At the very beginning of the Bible, when God created the first couple, everything was perfect. If anybody should have had a perfect relationship it would have been Adam and Eve. No children. They’re alone in paradise. No in-laws to give advice. No bills to pay. No work to come home from. No interruptions. No clothes. The perfect environment for a perfect marriage relationship.
Yet, when sin entered the world it brought a new dimension to the relationship and that was fear. Fear came into the world. And how does fear damage our relationship? Three things:
*When we are afraid of our faults, we become defensive.
Genesis 3: 11-12 says, “And he (God) said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man (Adam) said, “The woman You put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
We hate to admit our faults. We deny our weaknesses. We disown our weaknesses. We diminish our faults. Sometimes we even defend our faults. And in the passage above, we can notice two very common reactions. We accuse and excuse. We accuse other people and excuse ourselves. A married person, when he or she is at fault, blames his or her partner.
*When we are afraid of our feelings, we become distant.
Genesis 3: 9-10 “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
In the passage above, it shows that hiding and fear always go together. We build walls around ourselves. We put a barrier in front of us so people can’t get close to us. We wear masks.
When we don’t know how to handle hurt feelings we become distant. Why? Because it’s easier to admit anger than it is to admit hurt. When somebody hurts you, our typical reaction is hurt back. Also, when we don’t know how to handle angry feelings (anger) we also become distant.
Some people, even the followers of Christ, say that it is not good to get angry – that is wrong. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and don’t sin.” Anger is not a sin. It simply means that there’s a right way to get angry and there’s a wrong way to get angry. There’s an appropriate way to get angry, there is an inappropriate way to get angry. There are constructive ways and there are destructive ways.
Studies have shown that the healthiest families are not families that never argue or have a fight. And studies have shown that the healthiest families are not those who fight all the time. But the healthiest families are those who fight occasionally but know how to fight fair or to fight the right way.
*When we are afraid of losing our freedom, we become demanding.
Many marriage problems could be summed up in two words: power struggle. When you get to the root of it, it’s power struggle. you have two very insecure people competing for the control of the relationship. Today in our society, we’re obsessed with the idea of personal rights.
But we need to keep in mind that life is not fair. God never said life was fair. Things aren’t done perfectly here. Things aren’t always done justly. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Lord, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We’re not going to have all our rights or needs or even interests met in life. If we go around insisting on our rights in every relationship we’re going to be miserable and angry most of the time. We must learn to be happy in spite of the fact that not all of our needs are met.
If you’re married, you must realize that God never meant for your husband or your wife to meet all your needs. There are some needs in your life only He, Himself, can meet and He has reserved those for Himself.
What is the antidote to fear in relationships?
Honesty. For you to defuse the fears in your relationships you must:
1. Be honest with yourself
You must admit that you are not perfect. None of us are. You must face up to your faults and you face up to your fears and you face up to your feelings about the relationship and stop stuffing them down.
2. Be honest with God
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Admit the fears brought by the mistakes you’ve made in the past to God. God is not going to be surprised when you admit your sins to Him. God already knows every stupid thing you’ve ever done. He knows already your fears, your feelings, you faults, you failures. He’s not going to be surprised by them or blown away. He just wants you to admit it and to come to Him to ask for help.
3. Be honest with your husband/wife
James 5:16 “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Two commands are mentioned in this passage. The first is to admit your faults. That command is for the offending party. The second command is to pray for each other. This net command is for both the offending and the offended party.
It says admit your faults so that you may be healed. While you’re admitting your faults, also admit your fears and also admit your feelings. The Bible says that when you do that your relationship and your own life can be healed. Reveling your feeling is the beginning of healing. It takes honesty.
How do you get rid of the fears in your relationships? The antidote to fear is fully developed love — mature, perfect love. You don’t have that kind of love. None of us do. There’s only one way you can get that kind of love. Only through Jesus Christ.