Many of us grew up with the belief that to worry is to love. Those we love most may be in real trouble, and we realize that there is very little we can do to improve the situation. So we worry because we love. Unfortunately, worrying is really nothing more than the active practice of not taking action. Our fear may lead to depression. When we feel out of control we maintain our depressed moods by telling ourselves that by worrying at least we are doing something.

However, fear and worry actually wreak emotional and spiritual havoc. This is especially true in romantic relationships because partners can quickly become absorbed in the fears of their mate. When the absorption occurs, the relationship deteriorates into conflict. Some allow the deterioration to occur because they have developed a pattern of using crises to help get back on track. They “kiss-and-make-up” and justify the crisis as the catalyst that drew them back together. It was perhaps the only solution they know.

The good news is you need not perpetuate old negative “solutions” like worrying or creating crises. Learning to surrender the outcome of challenging situations will allow you to actively look at what you can change in yourself. It is a choice when faced with a situation that is outside of your control if you will allow yourself to become fearful and depressed or if you will become emotionally and spiritually active. The way to avoid the unhealthy absorption of fears and worries that deteriorate your relationship is by maintaining your own emotional and spiritual well being.

Make a list of your fears and share it with your sponsor or therapist and with your Higher Power. Ask for direction on how to cope with the fears you have identified. Once you are well grounded through your own prayer and meditation, you can now share it freely with your partner. First, be an example of what to do when you are afraid. You have learned to center yourself in the present moment and realize that right now “although I may fear danger, I am safe.” You have learned to draw strength from your support network, your therapist, and your Higher Power and you have asked them to teach you how to love when you are afraid, instead of worrying in the name of love.

Then look for opportunities to invite your partner to share in the use of these simple spiritual tools. Solicit input from your partner about their own fears. Ask your partner to join you in prayer. Lead by example, invite rather than manipulate, and you will find that rising above the fear is a reality that can be yours!

Author's Bio: 

John and Elaine Leadem are the co-founders of Leadem Counseling & Consulting Services, PC.

Their professional service to the mental health field - both for individuals and their families - has involved their participation in the development and operation of various treatment services in a full array of modalities over the past 38 years and has evolved into a subspecialty which targets the needs of the victims of traumatic abuse and betrayal.

John and Elaine are published authors, retreat masters for couples, and happily married in recovery for the past 35 years. Their commitment to a “Shared Program of Recovery©” is the predominant distinguishing professional contribution of theirs.