Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).
Statistics show that about 85% of the things that spend time worrying about actually never take place! So much of our energy is spent worrying about things that by the end of the day or the end of the week will never happen.
Anxiety is nothing more than fear-based and is definitely not from God. In fact, scripture tells us that there is a spirit that impacts us and causes us to worry. That spirit is the “spirit of fear”.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT).
The enemy can really use anxiety in many ways for the negative. One of the ways that he has become very crafty in using the spirit of fear and anxiety is to destroy marriages. Over the years of our marriage we have found some things that anxiety creates in our marriage. Maybe you can relate.
- More tension
- Fear of the unknown
- Identity distortion
The more that tension gets created in your marriage the more couples get agitated and step into conflict. Unhealthy conflict is divisive and doesn’t create anything but separation between a husband and wife. Once there is separateness a husband and wife have a tendency to fear the unknown. “What is my spouse going to do? Are they going to leave me? Are they going to find someone else to replace me? Are they going to go back to the addiction that used to control them?”
There are many worries that get created through these questions and others. The reality is, during this entire time these events chip away at identity. When your spouse is tense, distant, wrapped up in fear and doesn’t know who they are, they are not very desirable to be around. It’s at this time that the world would say, you deserve better. You deserve to be happy. You shouldn’t be treated that way.
Unfortunately, this leads some people to searching for answers through divorce. We have to step in and find some ways to start reducing the amount of stress, anxiety and fear that we allow in our life. Below are four ways that we believe you can do to start alleviating anxiety.
1. Letting go of control
The more we try to control the more we get ourselves out of control. Trying to control our spouse our kids our job and many other things on a daily basis. The more we worry and stress out about things that our out of our control, we suggest you find things you can control like your attitude. You can only control how you respond to your spouse, not how they respond or react.
2. Letting go of failure
Failure becomes a bridge to success if we allow it to be. Failure is a natural part of our everyday lives. It’s what we do with failure, and how we respond to failure that helps us get out of the worry and anxiety associated. There are many people that walk around everyday calling themselves a failure. Failure can become very toxic and end up controlling our lives if we allow it to become our identity.
3. Letting go of pleasing others
You will never be able to please everyone [PERIOD]. Attempting to please others can create a lot of anxiety, because we are not responsible for our spouses emotional state. There is nothing wrong with acting in pleasing ways toward your spouse. But when we cross over into a place where we feel like we are responsible for their amount of being pleased or feeling a certain way, we get ourselves trapped in a codependency cycle. Don’t get me wrong you want to do things to create peace in your marriage, but it’s not your responsibility to make sure they are happy or not. Happiness is a choice!
When you put God first in your marriage, joy and contentment takes place and moves your relationship to a whole new level.
4 Letting go of the past
Unfortunately, the influence of your family of origin is sometimes greater than the influence of God. What keeps us from trusting God in the present is our attachment to the past. Letting go of the past is crucial to living a life of freedom in Christ.
So how can we deal with the anxieties and fears in our life? We encourage you to take these four steps toward helping yourself calm your anxiety.
Prayer is the most important. Ask God to come in and give you a spirit of peace.
2. Counseling / Pastor / Accountability Partner
One or all of these can be very useful when looking to calm your anxiety. It takes intentionality to step into working on ourselves. Sometime we have to have some help to start that process.
There is power in writing and acknowledging your fears and anxiety. You can’t change or heal anything you don’t acknowledge first. Journaling can help us start that acknowledgment process.
4. Changing your Environment
Don’t put yourself in the places that create anxiety. Minimize being around the people that create more anxiety in your life. Take yourself out of the environments that are toxic and shame producing.
Bryan & Stephanie Vignery
Founders of The Intentional Marriage