But it’s not in the manner that you might expect. We’re not talking about relying on other people for comfort, emotional support, or advice. In fact, the benefit they provide is completely unintended, and they’re not likely to be thrilled to know they’re helping by playing an unflattering role in our thought processes.
Let’s say your marriage is not where you want it to be. Your partner does or says things that get under you skin, or doesn’t do things you’d like them to do. But maybe at the same time you’re not sure your expectations as to what you want or don’t want are realistic.
Here’s how other people help — they give us something to compare to. We gauge the quality of our own marriage by observing other couples. We might use them to identify things we do well as a couple and areas where we could use improvement. But these comparisons are done with a single motive in mind. We want to make ourselves feel good, and we can do that when we’re able to say to ourselves that…
“My marriage is at least as good, if not better, and maybe much better, than yours.”