The Fear Factor in Marriage, Part II
- Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D. <i>Two Becoming One</i>
- 2004 10 Oct
As we have seen in part one, when the fear factor virus attacks a marriage, disease and eventual death are ever-present possibilities. This virus may remain under the surface for years, just waiting for the right precipitating incident or weakness to strike full force. This fear factor virus may take on different symptoms in our marriages: fear of betrayal and rejection, fear of financial loss or job security, fear of failing physical health or just getting older, fear of having or raising children, fear of our own death or our mate's or our parents', etc. So, knowing and personally experiencing this fear factor reality, the real question is: What can we do about it?
The Fear Factor Remedy
What is the remedy for the fear factor virus in our marriages? We have already mentioned in part one that when this vicious virus attacks, we can rest assured that the Lord Himself, the Great Physician, is always with us. His ever-present personal Presence is more than enough to conquer the fear factor in our marriage. But not only does the Great Physician commit His personal Presence to us when the fear factor virus attacks, but He also prescribes three specific inoculations to combat this vicious virus:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7, NKJV).
Inoculation #1: Power
When the fear factor virus attacks our marriage, we need power, real power -- divine power -- power enough to turn back the fear factor. This kind of power is found in only one place: it resides in the power of the Holy Spirit. That's why, as couples, we need to "be filled by the Holy Spirit" (Eph. 5:18-21ff.) and to "walk by the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16-23). Then, and only then, will the fear factor virus retreat. And in its place we will be able to "sing" and "make melody" in our hearts, as well as "giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father" (Eph. 5:19-21ff.). In addition, the Holy Spirit will also nurture "the fruit of the Spirit" in our marriage (Gal. 5:22-23).
Inoculation #2: Love
Further, the fear factor virus cannot withstand the real love: the love of God. This is God the Father's love. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). God has planted the cross of His very own Son between the fear factor and us. Fear doesn't have a chance in the face of this kind of love.
Inoculation #3: A Sound Mind
And finally, when we confront the fear factor virus, it must be with a sound mind, that is, the mind of Christ. In the face of a sound mind, the fear factor virus must flee, leaving our marriage without a single symptom. "A sound mind" leads to a self-disciplined mind, a mind that draws its health and strength from the mind of Christ-revealed in the Holy Scriptures (1 Cor. 2:16) and memorized by all married couples as preventive medicine.
To summarize: When the fear factor virus attacks our marriage, it seeks to make us weak and ill, even near death's door. But the power of the Holy Spirit empowers our spiritual immune system to withstand such an attack. When the fear factor virus attacks our marriage, it seeks to make us bitter and resentful. But the love of God the Father fuels our spiritual immune system to drive back such an attack. And finally, when the fear factor virus attacks our marriage, it seeks to cloud and destroy our thinking. But the mind of Christ bolsters our immune system to resist such an attack.
The fear factor virus cannot withstand such a mighty Trinitarian laser treatment! Under such an assault, it always melts away and diffuses into nothing.
Your Own Marriage and the Fear Factor:
In light of the fact that God is totally committed to setting your marriage free from the fear factor virus, prayerfully answer the following questions:
1. Did you ask for the Holy Spirit's power in your marriage the last time you experienced the fear factor? Why not do that right now.
2. Did you thank God for His love, manifested in the Lord Jesus' death and resurrection, the last time you experienced the fear factor in your marriage? Why not also do that right now.
3. And finally, did you seek the mind of Christ in the Bible the last time you experienced the fear factor in your marriage? Why not memorize 2 Timothy 1:7 right now and, as a couple, pray it back to God in your own words.
© 2004 Christian Family Life
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