How many times have we allowed fear to dictate our decisions in marriage?
Ryan and I are somewhat opposites in the fact that he is more of a daredevil; ready to summit that next mountain; ride that next wave or simply try a new (somewhat risky) experience without much hesitation. This is one reason why I fell in love with him! On the other hand, I’m usually afraid that I won’t be physically (or mentally) prepared enough to summit a mountain – oh, and those waves look a little crazy, and is that a rip-tide I see? And new experience…hmmmm, I’d rather not do it in front of people I don’t know for fear of embarrassing myself.
Just last night (seriously), we went to Dairy Queen to get a treat (as a reward for Dela….and us), and just after we finished Ryan saw a bowling alley across the parking lot. So what does he do? “Let’s go bowling!” he says. I resisted but couldn’t find a good comeback to his “what else are we going to do tonight?” argument. We ended up having a great time and a new experience with our 2 y/o daughter! It’s amazing how different we are sometimes, and I love him for it.
3 Big Fears In Marriage
On a deeper level, I feel like we all struggle with different types of fear:
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out – Yes, this is a real term. I know this was a battle early on in our marriage. Ryan and I often feared that we weren’t making enough money, which led us to question our jobs, but not our motivation for why we felt like we “needed” more money. One of the primary areas we experience FOMO is on social media. Not to exhaust the topic, but I’m sure we have all looked at that couple’s Instagram feed and thought, Wow, we are definitely missing out by not (fill in the blank). And if we all reviewed our own feeds, couldn’t we too be found guilty of trying to be that couple too?
As a caveat, it’s not bad to question a career or even feel a bit challenged in your marriage based on a social media feed (ehm, Fierce Marriage!). The problem comes when our motivation is fear-based and not gospel-centered and faith-based.
Fear of Failure: How many times have you felt like you weren’t enough or that you didn’t measure up either as a couple, or to your spouse? As women, we tend to struggle with our body image – especially in the bedroom. Maybe we’re afraid to let our spouse down, in terms of intimacy, so we just “go with it” when really we aren’t comfortable with it and we feel degraded. This is not biblical. Or maybe we look at our marriage and all we see is failure and the only way out means divorce.
Fear of Rejection: The other fear that goes hand in hand with the fear of failure would be the fear of rejection. We are afraid that we won’t be or haven’t been accepted by our spouse. Or maybe it’s wanting so badly to fit in (and not be rejected by a friendship or even a church community) that we try to appear as if we have it all together – no matter the cost. So we overcompensate by spinning our wheels at work to pay those maxed out the credit card bills spent on hobbies, or unnecessary purchases that take us beyond our means thus straining our marriage even more.
Fear destroys priorities and wreaks havoc when left unchecked. It creates idols that will never save or deliver us from the darkness that inevitably consumes our souls if not brought to Jesus.
Fear stems from us not truly believing something about the gospel, which is why we constantly need to be pouring over God’s Word (the Bible) and letting it read us and remind us of the truth – of the grace and love that has already been given to us through Jesus.
Reminder & Repentance
Friends, your marriage does not have to be ruled by fear. When you repent of these fears and give them to God – believing that his Word is true and alive, you put Jesus back on the throne of our marriage. You trust him instead of your fear.
Repenting of the things you’ve done (or not done) because of fear in your marriage and instead trusting God – that is when faith is given and increased.
When we believe that Jesus is the King of Kings and that he conquered fear on the cross so that we no longer have to live or make decisions because in fear. We can now build on hope that is rooted in grace.
In Christ, we don’t miss out on anything. We find fullness (Ephesians 3:19) and completeness in him (Colossians 2:6, 9-10) and thus our marriage is no longer a vehicle for fear but a covenant of faith.
We are a new creation in Jesus, one that is not driven by a fear of failure, but one that is motivated by grace and love. That same grace and love that Jesus extended to us on the cross now fills our hearts, our marriage and what we may have seen as “failure” in the past now has nothing to compare to. We are complete and lacking nothing – fully accepted and being sanctified daily by God’s grace. There is no room for failure because Jesus has already won the war (John 16:33). It’s done; a foregone conclusion.
Being fully accepted by God was made possible because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Because of Jesus we are fully, accepted and unconditionally loved. Imagine what your marriage would look like with that message – the gospel – the good news of Jesus were at the center of your marriage; driving and dictating your decisions?
Let it sink in my friends. You are loved, accepted, redeemed, complete and lacking in nothing when you are found in Jesus. Repent and ask him to help you in areas you aren’t believing the gospel. I find myself doing this daily…
Lastly, I leave you with God’s Word where Paul (who was in prison and had been tortured for preaching the gospel) was reminding young Timothy to not be afraid but to fan the flame of sharing the gospel through prayer with each other – which I would encourage you to do with your spouse and with trusted Godly friends.
Pray and be reminded of what God has given you through Jesus.
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7