We made a decision to turn our wills and our life together over to the care of God as we understood God.
Together two people in a committed relationship form a coupleship, a oneness, a distinct and separate entity. This coupleship has a life of its own and needs to be nurtured. Couple recovery depends on this nurturance. Each partner needs individual recovery such as meetings, sponsors, support groups, spirituality, recreation, vocation as well as individual interests. The coupleship needs these same elements for couple recovery.
Trust is a major issue for most couples, since almost all couples have had trust violated in the past. Just as Step Two focused on what we decided to trust together, Step Three focuses on how we decide to turn our coupleship over to our Higher Power.
Letting go of outcomes is especially helpful. Many of us feel compelled to control events believing that our happiness depends on resolutions favorable to us, only to find disappointment when the happiness we expect is only temporary or nonexistent. In spiritually centered coupleships, we simply do our best while leaving the outcome to our Higher Power.
Some couples find Higher Power Boxes helpful in visualizing relinquishing control. Coupleship problems are written down and placed in the box, symbolically turning them over to their Higher Power. Similarly, some couples make a ceremony of burning their problems or having the tide wash them away.
The practice of meditation and prayer, especially the serenity prayer, is the spiritual bulwark of most couples. Focusing on insight, courage, willingness and acceptance seems to be the key to letting go.
Becoming more integrated in an RCA group is a vital part of any Third Step. Sharing our fears and stories at the group and sponsor level is an emotional letting go. It also allows us to relate to others, breaking our sense of isolation and uniqueness. Participation in a meeting can lead to a change in perspective and a return to sanity. Letting go also means not going alone.
Before Step Three can be completed, many couples go on a spiritual quest. Spiritual quests vary widely, but could include:
- Starting each day with thanksgiving
- Reading spiritually significant literature together
- Going to a house of worship or other spiritually significant place
- Going to recovery groups
- Going on a spiritual retreat together
These quests could take days, months, or even years. Hopefully, a mutually acceptable statement of faith will emerge. You are encouraged to write down a quest agreement. This
could be in longhand or printed suitable for framing and witnessed by friends or your sponsors. This presents a truly warm, supportive and validating experience for all involved. Additionally, it is suggested that you chair an RCA step meeting, and share your experience, strength and hope with other couples.
Ultimately, Step Three involves turning our relationship over. Many couples find it important to do something significant, even formal, such as a rededication of couple vows in the presence of friends. This may occur anywhere: in a place of worship, or at an informal gathering such as a picnic or at home, to celebrate our spiritual renewal. You are invited to be creative and have a personally memorable event celebrating your increasing commitment to each other and to the relationship.
We recognize that we are on a spiritual path together. Placing our relationship in our Higher Powers hand would mean the end of power struggles and seeking to control. We make a decision. We surrender. This is the spiritual principle upon which Step Three stands.