Help! I Can’t Stop Comparing Myself to Another Woman!

biblical body image body image idolatry comparison friendship identity marriage self-esteem Mar 13, 2024
help can't stop comparing myself to another woman

Here’s a question about an experience many of us have had, but few of us will admit to. This was a real reader question, used by permission here. This is what I said to encourage a reader who struggles with comparing herself to another woman.

Dear Heather:

A new woman moved in across from my husband and I. I’ll admit, after our last neighbor had moved out, I prayed that anyone but a young beautiful girl would move in. But wouldn’t you know it, this exact girl has moved in across from us. She’s stunning and in fantastic shape. She’s tan and she has a successful career. I have been struggling to find a job for over a year. I’m beyond discouraged. And I can’t understand why God wouldn’t answer my prayer. I just want to protect my marriage and not have my husband compare me to the young hottie who’s got it all together. Do you have any advice how to handle this situation because we can’t move at the moment and it’s been stressful between the two of us?


Frustrated in Fresno

Dear Frustrated:
I’m so sorry for your struggle. I totally get it. I used to do the same thing.
But, I also wonder if maybe God allowed this woman to move in to help you overcome your comparison struggles. The older I get the more I’ve come to realize that I’m never going to be the winner of the beauty contest anymore . . . there will always be someone thinner, hotter, prettier, more successful. The days of believing I could compete are drawing to an end as I get closer to mid-life and recognize that a twenty-year old’s body is no longer anywhere close to being possible! (Haha!)
To that end, I don’t think moving solves anything (even if you could move). Because, sweet friend, there will always be another beautiful woman. Either in the flesh or on TV or on a billboard . . .there’s always going to be another one. So handling the struggle inside you is the absolute only thing you can control.

Thing 1: Do you know he’s comparing you?

So, I guess my first question for you is: Do you know that your husband is comparing you to her? Has he verbalized that? Or, do you just assume that he is because you are comparing yourself to her. Those are two different things. I think we make a lot of assumptions of things our husbands are thinking or feeling . . .but not always are they the truth. Especially when it comes to marriage, the enemy has a way of lying in our ears, all the time, to disrupt our intimacy with our husband and cause strain . . .and half the time. . . the struggle is all in our heads. He messes with our minds and makes us think things that aren’t reality. I lived this for the first several years of my marriage and a licensed counselor really helped me weed through the lies so I could actually believe my husband loved and wanted me.

From there . . . I think you choose your route:

Route 1: Graciously Ask Him to Stop Comparing.

If your husband is telling you he’s comparing you to her, you graciously ask him to stop. To appreciate your uniqueness and that he’s being unfair. If you were to compare him to Matthew McCoughney and Bill Gates, he probably wouldn’t win the looks or the money contest . . . so I’d just respectfully ask him to stop and seek counseling, together, for this deeper issue in both of your hearts.

Route 2: Accept the Fact that the Comparison May Be Your Internal Struggle

If your husband does not compare you to this other woman out loud, if he says he doesn’t compare you but you feel like he does,  you’ve got to take those thoughts captive my friend. You are driving yourself nuts with jealousy and envy. You’ve made an idol out of looking gorgeous and having a successful jobs. God looks at the heart. He doesn’t believe a woman’s value is in her appearance or her work.
If we disagree with God on that front–if we tell him, “No, we really need to be hot and successful to be saved. . . Yes, that and Jesus . . .” then it’s idolatry.
I explain it more in my book, but quite simply, it’s a sin problem. I know that may sound harsh. But, I can confess to you that I was caught up in this sin for decades? I let the sin of comparison and idolatry rob me and my marriage for years and years. I tried to distract my husband from every bikini billboard . . . turn the channel when the cheerleaders came on, etc . . . but I couldn’t manage making sure that he never saw another beautiful woman. It just wasn’t possible.
I drove myself crazy trying to stop him from ever seeing beauty. It affected every aspect of our marriage. (And yes, he got very annoyed with me). Why? Because he couldn’t possibly fight all the false allegations I had against him in my head. In my head, he had decided she was better than me and was really wanting her, not me. But, it wasn’t true.
Can I encourage you: he chose you. He married you. If he wanted another woman, he could have chosen her. But, unless you can rest in his love, you keep him on trial where he’s guilty until proven innocent.
This is a horrible position for a man to be in, feeling like he can never prove his love enough. I’d encourage you to let him off the hook. Forgive him if you’ve caught him look twice at the beautiful woman — and remember that, just maybe, you’ve also looked twice at a very good looking man. And, yet, you chose him. You love him. You want to be married to him.
Trust that he loves you, too, and likely has run out of options for getting you to understand this because jealousy blinds us. The truth is that we can appreciate another man’s handsomeness without wanting to be “with him” and we have to allow the same for our husbands They will notice beautiful women.
But that doesn’t mean that they love them or want them.
If we see every pretty woman as a potential threat to our marriage, we’ll never be free to have healthy relationships. And, too often, I see women creating self-fulfilling prophecies in this arena, where they get so obsessed that their husband wants another woman that they eventually talk him into it. He feels like “well, she’s mad at me for wanting her already . . . I guess I might as well.”
The Bible calls jealousy and envy demonic (James 3:14-16). This is the work of the enemy to steal, kill and destroy in your life and your marriage.
Friend, I hope I’m speaking the truth with enough love here —but please seek some wise counsel from someone who loves and knows you both. Your marriage doesn’t have to be affected by a beautiful woman who lives across the street. The enemy is wreaking havoc in your heart over this -and it’s keeping you from experiencing intimacy in the way God intends.


The most helpful thing you can do is to release this all through confession. Go to the Father and tell him you are sorry for the ways you’ve been jealous and envied this woman. Ask him to forgive you for vain imaginations and for idolizing all that she has—beauty and a great job—as things that you need in order to keep your husband’s love. And receive HIS great love for you, so you can rest. Tell your husband you’ve done it and ask him to help you by encouraging you to not determine your standing in life by where you are “as compared to” someone else. There will always be someone better, and always someone worse. That’s why comparison is a joy killer and a trap. But, friend, freedom starts not just with acknowledging this -but if you are a Christian -with confessing this as sin and letting God cleanse you of it so he can start ministering his love to your heart again.
I hope this helps. Praying for you to experience a fresh dose of God’s true love for you and a new found freedom and confidence in your marriage.
In His Grace & Love,

Need more encouragement? Check out Heather's books here, or her online course and coaching program here. You can also give the Compared to Who? podcast a listen, for twice-weekly encouragement with body image struggles from a Christian standpoint, where she explores all the nitty-gritty details we all face when struggling with body image woes and how to get free.


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