It's known as the green-eyed monster—that maligned, shameful, terrible emotion that people call "jealousy." And yet, according to Rabbi Shmuley, there's nothing wrong with a little jealousy, which he says is a "very important, central emotion to relationships." Rabbi Shmuley talks about the role of jealousy in healthy relationships.
While many people often assume jealousy is a negative characteristic and a personality flaw that stems from insecurity, Rabbi Shmuley says jealousy is in fact a natural emotion that everyone feels when they truly care about and love the person they're with. "Your jealousy is a manifestation of your desire to posses him [or her] because you love him [or her]," he says.
In healthy doses, Rabbi Shmuley says jealousy can even rekindle the passion in a dormant relationship. After all, he says relationships need some spark in order to last. "Jealousy is a necessary and formidable weapon in our armory of love that ought to be utilized to keep people together," he says. What's more, he says you have a right to feel jealous when warranted by your spouse's actions.
Of course, Rabbi Shmuley says that like everything in life, balance is the key—extreme jealousy can be harmful, but so can a complete lack of any jealous feelings whatsoever. If you never experience jealous emotions over your spouse, Rabbi Shmuley offers these words of caution: "It's not because you're an enlightened human being, it's not because you've moved on in life—it's because you have fallen out of love."
"Envy is the illegitimate desire to possess that which belongs to someone else, but jealousy is the justifiable wish to own that which is rightfully yours."
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 12, 2013