2 Fears that Over-Promise and Under-Deliver
One of the predominant emotions that characterized the first ten years of our marriage was fear. Fear is something we usually equate with traumatic events or circumstances. But fear grips more of our heart than we are often willing to admit. I lived most of my married life with a spirit of fear:
Fear of being found out
Fear of being rejected
Fear of being misunderstood
Fear of being proven wrong
Fear of being hurt
Fear of being let down
There is a reason that the Bible says, “There is no fear in love. For perfect love drives out fear.” Without allowing perfect love to drive out fear, we compromise intimacy in our marriage and relationships. Each of us have to decide if we are going to allow fear to set the limits of our marriage.
Here are two fears that prevent intimacy in marriage.
1. Most wives fear offering their husbands unconditional love.
If you offer your love without condition then what will defend you from hurt? If you offer all of your heart to your husband, without condition, then what if it isn’t reciprocated? If you offer unconditional love to your husband, then what move can you make to get revenge; to get your way; to be heard or valued?
Most wives offer their love, but it comes with conditions. Conditions give you leverage. Conditions give you power. Conditions give you rights. Conditions give you options.
The promise is, if you don’t love unconditionally then you won’t get hurt. But not loving without conditions is not loving at all.
2. Most husbands fear telling their wives the absolute truth.
If you share the truth with her, she’ll think less of you. If you admit your weakness then she’ll say she told you so. If you tell her about your porn addiction or your feelings for your co-worker, she may leave you. If you tell her that secret you’ve kept hidden for years, she may never trust you again.
Being partially honest gives you options. Sharing part of the truth protects you. Sharing half of the truth maintains your image.
The promise is, if you only tell the the amount of truth your wife can handle, you are protecting her and your marriage. But every time we compromise truth, we limit the intimacy we are capable of experiencing.
For the past nine years, I’ve come to a crossroads often: give into fear and withhold truth or overcome fear and be completely honest. Despite being fearful, I’ve shared brutal truth with Trisha. She knows the dark parts of me. She knows the weak parts of me. She sees the worst of me. I have been scared to do that at times. The cost of giving into fear was greater than the cost of being transparent.
Trisha has chosen to overcome fear as well. Unconditional love left her defenseless nine years ago. Fear of history repeating itself has crossed her mind more than once. Despite her fears, she has chosen unconditional love. She’s promised to love me no matter what. That love has driven out fear.
Our marriage isn’t limited by each of us withholding something from the other because of fear.
Fear tells you to protect yourself. Fear says withhold some of the truth, just in case. Fear says to love with conditions because you might get hurt. What if we admitted fear? What if we overcame fear?
Would we ever feel we had to withhold truth?
Would we ever feel we had to put conditions on love?