Do you have a friend who seems to be married to the perfect man? Her doting husband takes her to fine restaurants, brings home flowers for no reason, and watches the kids regularly so she can enjoy a night out. The more you consider the virtues of your friend’s husband, the more you see the glaring vices in your own.

Negative thoughts swirl in your head: My husband would never do that for me. We could never afford a dream vacation. Romance, what’s that? My husband is rude and insensitive.

Before you take one step further down this discouraging path, consider the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” When you constantly compare your marriage to the seemingly perfect marriage next door, you’re going to make yourself miserable. You’ll never measure up to that mythical, blissful union. Instead of improving your own prospect for happiness, you’ll sabotage your marriage. Seeds of envy and self-pity can wreak havoc upon a good home.

Rather than peering over the fence at the honeymooners next door, try tending your relationship with these simple actions.

Choose a Better Yardstick for Your Marriage

The real problem with comparing our marriages to those of others is that when we do so, we’re measuring against the wrong standard. Accurate standards are truly important, in marriage as in every aspect of life. Imagine what a chocolate chip cookie would taste like if you put one cup of salt instead of one tablespoon into the batter. Accurate measurements matter!

In marriage, we can pick up the wrong measuring stick and end up with destructive results. One wrong means of measurement is comparing ourselves to the Joneses. I love what Erma Bombeck said: “Before ...

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