The human brain has a number of emotional systems that provide you with emotional responses and cause you to act in certain ways. The feeling of fear alerts you about all kinds of dangers and threats. The feeling can evoke a whole range or responses.
Fear doesn’t always distinguish between different kinds of danger. It can also be an emotion that you feel in the background when you are communicating with other people. You may be expressing anger in reaction to criticism from your spouse, but in reality, it is fear that has caused the anger.
For example, a wife may come home after a long work shift to only find the husband semi-asleep on the couch with dirty dishes in the sink and husband’s work clothes all over the apartment. She would then raise her voice and ask the husband to be more considerate. In return, the husband would start acting defensively and mock his wife.
Both the anger of the wife and the avoidance of the husband are fear responses that the partners are using to defend themselves. The interactions push them into a state of confusion and then the desire to repair the relationship is overridden by the fear of being vulnerable. Over time, the fear can really hurt the relationship as the partners will be sharing less and less because deep sharing requires vulnerability.
Staying Secure in a Relationship
In order for couples to feel secure in their relationship and not be afraid to become vulnerable, both partners need to believe they have the following:
- They can count on the spouse.
Being human means depending on others. There is no way to escape a fundamental human need to seek and build relationships with people that are important to you. For married couples, it is about what happens when they try to rely on each other. In a relationship that feels secure, partners stay strong as individuals and have a clear understanding of where they stand. A secure relationship is a relationship where partners have a clear view of themselves. This can’t happen in a relationship with someone that doesn’t care about their partner.
- They can turn to the spouse when the times are hard.
It is crucial for the feeling of security to know that you can rely on your partner when you need comfort, help, and care in times of trouble. Some experts describe this aspect of the feeling of security in marriage as the creation of a safe haven. Such security promises partners a relationship that comes with protection and safety no matter what storms and issues life brings.
- The spouse will help them stay confident.
When you have a feeling of security in a marriage, you are in a relationship that stimulates personal growth and self-exploration. This is a foundation upon which you can build so that you can take risks both personally and professionally and explore together what life has to offer.