Finding yourself in a relationship that’s growing and blossoming into something long-lasting and meaningful is beautiful and exciting. Your love grows deeper, your partnership becomes more powerful and you transform into a sort of superhero team capable of confronting any challenge.
But like any superhero team, your relationship will bring two things along with it— a whole bunch of new elastic underwear, and a super-villain team hell-bent on taking you down.
We’re talking about…The Über Couple.
The Über Couple is a force that you’ll likely encounter sometime in your relationship, whether they’re your neighbors, a couple you meet at the home of a mutual friend, or some folks you know from high school that have been together before you and your partner even met.
The Über Couple is the couple that seems perfect in every single way and has a way of making sure you know it.
They’re financially stable, live in a bigger home than you, work better jobs than you. They either have two perfect young children with names like Coylton and Saxbury or have no kids at all and celebrate by traveling and spending money constantly. They seem to always agree on everything, and they are always putting their hands on each other’s faces lovingly even when there are people around and it makes everybody uncomfortable.
The Über Couple is always going on “working vacations” to far off locations where one of them has some sort of conference. They have always just bought new lawn equipment that they can’t wait to show you, and their home is filled with trinkets that they’ve picked up from exotic locales that you always thought were closed to tourists. (“I grabbed this adorable bracelet charm from a destroyed village in the Middle East, isn’t it just divine?”)
The Über Couple knows people. They start successful petitions to get new mailboxes installed in the neighborhood and their cousin works for some celebrity in Hollywood.
Once you encounter the Über Couple, you might start to suffer from insecurities regarding your own relationship.
Why don’t we have the money to travel all the time?
How come we don’t have kids already?
Why do they always seem like they’re so happy?
Why don’t we have any trinkets from the Middle East?
These kinds of insecurities and jealousies can put real strain on a new marriage.
This is how many people might interpret and deal with these feelings— they’ll tell themselves that underneath the Über Couple’s outer image is probably a collection of struggles all their own that are just as bad or far worse than yours. That if you could just see the problems that they deal with on a regular basis, you would realize that you wouldn’t trade places with them for all the money in the world.
But we’ve been hearing this sort of advice our whole lives, and there is a distinct problem with it. Whether someone else is having struggles or not should have absolutely no bearing on your own happiness or the happiness in your relationship. I spent a great deal of my pre-married life looking at people who were better off than me, waiting for them to reveal some crack, some problem that would show me that they didn’t really have it so great.
My wife quickly helped me realize that this is no way to go through life. If you comfort yourself with assurances that other people are suffering more than you are, or maybe they’re not as happy as they appear, you will only find yourself focused more on others than on your own life and marriage.
What if you spend all that time and energy looking for cracks in the facade and find that there aren’t any? The brutal truth is that the people around you who appear to have less struggles than you might actually have less struggles than you. You might meet folks at the most blessed moment in their lives, and they may stay that way for a long time or even forever. Meanwhile you and your partner deal with heartache, financial stress, illness, and other trials.
We reject the idea that everyone encounters the same amount of heartache and sadness in their life, mainly because it’s simply not true and also because that mindset is not productive for forging our own happiness. Your relationship is beautiful because of you and your partner— your connection with each other and the way you face each day together. Your happiness will not be dictated by your own struggles and it will definitely not be dictated by where you stand on the Grand Spectrum of Tough Problems, Couples’ Edition.
If you have an Über Couple in your life, try to absolve yourself the need to constantly compete with them either in reality or in your minds. If they happen to be the type of people who actively seek out opportunities to display their imagined status over others, extract them from you and your partner’s life like the poison that they are.
But if you meet a couple whom you truly like but who are simply at a different, less stressful stage of their lives— don’t avoid them. You will only be allowing a personal issue within you and your marriage to fester. That’s not something you want to allow for any negative influence on your marriage. Stay focused on you two and how awesome you are, and everything else will fall into place.