In an interview, John Gottman was once asked what to do about “insatiable jealousy” in relationships.
His response hit on something really profound for me.
“I believe that every person has areas of enduring vulnerability. For a marriage to succeed, these vulnerabilities need to be understood and honored.”
This flips jealousy on its head. Instead of something to avoid in relationships, jealousy becomes an opportunity to connect. In her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown writes, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
When we understand why we get jealous, we can manage it in a way that is compassionate and constructive. Recognizing and embracing your partner’s enduring vulnerabilities, as well as your own, will strengthen your relationship.