When Avoidance Seems Easier
By Jennifer Waddle
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LordGod among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” - Genesis 3:8-10
Like most marriages, my husband and I complement one another in different ways. While he is forgetful, I am usually mindful. While he is systematic, I tend to be unstructured. We’ve come to recognize the ways in which we balance each other out and make up for each other’s lack. There is, however, one area in which we are the same. We are both avoiders.
As natural-born peacemakers, we avoid conflict at all cost. In fact, we’d rather get a root canal than have a tough conversation! It takes a lot of push-come-to-shove for us to actually address something that’s bothering us. For example, if one of us is overspending, we’ll wait until we see a dip in our savings before mentioning it. If there is a recurring issue with intimacy, we’ll ignore it or joke about it, in hopes it will change on its own. Both of us struggle to address anything that is even the slightest bit uncomfortable.
It reminds me of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who ate the forbidden fruit and suddenly realized they were naked. Instead of confronting their sin, and coming clean before God, they covered themselves and hid. Avoidance seemed easier to them than addressing what they had done.
In His sovereignty, God called Adam and Eve to come clean about their actions. And, He didn’t start out with a lecture, He started out with the simple question, “Where are you?”
Because the Lord’s fellowship with His beloved had been broken, He didn’t waste any time confronting the issue. They were too important to Him to avoid the truth and allow them to hide in their sin.
That’s exactly how we can (and should) handle issues in marriage. We should have the perspective that our marriage is too important to allow things to fracture our relationship. Avoiding sin issues doesn’t cause them to disappear on their own. Instead, they tend to grow into larger issues that are damaging and divisive.
No matter how uncomfortable the situation is, it’s always better to address it right from the start. Here are a few real-life examples:
1. If one spouse is tempted by lust, set up safeguards to protect your marriage from sexual immorality.
Don’t let another day go by without addressing sexual purity. This is one area you don’t want to let get out of hand. If you are uncomfortable discussing it, consider seeking wise counsel to lead the conversation. Here is a wonderful post about setting strong boundaries, along with a free marriage assessment.
2. If one partner has an issue of overspending, form a budget that is reasonable and doable for both parties.
Oftentimes, when overspending is an issue, one spouse feels overly controlled by the other. That’s why it’s super important to handle household budgeting as a team. Pray over your finances and create a realistic budget that allows for a bit of flexibility.
3. When health concerns arise, support each other.
In marriage, it might feel taboo to address weight issues or habitual behaviors. However, we should be able to discuss health concerns with our spouses without worrying about judgment or rejection. Approach these issues with a “we’re in this together” mentality. By being supportive instead of negative, great strides can be made towards optimal health.
Marriage is all about coming together as one and being willing to confront anything that stands in the way of unity. Remember, you can only avoid things for so long. Step out from hiding and admit your mistakes—first to God—and then to each other.
Jennifer Waddle is a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.comwhere Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
Related Resource: Listen to our new, FREE podcast on marriage: Team Us. The best marriages have a teamwork mentality. Find practical, realistic ideas for strengthening your marriage. Listen to all of our episodes for free on LifeAudio.com or in your favorite podcast app!