Updated: May 9
“There are only two motives...love and fear.”
It’s your anniversary! You’re excited for a date with your hubby and maybe a little romance later on. And then it happens. You fight. Now neither of you wants to drive in the same car let alone have a romantic interlude.
Sound familiar? It happens to most of us. Experiences like anniversaries, Valentine's Day, birthday dinners, and family gatherings are perfect opportunities for fear to unconsciously motivate us and sabotage emotional intimacy. Before you know it, you're swirling around, asking yourself what on earth just happened and the evening is ruined. The old hurt part of you never wants to feel rejected or abandoned again. So your subconscious mind creates a diversion to intimacy and connection. It feels victorious - it guarded your heart. And there you are, disappointed again asking, "Why does this always happen?" If this is you or someone you know, then perhaps you can relate to this...
This Valentine's Day, my husband read my blog, Girlfriend, Wanna Know the Secret to Romancing Your Man? Perhaps you read it. I refer to Emerson Eggerich of Love and Respect who tells us 80% of men would rather be respected than loved. Wow! Anyway, in my blog I tell to my gal-pals how to demonstrate respect to their man. I spill my fantasy of how this sentimental one (me) would love to be romanced on Valentine’s Day: a dozen roses, a kitchen dance where he gazes longingly into my eyes, a box of dove chocolates, and a diamond ring. My fantasy! The roses, a kitchen dance and chocolates were certainly within reach. But because he's 100% left-brained without an ounce of romance in his body, I've learned to be content with flowers he grabbed by the check-out at Walmart.
Truth be told, I love being romanced! I love candlelight dinners, dancing close, you know, all those Hallmark movie moments where the guy is head over heels for the girl. Early in our marriage I would set up romantic interludes with candles, etc. But somewhere in our marriage I stopped because it wasn’t appreciated or returned. We really had no romance. Can you relate? My husband and I embarked on a journey five weeks ago with Doug and Leslie Gustafson called The Marriage Transformation Program. Wow! What a difference it has made in our lives! It's been a lot of work and a lot of introspection, and I'm happy to report BIG changes are happening.
Back to Valentine’s Day... I’d just put the final touches on an upcoming keynote, Ignite Joy, then strolled into the kitchen. Just then,You’re the Inspiration, our wedding song, began playing on Jeff’s iphone. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dozen roses. He then came to me with outstretched arms for a kitchen dance - just like the one I wrote about in my blog. I was in shock! I didn't think my left-brained guy would ever meet that need of mine. BOY! WAS I WRONG! Left-brained guys can be romantic! Tears ran down my cheek as he pulled me in close and gazed into my eyes as we swayed back and forth to the music. The kitchen dance I'd always dreamed of was actually happening. I felt loved in a way I hadn’t in decades!
He really went over the top when he sprung for a ring, too. 'Oh my gosh,' I thought. 'Is this for real?' The ring has three bands as you can see in the picture. It’s beautiful! As we admired it, we realized what a great metaphor it was for our marriage: the large gold band in the middle represents God who has held things together all these 37 years, while Jeff and I honestly walked separate lives: separate in heart, mind and spirit. We’ve been separate for a long time. But on the other side of the ring, where they cross, is an important symbol of where we are now: together, intertwined, AND always with God at the center. How cool is that?! This is the result of choosing love over fear for both of us. And what a difference there has been in these five short weeks in our marriage! Romance makes a huge difference! And the Dove chocolates…well, those are any girls dream come true, right?
So here's my husband showing up in a way I've dreamed about for so very long: playing our wedding song as I walk toward him, being thoughtful with a dozen red roses, requesting a kitchen dance, and the sweet gift of a beautiful diamond ring.
And yet, if I'm honest, I'm not able to fully take in this moment and his love for me. And if I'm completely transparent, I’m super excited, but still guarding my heart. I feel that little bit of fear that makes me want to pull away. Why does this happen?
Sometimes we bring the hurt from the past into the present, even as far back as childhood. When we get what we want it amplifies the hurt we've carried around all these years. His hurt and distance in our marriage caused me to shut down and guard my heart. I truly believe he was a man who meant well but becuase of his own hurt he had no idea how to show up in our relationship. When this happens to us, instead of embracing the love and staying in the love, we don't trust, so we sabotage and run.
But I'm here to tell you sister, letting fear motivate your interaction will only keep you sad, unfulfilled and disconnected.
When we've been hurt it's hard to trust again. And if you follow me on IG or FB I've been talking about love vs Fear lately. Take a moment to catch me on IG @goodbye.past or Goodbye Past Hello Purpose on Facebook for tips to stepping out of fear, unguard your heart and stepping into love.
It's time to change it up. It's time to let love motivate you instead of fear. Try it in your relationships and let me know what you notice. I always love hearing from you!