Monday, January 14, 2013

Overcoming Fear of Commitment - Rayni Peavy

Two months before walking down the aisle the fear hit. What if I’m making the wrong decision? What if God has someone else for me to marry and I misunderstood? What if I wake up the day after the wedding and think I’ve made a big mistake? Have you ever played the “what if” game? If so, you know it’s a losing battle. Many of us have wrestled with fear of commitment; especially when it comes to a serious life-long commitment like marriage. So, what do we do with that fear?

In order to overcome the fear it’s helpful to get to the root of the issue. There we find that fear is either caused by a legitimate reason that needs to be addressed or it’s something that is simply a “what if” question that cannot be answered and that needs to be released.

Red flag warning.
A red flag weather warning means there is a potential disaster headed your way and you need to pay attention. The same is true in relationships. If you find that your fear of commitment is caused by a legitimate red flag, this is a warning of a potential future crisis that should be taken seriously now. Every red flag needs to be genuinely addressed by both people before marriage, with counseling often being helpful and necessary. What are some legitimate flags? There are many but here are a few:
  • Fear that your fiance will cheat when you’re married because he has cheated while you are dating
  • Fear of serious financial issues because your fiance is in major debt and lacks wise spending habits
  • Fear of major clashes in daily life or while raising children due to your fiance having a different faith

When to tell the “What ifs” to get lost!
If there are no genuine red flags, and you yourself are confident that you are ready to be married, then it is likely that the fear of commitment is due to those pesky “what ifs” that most everyone feels at one point or another; those questions that really can’t be answered ahead of time. For example, What if we stop being attracted to each other? What if we grow apart? What if one day I don’t think I love him anymore? What if…? Here are some things that can help you know when to happily make a commitment despite a few “what if” fears:
  • No red flags in your own or your fiance’s character or in your relationship.
  • You are both emotionally, spiritually and financially healthy.
  • There are godly people who know you and your fiancĂ© well, and affirm that you are well-matched.
  • Pre-marriage counseling and communication with your fiance has revealed that you are well-suited regarding thoughts on faith, living daily life, where to live, how to raise kids, how much involvement you will have with each other’s families, views on money, etc.
Go with your gut.
Several weeks before my wedding when I expressed to several friends my fears of getting married, most of them said, “Don’t worry, it’s completely normal to feel that way.” One friend, however, freaked me out when she said, “I never had one doubt about marrying my husband so if you have even the tiniest doubt or fear I suggest postponing the wedding.” This is good advice when there is a genuine red flag however when your fear falls under the general “what if” category, I would suggest that the fear is something that should simply be released.

After much introspection pre-wedding, I realized once again that there were no red flags in my relationship with my fiancĂ©. I felt confident that I loved him and I was genuinely ready to be married to him. Two years post-wedding I can say that other than following Jesus, marrying my husband is the smartest, best and happiest decision I have ever made; and all of those “what ifs” that hounded me before are permanently gone.

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