Maybe you’re afraid of your husband. Maybe not. Could be it’s more like you’re scared about the finances or your kid’s choices or your future as a couple. Sometimes it can be hard to tell for sure. And being unsure tends to make people at least a little uncomfortable… and the prospect of discomfort almost always brings a sense of fear along with it.
Listen in this week to learn how to create more security in your marriage by solving for fears you’re familiar with AND fears you may not have realized were lurking in the back corners of your brain.
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‘s Up, Bees?!
We’re here today talking about… fear.
Why fear, you ask?
Because I’ve built this Beehive to help women who are afraid in their marriages find solid ground and security so they can build the life they imagined when they said “I do.”
Now… this is important, so hang with me.
I want you to check in – right now – to see if you found yourself objecting to what I just said.
Your objection might have sounded something like this:
But… I’m not afraid in my marriage.
I don’t know why she’s even mentioning that.
Is this podcast for women who’ve been abused or betrayed or something?
Cuz… that’s not me.
Raise your hand if you heard any of that – or anything like it – spring up in your brain when I mentioned that I built this Beehive to help women who are afraid in their marriages.
Notice I just said it again… so you’d have another chance to double check and see if your body responded at all to my words.
Go slow and be curious… we’re simply gathering information here.
I know that many of you listening have not been abused or betrayed – at least not in the way we might typically use those words.
And maybe some of you have.
Please know that you are welcome to be part of this podcast’s audience either way.
The concepts we discuss here apply to ALL kinds of marriage challenges and ascertaining severity of conflict is not the goal today.
The goal of today is to tell yourself the whole truth by examining your gut response to this episode’s opening lines.
If your response was some version or degree of “Wait, What? I’m not afraid of my husband….” let’s just take a closer look together.
Not because I think you’re lying. You might be completely right.
Aaaand… you might not be.
I believe you deserve to know exactly what you’re dealing with – both internally and externally – as you work to improve your connection with your forever guy.
Makes the process a whole lot easier.
So… if your internal reaction was – but… I’m not afraid of my husband…
Why do you think your brain offered you that?
Maybe it’s because you really aren’t afraid.
Maybe it’s because you don’t want to cast what could look like shade his way.
Maybe you don’t want to give the impression that you’re disparaging any part of your relationship.
Could also be that you’re not afraid of HIM exactly, but you are afraid of something else that makes relating to him in the way you want sorta hard – maybe you’re afraid of debt or feeling inadequate or something that may or may not happen in one of your children’s futures…
The list of things to be afraid about could get pretty long, dontcha think?
And here’s the catch when it comes to fear.
It can be really tough to tell ourselves the truth about our fears because most humans have been socially conditioned to think that fear is a bad thing.
Even though most of us feel fear – in varying degrees – several times a day.
I think it’s kinda weird that many of us feel pulled to hide something that is actually a pretty universal experience.
Why. Is. That?
Mostly likely it’s due to one of three things.
1. We think fear means something bad about us – “I’m weak or a pushover.”
2. We think fear means something bad about him – “He’s unkind or controlling.”
3. We think fear means something bad about the relationship – “We’re doomed.”
None of those meanings sound very fun or very much like a marriage we’d be proud to live in, so it makes perfect sense that we often look away and pretend we aren’t scared.
But looking away only perpetuates the fear we are trying to avoid.
Because we aren’t telling ourselves the truth.
And that disconnection from yourself – when you pretend you don’t know what’s true – is a door you’ve left open so that fear can come on in and slow your progress toward the kind of marriage you love to live in.
I know you’re not leaving that door open consciously. You’re not intentionally inviting fear to waltz through that door and set up shop.
But that’s still what might be happening – as an unintended consequence of fudging the details or prettying up the truth.
You fudge because you want to spare your husband’s feelings or avoid a fight.
(Did you hear the fear in there?)
You tell a prettier, watered down version of the truth to protect his reputation.
(Hear that? Fear again – this time dressed up as worry.)
Of course, you want to spare your husband’s feelings. You’re a nice person.
It makes sense that you prefer not to fight with him. You love him and you enjoy peace.
And yes, of course, your husband’s reputation is important to you. You are a human and humans like to be liked and respected by their peers.
So know that I’m not saying you have to go telling the whole neighborhood that you’re afraid to talk to your husband about money or sex or what you’re gonna do with your teenager’s latest shenanigans.
