I was counseling a young man about his pending marriage. His reasons for marriage were all based on fear. He was threatened often that he would lose his daughter if he didn’t marry her. He knew he didn’t love her but he didn’t want his daughter growing up without him.
In my counsel for him 1 John 4:18 was never more clear to me. That oft-repeated verse is There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. It was so clear to me that she did not love him because fear was at the root of the forced marriage. And certainly he did not love her. He couldn’t because fear was making the decision for him. There can be no fear in love–even though there is risk in love. Love actually is a force that propels you to live bravely. There is a freedom in love too. You are free to try and fail because love will not change.
But you have changed. You have changed who you are to hang on to this one you claim you love so much. You have compromised your soul to keep this one—all in the name of love. But this is not love. Ouch for that. I’m sorry for the bluntness. I know you are preparing your list of reasons as to why this is true love and why you should stay in this relationship. May I speak to that nagging feeling in your gut? That nagging feeling which you’ve been ignoring or trying to find a work-around for?
I know you desire intimacy. To be deeply known. To be valued purely. To be seen for who you truly are. I love this definition of intimacy from Myles Munroe:
Intimacy is not an act. Intimacy is a state of existence in which both partners in a relationship trust the other more and more with their innermost thoughts. They trust each other more and more with their innermost wishes, dreams, and desires. They trust each other more and more with their innermost emotions. Intimacy, then, is the key to a successful relationship. –Myles Munroe, Waiting and Dating, p. 27
Maybe in your desire to keep this relationship or to grow this relationship or to feel the intimacy you’ve become sexually involved. But intimacy is not an act. Intimacy is this risky growing relationship filled with trust and love that gives both of you the freedom to grow. When you read that definition, isn’t that what your soul has been longing for?
Yet you’ve become this contorted person to keep this relationship. And the thought of ending this relationship is causing you so much fear you are already hearing yourself justify your reasons to stay in it. Even as you wish for this sort of intimacy.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is that favorite section in the Bible about love. It says, Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Let’s put the name of your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé in place of love. Now read that scripture like this:
_________________ is patient.
_________________ is kind.
_________________ is not jealous.
_________________ is not boastful.
_________________ is not proud.
_________________ is not rude.
_________________ does not demand his/her own way.
_________________ is not irritable.
_________________ keeps no record of being wronged.
_________________ does not rejoice about injustice.
_________________ rejoices whenever truth wins out.
_________________ never gives up.
_________________ never loses faith.
_________________ is always hopeful.
_________________ endures through every circumstance.
How did your significant other do? Of course, if he/she “scored” a 100 percent you will have found a true unicorn. Don’t go justifying this truth away because of that. In this simple comparison have you noticed yet again that this relationship you have contorted yourself to stay in is not a good one for you? You have noticed this because your gut is telling you so yet again. Staring at this list hurts your gut more.
But to make this life change fills you up with so much fear. Remember, there is no fear in love. This fear that is trying to control your world is keeping you out of experiencing true love—and true intimacy.
So yes, I’m saying there needs to be a disruption to your controlled life. And that is rightfully fear-filled. The fear you feel right now is real. But this change in your life will bring you to the love you’ve always wished for yourself. Pain is your beginning. Time needs to be involved. Probably a lot of confused and lonely time. Transitions feel like this. Transitions have set stages to move us into the new. The stages make sense (read here)—on the other side of the discomfort. Meanwhile transitions suck but you will get to that new day.
Why? Because you are worthy of a love for a lifetime. You are worthy to be known. You are worthy to be valued purely. You are worthy to be loved for who you are, not the contorted version you’ve created of yourself so you can keep a relationship.
Listen to that gut feeling of yours. Embrace this truth. Do this life disruption. Read more on this blog because it is full of honest pain that will guide you to your new day. Be brave. And lastly remember this: