Jealousy - The Green Eyed Monster
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THOUGH jealousy is commonly looked upon as a manifestation of the evil side of one's character, it is in reality the expression of an instinct that performs a definite and important service.
In the perpetuation of the human race the sanctity of the home is one of the most important factors. A wife must be true and loyal to her husband, and the same fidelity is incumbent upon -him. The instinct expressed in jealousy en-forces in a very direct manner the mandates of the laws of monogamous marriage. A man watches his wife with jealous care. On the other hand, a wife's every instinct and her keenest powers of intuition are used in the same way. She wants her husband and lover all to herself. She will accept no deviation in his conduct, is jealous frequently of his very thoughts. She wants to be the "apple of his eye." She will not willingly permit any other woman to enter into his life and thoughts. And the husband is interested to an equal degree in maintaining the integrity and honor of his home.
Jealousy, therefore, is a very important force in human character. It helps to insure the perpetuation of the human race under the best conditions. It protects the home from violation. It gives the home and family a more certain permanence.
In cases where men are untrue to their wives, or wives are untrue to their husbands, absolute secrecy is maintained in regard to such deviations,—an acknowledgment that mistakes of this sort are not only conventional crimes, but unnatural crimes of the worst sort.
Jealousy serves a beneficent purpose, and its various manifestations not only should not be too much condemned but should be viewed with a certain amount of approval. You can rest assured that in practically every instance a woman who seriously loves you is also jealous of you. She will make every possible endeavor to insure your "being true to her. You can take this as very definite evidence of her own love for you and loyalty to you. You should not, therefore, view this as an unpleasant phase of her nature, for you must expect a certain amount of this feeling within your own heart and soul. If you are truly in love with your wife you must expect to be jealous of her. You must expect to demand of her the same loyalty that you feel should be
given her- in return. And it is only natural that any deviation on her part would materially change your attitude toward her and your love for her.
I realize that theorists and dreamers of a certain type will take exception to this practical view of the subject. The statement is frequently made that jealousy is the _expression of pride and not of love. In support of this way of thinking is urged the fact that one may be jealous of a mate whom he does not love, the feeling being entirely the result of outraged vanity and sense of ownership. Love, it is said, is unselfish, whereas jealousy is selfish; love is sacrificing, whereas jealousy is simply a matter of owner-ship. It may be that you have read statements and arguments of this type. But the great mistake made by such theorists is due to a confusion of thought upon the subject of love. Unfortunately, the word "love" has a number of meanings. These theorists have in mind an abstract, idealized conception of love which is entirely divorced from the love of the sexes. In marriage we are not dealing with "Platonic affection."
The union of a man and woman in marriage is the result of sex love, and that is a very different thing from the idealized conception of these theorists. The love of the sexes is a very practical matter, with a definite purpose. Nor does this mean that sex love is a mere physical attraction. It is as much psychic as physical. It has to do with the mind and soul as much as the body. We cannot even say that the _expression of sex love is merely physical, for if we could analyze all the factors involved we might find that the cur-rents of nerve-force which go to make up sex-magnetism are more psychic than physical. It is impossible to say that energy of this nature is purely physical. Therefore, one cannot belittle sex love by stigmatizing it as a "physical attraction." It is infinitely more than that. It is the highest and noblest force in the universe, and its practical purpose is the perpetuation of life. Its definite aim is the bringing of children into the world and insuring their highest welfare after birth.
Sex love, therefore, involves possession, and loyalty one to the other, as a necessary and inevitable part of the relation. The union is made permanent for the sake of providing most perfectly for the children. Therefore jealousy is an essential part of sex love. Pride or vanity may have something to do with it in some instances, but analysis will show that this pride and jealousy are rooted in the sex attraction and the conditions and relations that grow out of it.
In short, jealousy appears to be simply the working out of a great natural law that has for its purpose the perpetuation of the race.
Valuable and helpful as it is when controlled, it must not be permitted to run to unreasonable and heart-breaking extremes.