A little fear can be a good thing. Especially when it gives us a healthy respect for dangerous things. Dark parking lots, strangers, storms, hot stoves, sharks, zombies etc… all to be feared. That fear, while it can have a little too much place in our lives, also serves as means of avoiding harmful consequences.
Fear in marriage, however, is almost always destructive. One of the most important aspects of marriage is safety, closeness…to be “fully known and fully loved.” Yet it (fear) is the very thing that most women (and really most men too) struggle with. In fact it is so common that Psychology Today says fear is the single biggest obstacle women face in their lives. And a “top 3” in a man’s life. Fear of rejection … fear of being alone … fear of missing out … fear of being “found out” … fear of what others think about them… etc…
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
That being said, these are the questions from last Sunday’s “I Do Now What?” class designed to FIGHT FEAR in our marriage and develop closeness. Caution: Be wise when answering these questions. If your marriage is not used to “brutal honesty”, then now would be a terrible time to start unloading everything. If you and your spouse use each others faults against one another then that has to be cleared up first. If you guys are in real marital trouble and the honest answers to these questions will be harmful at best, then some healing may need to take place before these questions are helpful. Got it?
- Husband: Tell your wife why you love her. Share your feelings about who she is and what she means to you. Remember what you saw when you had to see her?…. When you had to hear her voice? … When you had to touch her? “Go back” to that place and tell her all about it! But you don’t feel that way anymore? Remember what it was like and you may change your feelings. Yes, by the way, you CAN change your feelings.
- Wife: tell your husband about your respect for him and what he does in life. The qualities you admire in him and the reasons you admire them. If it is true that a man would choose to be respected before he is loved, then it is up to you to help him feel respected. Nothing respectable about him? C’mon…nothing? is he Disciplined? Creative? Passionate? Focused? Free-Spirited? Driven? Caring father? etc… surely there is something. When you identify what it is…let him know. If you are sincere and he believes that you are, then you will “speak life into him”.
- In humility, Husband: Share what your tendency is… (Dominant, Passive, Immoral, Distracted) ask forgiveness for when it has wounded or harmed your wife. Open up about your tendencies. She already knows anyway. Do you tend to dominate or are you passive? Are you struggling with certain sin? Share as much as you can…bring her into your confidence. This will be a huge part of breaking down walls of deception (should they exist) and beginning a new level of intimacy in your marriage. Wives: be so careful not to make him feel foolish for trusting you in this.
- In humility, Wife: Share what your tendency is…. (Dominant, Enabler, Distracted, Emotion-Motivated) Ask forgiveness for when it has wounded your husband. He knows, trust me, he does. What he needs to know is that “you know”. Rarely will a woman be vulnerable about her struggle that a man will not understand and listen. Husbands: if she trusts you with her “stuff” you can NEVER use it against her. Even when you are mad. Deal?
- Each Day this week: Thank God for how your spouse is made. Ask God to reveal to you how you can show love, respect for your spouse. Then do it! Part of the attraction to your spouse (I assume) is that they are different than you are. They look different, they act differently, they smell different. That is good by the way. Enjoy the differences! It is ok that he does not talk like a girl even though you sometimes wish he would drop everything and share for hours. Its ok that she prefers long walks to watching the game. That is part of the dance…the attraction….the love.
With all of these questions: the point is to talk about things you may not have talked about before. Let the conversation go where it needs to go. Then get back to the original question…
Hope these questions are helpful,
Hixon and Margie