When Fear Is the Enemy
By: Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. - 1 Peter 4:8 NIV
“How are you doing?”
I can still remember those conversations earlier in our marriage. We never intended to make fear our enemy, much less each other. None of us do.
The fear of disclosure has ancient beginnings. Flashback to Adam and Eve soon after their bad decision to disobey God. Until then, nothing was hidden. The first married couple enjoyed a beautiful, open relationship with God and with each other.
Then sin entered the picture, and everything changed. Hastily clad in fig leaf clothing, the two actually hid from God. In fear. Of disclosure. But God, who knows all things, recognized the result of disobedience. Fear replaced divine fellowship, and the rest is history.
Hindsight usually replaces foresight when you’ve been married over five decades like we have. Looking back, I can see how those patterns of fear crept into our relationship, little by little. Most of them had hitchhiked their way into our lives through unwanted baggage from our childhood. And we had never stopped to unpack those suitcases. I guess we had relegated them to the attic—literally and metaphorically.
And left them there. Hidden. Out of sight. Out of mind.
Why? Because we think disclosure reveals weakness? Men may lean toward I must be strong, not weak. And women may cling to I need acceptance and love. Each person latches onto different beliefs and fears and reacts accordingly. If we dare to share something out of our insecurities—or even acknowledge that we have them—what will our spouse think?
Some need no prodding to share opinions openly, but they may not even realize the reason for their outbursts. Others refrain from speaking, fearing conflict. And admitting loneliness, emptiness, anger, or disappointment? That could spell fear of failure. Neither spouse wants to appear inept or unstable.
I still remember the first time my husband and I discovered fear’s hiding place in our own lives. And the relief that followed when we truly understood the seeds that our enemy of fear had been sowing. That was a turning point for us. Once we began connecting daily, wrapping our fears in the comfort of mutual acceptance and love, the baggage tumbled out of the attic. “What are you feeling today? How did your day go? Are there any areas we need to talk about now, or later when we can reserve a few moments for just us? How can I help?”
Something beautiful happens when we become our spouse’s cheerleader—when we learn to love them, warts and all. And don’t we all have blemishes that can’t be hidden, no matter how hard we try?
There’s a reason the apostle Peter included the words in the Bible, “Perfect love expels all fear.” Not our imperfect attempts to love each other, but God’s love, flowing through us to each other. That’s the kind of divine love that pushes out the hidden attic junk of our hearts and ushers in a true desire to make our marriage relationship an honoring one to Him.
And no doubt, like the skins God crafted to cover Adam and Eve’s sinful perspectives, His love also covers a multitude of faults and sinful patterns in our marriage. Because of Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice to completely cover our sin, we, too, as husband and wife, can apply His perfect love to our marriage relationship.
And that about covers it all.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a bestselling inspirational author and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others. She has authored and contributed to over 20 books and has written over 2000 other articles, devotions, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. She is a regular Crosswalk contributor whose daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is also available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can sign up for Rebecca’s free ebook and find out more about her and her encouraging blog at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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