Highlight-Afraid-of-failure.mp3

The lies you believe about yourself influence your relationships, and often not positively. One of the common lies that we fall victim to is that we are failures. Dr. Greg Smalley shares how believing this lie has impacted his marriage.

“The lie in my heart is that I’m a failure. So anytime my wife brings up a frustration, how she’s been feeling within our marriage, what her experience has been like within our marriage, she’s just being honest and saying right now, I’m just feeling lonely.”

Because of a fear of failure, Dr. Greg often gets defensive instead of loving when his wife is honest about their relationship.

“The defensiveness is because it makes me feel like a failure. How dare you bring up something negative about me. I don’t want to feel that way.”

Greg’s first instinct is to defend himself and prove why he couldn’t possibly be to blame. Even though he knows this about himself, he still struggles to fight against the fear. His defensive response is often heightened when he is finding his self-worth in making his wife happy.

“When I’m able to step back in the moment and remember that my value as a husband comes from God, it frees me up a little bit more not to be so defensive. Then I’m actually able to just to listen and ask questions and try to better understand it.”

How do we handle a defensive response based on fear of failure?

“The sacrifice in that moment would have been me giving up my need to defend myself, to get her to understand all the things I have been doing. The sacrifice would have been giving that stuff up and instead of me being understood, it would have been to understand her first.”


Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.  In this role, he develops and oversees initiatives that prepare individuals for marriage, strengthen and nurture existing marriages and help couples in marital crises. He also serves as a media spokesperson on these matters.

Key Scripture: 1 John 3:16

Featured Songs: Redeemed – Big Daddy Weave; Oxygen – Lincoln Brewster; Take Another Step – Steven Curtis Chapman

Crazy-Thing-Called-Marriage.mp3

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