Be reassured that, if and when you notice that you’re feeling scared, you don’t have to tell anyone.
Not even me.
Unless of course you want to – I’m happy to listen without judgement and help you find some options. That’s actually what I do for a living all day long.
But if you don’t want to tell me what’s up just yet, no problem.
Just do yourself the favor of telling YOU how you really feel.
Because when you tell yourself the truth, you’ll have all the information and tools you need to create a different, less fearful experience if that’s what you decide you want.
And because when you’re working on a problem without telling yourself the whole and complete truth about the problem first – which MANY of us do – the problem actually becomes pretty impossible to solve.
Luckily, us Bees are in the habit of doing the impossible – even when regular humans think we can’t… so let’s keep going.
I’ll start with a recent example of where I fudged the truth in my marriage because I was afraid.
This wasn’t 10 years ago before I started doing thought work.
This happened just a couple of weeks ago and that’s important because I want to illustrate how sneaky fear can be – even for someone who’s been doing this work a long time.
Because if fear is causing some sneaky rifts for me, it’s possible that you’ve got some sneaky, fear-driven rifts hanging out in your marriage too.
Here’s how it all went down.
Husband and I had just finished doing some holiday shopping and were going to grab a bite to eat on the way home.
I knew I wanted Zao – which is an Asian café, but I had a hunch that husband wouldn’t.
So here’s how I told him I wanted to go to Zao:
“Hey Babe, let’s grab dinner. Do you want Super Chix, or Zao, or maybe R&R BBQ?”
Then I waited for him to choose.
Which he did. Sounded like: “Yeah… R&R sounds good.”
So we went there.
But that’s not all – unacknowledged fear didn’t just lead me to be incredibly unclear about my preferences, it also hung out with me a little while longer to cause some more issues.
Went like this:
There we are… standing in the ordering line and I’m just watching my brain remind me that I wanted Zao and I don’t want R&R at all and I could say something, but I probably won’t and we’re already here and people are waiting and I don’t want any of that food up there on the menu and round and round and I. STILL. DIDN’T. SAY. ANYTHING. OUT. LOUD.
Now… this is the part of the story where it would be REALLY EASY for me to judge me.
Might sound like:
What the heck are you doing?
Why don’t you just speak up already?
Sweetheart – YOU. DESERVE. to have what you want, just speak up and take it.
And even though we could say that all of those sentences in the very nicest tone, they could still sound a little bit scary because there’s a bit of an implied reprimand in there.
You hear it?
Like I’m doing something wrong if I don’t just get it together to directly say: “Let’s go to Zao.”
Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but maybe not.
Maybe I have a good reason for not being as direct as I could be.
I probably do.
My job is to lean in and find out what it is.
Because if I don’t lean in to explore and I only demand change instead… I’ve just become another scold-y person to be afraid of.
Which is going the WRONG way if connected relationships are my goal.
So Instead of jumping to telling myself I should do something different, I lean in and listen to myself explain why I didn’t just say what I wanted.
With curiosity. Not judgment.
Why did I hide the restaurant I wanted in a list for him to choose from?
What did I think would happen if I just made the decision myself and invited him along?
At first, my brain was like: “Nothing. Fear is so unnecessary here. Come on now.”
Which is all scoldy and self-censor-y all over again.
So I asked another time, in a really nice, super loving whisper: “What’s gonna happen if you just say where you want to eat?”
Well – I might be turned down.
Okay and if you are?
Then I’ll reinforce my long-held story that my preferences don’t matter when we make choices together.
Ahhhhh. Of course – if that were true, of course you’d feel scared. Fear makes sense if the reality is that your preferences don’t matter when you and husband make choices together.
You feel that, Bee?
That’s what it feels like when connection and safety enter the room.
Asking the questions and listening for the answers gave me the gift of knowing that I was feeling fear because I was believing that my preferences wouldn’t matter in a choice husband and I were making together.
I didn’t want to be dismissed so I didn’t speak up.
That. Makes. Sense.
IF it’s true that my preferences don’t matter.
Which it might be. BUT it might not be.
When I let myself see that, I then claim the power to decide whether or not I want to wiggle my painful theory by testing it out.
I can actively, purposefully choose whether I want to further investigate a story that’s hurting me to see if it’s okay to let it go or if it’s important for me to keeping holding on tight.
Please hear me say that fear is REAL.
