Release Fear and Take Risk in Your Marriage
By Heather Riggleman
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth. - Ecclesiastes 3:2
I’m a serial killer of sorts. Mainly plants, sometimes grass or a tree. I can’t help but see a gorgeous plant and think it would be so beautiful in planted in my front yard. Fast forward a few days and you’ll find my husband patting me on the back as I lament over the latest plant I’ve murdered. Things like this have a way of scaring a woman. It makes her question why God created her female in the first place, when she can’t even nurture a plant.
So when my husband presented me with a gorgeous baby orchid for my birthday I wanted to clobber him. I KNEW its days were numbered just like the rest of my kills. Besides I didn’t need something that was going to be a reminder of what a failure I was in this particular area of nurturing.
It was a risk to entrust its care to me and it was a risk to believe I could actually keep it alive despite my past experiences. Yet if I didn’t risk… it reminds me of something C.S. once said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
I truly believe there is a time for risk. The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of risk-taking. In fact, the writer of Ecclesiastes says there’s a time for everything. A time to plant, a time to uproot and everything in between. Friends, risk is in the middle of planting, uprooting, vulnerability with our spouse, speaking up when it may cause friction, to stay and fight with your partner when you’d rather run. It’s all a risk because deep down, we’re most of afraid of rejection and being alone.
Marriage truly is a risk. We are committing ourselves: our life, our family, our dreams, our future, our finances, our need for love and attention, our need for connection, to another person we cannot control. All we can do is risk.
Risk is vital to our souls. Risk is a part of life in order to grab hold of what is in front of us and let go of what’s behind us. To risk demands we face our fears. It demands we lay down our insecurities. To risk is to show up with our crazy dreams and fight the voices of doubt. Each time we step out in faith—we risk. We don’t know the results of this leap but God does.
When we risk it all for His sake, we put our heart on the line and it speaks volumes to Him. It’s in these moments your roots grow more than it ever has. He put the desire for risk in each one of us.
How do we know we’re on the right track? Because it feels uncomfortable. Because it feels exciting. Because it spurs wordless prayers. Because it’s an adventure. Because it takes a partnership with God to create a good marriage.
Every time we step outside of our comfort zone, our spiritual roots grow just a little bit deeper. When we take calculated risks, we discover what we are capable in HIS hands.
Not only had I taken a risk on a silly little plant but I had also taken the leap towards trusting my husband while he travels. He often travels for weeks at a time and is surrounded by men and women who do not hold the same values we do. He sleeps in hotels, thousands of miles from home and takes clients out to dinner. Because of scars from the past, anxiety and fear would overtake my thoughts when I least expected it. I would then check his location. I would text to see if he would respond, I would ask whether or not he had anything to drink. I would want every detail of who he was traveling with. Over time, this insecurity began choking the roots of our marriage until I read Ecclesiastes 3:2-8.
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
These verses highlight that not only there is time for all of these things, but when it is time to risk doing these things. I could continue mistrusting my husband. I could continue to dwell on the past, or I could choose to take a risk, choose to trust and make peace. I could lament, wage war, and worry or I could choose to birth new thoughts, good thoughts—dwelling on the promises God made and the sincerity of my husband's words.
Like my orchid, my time in God’s Word allowed my roots to grow deep. During this fallow season, my heart had a chance to rest in God’s promises. I admit, I’m still a work in progress as is every wife and husband. But I know I must risk and believe in His truths care for me above my own.
Release the fear and take the risk. How would your marriage look differently if you did?
Heather Riggleman calls Nebraska home (Hey, it’s not for everyone) with her three kids and husband of 20 years. She writes to bring bold truths to marriage, career, mental health, faith, relationships, celebration and heartache. Heather is a former national award-winning journalist and is the author of Mama Needs a Time Out and Let’s Talk About Prayer. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman and Focus On the Family. You can find her at heatherriggleman.com.
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