Fear is a gift. The first time I heard this I was reading the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker, a leading expert in violent behavior. In the book, DeBecker outlines numerous warning signs that gave people fear before a person turned violent. Many of these warning signs were ignored or dismissed by the victims because of false guilt over “judging” someone or feeling fear at all. For women with religious faith, fear may be especially disregarded and mislabeled as a “sin,” when in fact it is a helpful warning sign that there is a problem. In an intimate relationship, fear is the smoke that signals fire. If you feel fear in your marriage, then there is almost certainly abuse. Fear is abnormal in an intimate relationship. Period. Marriage is supposed to be an equal partnership. If there is fear, then there is a balance of power that is severely askew which means there is likely an abuse of power.
Many women will not say they are being abused, and they may not even know if they are being abused because emotional and psychological abuse can be subtle at first. The first sign of abuse in a marriage is often fear. Fear of violence. Fear of financial control over shared bank accounts. Fear of threats of slander and damage to her reputation. It is irrelevant whether the woman has clinical anxiety – she possibly does if she’s been living in an abusive relationship – many women have anxiety and do not fear their spouse. Fear in a marriage should be believed and taken seriously.
If you or someone you know are experiencing fear in your intimate relationship, please contact us . Don’t feel guilty for your fear. It’s not your fault. It’s a gift.