It lives in the body as a felt sense of danger.
When fear is present your gut will override your brain and curb your creativity so you aren’t able to see your options quite as easily.
Fear also distracts you from pursuing the things you are meant to have in the world.
Things like the dinner you’d prefer to eat and the connection you’d prefer to have with your husband.
Which is what I unwittingly sacrificed when I didn’t directly say what I wanted to eat. Because I was afraid my preference wouldn’t matter to him.
So I made my preference not matter to me either by not doing myself the favor of speaking my preferences aloud.
Again – it would be easy for me to judge me here.
But let’s not.
It almost never helps.
Instead, let’s be willing to walk into my fear as thought it could be valid and look around inside it to be sure.
In marriage, fear most often comes from one of two sources:
1 – a lack of belief in husband to honor, protect or support you
2 – a lack of belief in yourself to honor, protect or support you when he doesn’t – which he won’t all of the time – he’s an imperfect human and he’s going to screw it up sometimes. This doesn’t have to be a problem if I trust that I’ve got me as a backup.
I didn’t believe that my husband would take my dinner preferences into account.
I also didn’t believe that I’d honor my preferences should they be challenged.
Sound like a perfect recipe for fear to me.
Fear takes root in our hearts when we are in the habit of abandoning ourselves and dismissing our needs.
When you allow yourself to be treated poorly or spoken to harshly…
When you require yourself to accept something you really shouldn’t…
When you are constantly expecting yourself to do stuff you don’t want to do…
You teach yourself that you’re not that great of an advocate for yourself.
You prove yourself to be someone who will put you last and blame you first.
So it’s no wonder you feel scared.
No one can do their best work when they feel unsupported or unsure.
What’s likely is that your husband will probably support you a lot of the time.
And sometimes he won’t.
Maybe cuz he’s mad. Maybe because he’s oblivious or thoughtless or tired.
The reason doesn’t matter because the remedy is that YOU become someone who is willing to take yourself seriously and support you no matter what.
You’ve gotta become someone who listens to your fears as though they really matter.
Sometimes you’ll discover that your fears were invalid – and that’s okay. The point is to hear yourself out and decide how to proceed AFTER you’ve had that exploratory chat with yourself. Not before.
In my case, instead of telling myself – “Ugh. There’s no reason to be afraid, just say where you want to eat. It’s not a big deal.”
I say – “I hear you… you’re worried that your preference won’t be heard. That would feel scary. Let’s check to see if you might be wrong about that. We’ll give him a chance to hear you and if he doesn’t… we’ll regroup. I’ll be with you the whole time… you ready? Let’s go.”
Best news is – you can give YOURSELF the felt sense of being heard and validated.
You don’t have to try to convince yourself with shallow reassurances that “it’s not a big deal” or “it’ll all be fine.”
You can take the time to hear yourself out and when you do… you’ll be less afraid.
A solid, supportive friendship with yourself is the foundation of a fearless marriage.
Some people might say that strengthening your relationship with yourself is a fluffy effort, but it isn’t. If you don’t know that you can rely on yourself… you can’t do anything – at least not as effectively.
Scrimping on the foundation of your relationship with you will compromise every effort you make in your relationship with your husband.
So be nice to you. Listen hard to what matters in your mind.
You deserve to be your own best friend.
If you want some more to make that happen, mark your calendar to join us Bees for a “Wife on Purpose” book club 12/15-12/8.
Grab your free ecopy at candicetoone.com/resources and start reading today.
Then join us to discuss what we learned, answer questions and coach through your stickiest marriage question.
If you want to really celebrate your anniversary in 2023 instead of going through the motions or ignoring the day completely – you’ve gotta join us.
Can’t wait to hang out with you LIVE in December.
Now it’s time for another listener SHOUT OUT! Thanks Brooker for listening AND leaving a review. I appreciate you.
Candice expertly teaches how to make your relationship so much better by understanding what you are thinking and how it can help or hurt your own reality. No one has to settle for anyone or anything and this podcast teaches how empowering it can be to fully understand your own authority! Everyone benefits when we do!
Thanks again Brooker. So fun to connect with you here.
As for the rest of you Bees – if you’d love a shout out on the podcast and a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card in time for the holiday season… you know what to do. We’ll be doing that drawing on November 30, so get your review in before then!
Choose courage, Bee and keep on flying!