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How to Stop Being Afraid of Losing People you Love

Are you afraid of losing someone you love? Here's a few things that have helped me tremendously in keeping that fear in check!
I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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Create A Life You Love: Comes out on April 30th!

Hi sweet friends!

One of my favorite parts of my job is reading and responding to your emails. It feels like coffee date in my inbox, and I could not love it more. 

The only problem is that you may have these same questions, or need some of these answers, and I never get to share them with you! So I’m trying something new today that (if you like it!) I might turn into a series: Questions and answers from my inbox. 🙂 

One quick note on this: All identifying and personal information has been taken out or changed in both the question and the answer. When you email me with pieces of your story, those stay between you and me. Promise! 

Here we go!

Hi Stephanie,

I’m getting married soon, and I can’t even explain how excited I am. But I’m also struggling with another emotion that’s stealing so much of my joy. I’m wrestling with a gripping fear that something’s going to happen to my fiancé before we get married. 

I know all the right things to think…”God's in control” “He's got this” “Have faith” etc., but I also know terrible things can happen to anybody at any time. Do you have any thoughts or advice? 

Hi sweet friend!

I’m so happy you brought this up. First because fear is one of those things that grows the longer we keep it hidden. I’m so glad you’re inviting people into this — bringing this fear into the light.

The second reason I’m so happy you brought this up is because this is a topic that’s been popping up a lot lately — in my own heart, in my inbox, on the phone, and over lunch. You are so not alone in this fear.

So that’s the first thing I want you to know. You are not weird, crazy, or alone in this. This is something so many of us wrestle with — the fear of losing someone we love.

And unfortunately, our fears aren’t unfounded.

You only have to watch the news for a few moments before you’re slapped with the terrifying reality that bad things happen to loved ones indiscriminately all over the world — and that yours (and mine) aren’t exempt.

While this has always been true — the process of getting married makes this truth scarier than ever.

Marriage isn’t like any other relationship. Marriage is the process of two becoming one — that person becomes a part of us in a greater love, commitment, and connection than we’ve ever known before. And because that love is so different, so unique, and so deep, the thought of losing that person is enough to unglue us entirely. (At least it is for me.)

So what do we do? 

When it comes to the fear itself, unfortunately, as we know, there are no guarantees.

God doesn't promise us anything when it comes to the safety of the people we love — not in the put-them-in-a-bubble-and-don’t-let-one-single-bad-thing-happen-to-them way we want Him to anyway.

I think that's the hardest part about being human — knowing that our lives are so fragile and our loved ones lives are fragile too.

But here's what I do know: This kind of love is so beautiful, so life-changing, it’s worth any cost — even the fear of losing them, even actually losing them.

Tennyson said it best of course, he said, “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

So if we know this fear is worth it — that the beauty and holiness of love is worth the vulnerability it requires — what do we do about this fear?

I don’t have a cure, unfortunately. The fear of losing my husband is a real thing in my life, and I don’t know if it will ever actually go away.

But there are a few things that have helped me tremendously in keeping that fear in check, and in using it for good!

1. Tuck up close to God

This isn’t to bribe God, or to earn the safety of your loved ones. It doesn’t work that way.

But by tucking up close to God, we’re investing in our relationship with Him, learning His character, experiencing how much He loves us, and learning to trust Him. And when we know those things, we can lay our hearts, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones in God’s capable hands, knowing that no matter what happens, He’s good and we can trust Him (here's a resource to get you started).

2. Capture your thoughts

This is something I constantly have to remind myself to do, but when we find our thoughts going down that road, we have to stop them, change them, turn them around and make them obedient to Christ. (2Cor 10:5)

We need to do this because A. Fear is not from God. In fact, all over scripture He tells us not to fear, that perfect love casts out fear. And B. Because if we do lose our loved ones early, we don’t want to have wasted one single moment with them on fear.

And that brings us to number 3.

3. Soak up every second

A few months ago I was feeling totally twisted up in fear of losing Carl. Right around that time, I was in my car driving home when Meghan Trainor’s new song came on the radio. I sat in my car, gripping my steering wheel, and sobbing. She nailed it. She captured my fear perfectly and taught me what to do with that fear all in one perfect chorus.

