their partners and spouses so that everyone else can see and hear how much in love they still are.
Or, at least, want us to think they are.
When we compare our relationship with another person's, it's really like comparing apples and oranges.
Because as much as we'd like to think that we're getting the full picture of their relationship, we're really only seeing small snippets of behaviors and interactions that could have all sorts of meanings.
I still remember a couple I saw a few years ago at a family gathering. He was supportive of his wife's endeavors, gushing over her at dinner and making all of the women at the table jealous.
Next thing you know, they're getting divorced.
And don't even get me started on all the public proclamations of love and happiness on blogs everywhere and then, boom! Divorced.
The truth is that you have absolutely no idea what's really going on behind closed doors. Maybe that's why Ben Affleck's Oscar speech was so refreshing; it was a little insight into what's beyond all the photos and images we see, especially when it comes to celebrity relationships, which tend to get idolized the most.
After many years of watching couples and sharing my own marriage stories on my blog Motherhood Uncensored, I've learned that what we're seeing -- at parties, dinners, on Facebook, and on TV -- are just snapshots of what people want to share.
Hey, I get it. No one wants to be caught fighting in public or sitting in complete silence over dinner. It can be completely embarrassing and socially unacceptable.
And to be clear, this doesn't mean that couples who are publicly affectionate aren't being authentic. And that their interactions aren't the same in the privacy of their home.
But we shouldn't put them up on a pedestal, either. And we certainly shouldn't compare our own relationship with theirs because we're setting ourselves up for failure.
All the envy that we might have when it comes to someone else's amazing marriage? Let's channel it as energy into our own relationships.
Do you have relationship envy?
Image via TheBusyBrain/Flickr