Fear and excitement are two terms we give to one very similar emotion. When we expect a negative outcome, we often call the emotion fear, and when we expect a positive outcome, we call it excitement.
Both are marked with an “electric” feeling, a sense of anticipation, and probably some stomach butterflies – but why do we embrace one and avoid the other at all costs?
Both are simply ways for us to deal with uncertainty, and with the right mindset, we can turn some of our fear-inducing experiences into blissful excitement. Of course, some truly dangerous situations are perfectly deserving of our fear, but most of the time, our fears are dominated by emotion, not logical thinking. There’s really no reason to be afraid of flying or riding rollercoasters – there is some danger involved, yes, but the statistics are certainly in your favor for getting through either experience unscathed.
Other common fears, like those associated with social situations, new experiences, certain animals, heights, etc., are all relatively easy to conquer with this rational approach (though it’s certainly easier to talk about than do). But the point here isn’t to talk about getting over your fears – it’s to help you understand how fear and excitement can improve your marriage.
Facing your fears is a huge accomplishment, and when you face them, your interpretation of the scenario changes to excitement! These feelings of excitement and accomplishment not only pump your brain full of happy chemicals, they also prime you for building a connection with people who are sharing in your experience, namely your spouse.
Making it through a harrowing adventure will bring you closer together. Making the choice to face something you’re afraid of (with your spouse close at hand for support) will make you feel invincible as a pair, able to face nearly any challenge as long as you’ve got each other for support.
Seeking excitement is also a great way to build your story together. In the wake of an exciting experience, you have a new memory to share with friends and family, and the improved strength of your connection to one another will remain long after the excitement has faded.
Sometimes the experiences we fear are opportunities for excitement in disguise, and perhaps understanding the value of sharing these experiences with our spouses will help motivate us to face theses uncertain situations with confidence.
In helping each other transform fear to excitement, couples show each other a deep level of support, and ultimately strengthen the relationship emotionally and psychologically.
Halloween offers some great opportunities for some “scares” as well! Even if it isn’t legitimately facing a fear that bothers you in an ongoing way, watching scary movies, visiting haunted houses, and other fright-themed holiday activities can give you that little jolt (somewhere between fear and excitement) that primes your mind and body for connection.
Whether it’s something Halloween themed, or facing a larger fear, doing it together will help to strengthen the bond you share. Try it out!
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com