Panic came quickly and without warning. Walls started closing in. Breathing became difficult. I searched, frantically for a way out. Was there something in my arsenal I could throw? Tears. Silence. An insult. A past wrong. An excuse. A diversion. But there was nothing. My attacker was coming at me, and I could not avoid the truth.
He was right.
And he was not attacking. He was gently guiding me to see that my behavior in a certain area was causing a wrinkle in the smoothness of our relationship. The conversation was a rational one. His word were not strewn in hurt or anger, but motivated out of a desire for a wrinkle-free marriage.
He was right. But I didn’t have to admit it.
I tossed out diversion after diversion, I dodged the issue like a competitor on Wipe Out. And, just like on the show, I got wiped out.
This is hardly the first time we have had the identical “conversation.” And my reaction is always the same.
Why? I wondered. As a mature adult, should I be so concerned with who is right and who is wrong? Why am I terrified of being wrong?
Someone once suggested that when you are afraid, really afraid about something, ask yourself, “What then?” And keep asking it with every answer until you reach the conclusion.
I am afraid of my husband being right.
If he is right, then I am wrong.
He might be right more often than I am. AND if he is right, then I will have to change something about myself. (I followed the first answer).
If he is right more than I am, he will eventually figure out I’m not perfect.
He’ll leave me.
And that was the conclusion. Sobering, but ludicrous. After 12 years of marriage, if he was going to leave because I'm not perfect, he would have done so long ago. But there was a fork in my train of thought back there. I chased it down too.
It will be hard to change.
I will fail.
He will leave me and it will be my fault.
There was truth in this one. The same conclusion, but different because I have the opportunity to change the outcome.
Solomon writes, “Love is strong as death. It’s jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love, many rivers cannot wash it away.”
Every time I read this verse I am stunned by the ferocity of love. I think of Lancelot and Guinevere, of Romeo and Juliet--love stories of epic proportions. Romance most passionate.
This verse warns of un-tempered love. Consider the potential of a blazing fire going out of control. The results are disastrous. As they were for the legendary affairs I mentioned a moment ago. But what makes love go wrong?
A million tiny things. A million tiny things with the same source.
Fear + Love = Ruin
The ruin that comes may be the literal obliteration of a marriage through divorce, or it may be a subtle long term severing of a once strong emotional connection. In either case, what was once unquenchable lies broken in the sediment of the inevitable flood.
Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is perfect love, there is no room for fear. It is ejected. Purged. Expelled. Expectorated. Driven out, in some translations. Just as Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden. There was no room in paradise for insecurity and self preservation. No room for excuses. Fear had to go.
Removing fear requires knowing it is there, identifying it and it’s cause and forcibly yanking it out. The yanking is sure to be painful. Fear has a way of shooting its roots through the whole of a person.
As I write this, I am picturing the nasty root system of a weed growing in my heart with it’s straggling shoots infesting my body thorough every vein. Fear twists through me causing me to react because of it.
And so I am weeding. Down in the mud with my husband and the Horticulturist who designed Paradise, fear will be found and exterminated using whatever means necessary.
In this analogy, does that make Love the ultimate Weed-B-Gone?
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Genesis 3:16 (more on that later)