Sometimes it feels like fear and anxiety go hand in hand with the life of a military spouse. No matter what branch your family serves in, it seems that worry sails the ship when we are faced with so many unknowns. “How will my kids handle the transition?” “Where will we live next?” “When will he get called away?” “Will I be able to handle it?” “How can my marriages stay strong through this?”
Fear and I have a love-hate relationship. On one hand, it has a fascinating way of motivating me when there is a real cause for concern. Like the time I knew my son was about to fall down the stairs and I was there just in time (I love having a mom’s sixth sense!). Other times it serves as a real and present driving force of conviction that must be there to promote change in our life. As much as I hate being wrong, when my husband points out something that must change in me, fear of real and possible consequences motivates me to do something new. My deep appreciation for him and desire to have a stronger marriage steers me towards the humility I need to begin the hard work.
Other times, fear can get out of control. Left to feed on our insecurities and old wounds, fear can grow dangerously like a cancer- spreading throughout our relationships and robbing us of joy and intimacy. Without exercising self-control of our thoughts and feelings, fear can cripple our ability to stay connected and intimate with our spouse. When he communicates hurt, it is my fear of being wrong or misunderstood that temps me to selfishly choose protecting myself over addressing the hurt he needs me to heal. I fool myself into thinking that control over my surroundings (and my marriage) will somehow manage my fear of so many unknowns (I can’t control the military, but I can control everything else). In reality, it can become a destructive force that only causes more problems for me to address.
Courage appears to be the antidote for fear. When there is something to protect- it is my courage that says what I desire to protect is more important than my fear. But to have the courage to choose my spouse over my own selfishness is the ministry of marriage. By choosing selflessness when I have the opportunity to choose me, I in essence choose us.
What about you? How do you handle fear and anxiety in your life? How have you seen selflessness and self-control of your thoughts and feelings make a difference in your connection with your spouse? What can you do today to find freedom from misdirected fear in your life?