She sings,

I’m going to love you like I’m going to lose you, I’m going to hold you like I’m saying goodbye, wherever were standing I wont take you for granted, cause we’ll never know when we’ll run out of time. I’m going to love you.”

That, yes, exactly that.

The longer we’ve been with someone — our parents, our friends, or our husbands — the easier it is to take them for granted. They’ve always been there, and so we assume they always will be.

But we know that’s not the case. Life is fragile and finite, and this is the perfect reason to make the most of every moment we do have.

So that’s what I try to focus on when I’m feeling afraid. I let that fear remind me that even best case scenario, I wont have Carl forever. So I try to live each day with him knowing how precious they are — letting the truth of life’s fragility spur me on to love with everything I have.

So sweet friend, while your fears are completely valid, I hope you (and I) don’t allow them to rob us of the moments we do have with the people we love.

Tuck up to God, letting Him remind you that He’s good, that He loves you (and your loved ones!) and that you can trust Him. Capture our thoughts, making them obedient to Christ, and let the truth of finite time remind you to love that man to pieces every single moment you have with him.

I'm praying for you right now sweet friend. Keep me updated, and enjoy every moment of your wedding day. It's the beginning of a truly beautiful adventure.

All my love sweet friend!


P.S. If you need more encouragement in this area, here's a podcast episode that might help: Girls Night #51: How to Stop Being Afraid that Bad Things are Going to Happen.

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Are you afraid of losing someone you love? Here's a few things that have helped me tremendously in keeping that fear in check!

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  1. Amanda Redinger says:

    Yes yes yes! I love learning how much more common this is. One thing to add: Consider counseling. I had to begin therapy because the fear of losing my husband was interfering with our lives. The terror was debilitating, and often would prevent us from doing things because I was just so scared. I found out I had an adult version of separation anxiety, and I’ve learned so many techniques to manage (not cure) this kind of anxiety. I felt silly going in at first and sharing my fears, but then I found out that this is more common than you imagine and that there are so many things that a trained professional can teach you to help you manage when those panicky feelings make themselves known. Praying for you, Stephanie, and for whoever wrote that email! We are all in it together.

    • Stephanie May Wilson says:

      Ooh, that’s such a good word! Thank you so much for sharing Amanda! I’m a fan of counseling for a zillion different reasons, and you’re totally right that this is a great reason to invite in a pro! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for your encouragement!!

  2. Ashley Romans says:

    Yes to this WHOLE article! I’m not married, or even dating anybody for that matter, but I have felt this fear when I was- a sense of debilitating fear while waiting for the “other shoe to drop” so to speak.

    And yes to the whole idea of Q/A from your inbox! We all know that we’re not alone in our fears, but too often we keep these common fears inside our heads, too scared to utter the words into existence, so it’s easy to feel like we really ARE the only ones. I know it would make me feel better if you blogged about other women’s questions. I know I already can relate to this, no telling how many others can too! Thanks for tackling life with us Stephanie and kindly reminding us we’re not alone! We love you!

  3. Marisa says:

    Oh my gosh! This entire article is amazing! #FollowingForSure <3

  4. Kelli says:

    So good! I struggled with that same thing when me and my husband got engaged. You just have to give everything over to God and trust in Him!

  5. Amelia says:

    This is SO beautiful! ♥

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and wisdom! One of my friends recently lost her husband (he was only 28) and since then I have had fears creeping in about losing my own husband. So thank you for this timely reminder. XO

  7. DustIn Mick says:

    This was a solid read, Steph! Men aren’t exempt from it either, unfortunately. I’ve dealt with this fear my whole life. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Grace says:

    This is good, and so needed for so many of us. I think I’d add that it’s important, and surprisingly helpful, to allow the Lord to remind us that our spouses/boyfriends/fiances/etc don’t belong to us. It’s easy to feel like the person we’re planning “forever” with or connected to by vows and a covenant is “our person,” but really, that person has never been, and will never be, ours. God has simply chosen us to be the person stewarding and loving him until he goes to his forever home, and at the root of the fear of losing someone we love is often the unintentional selfishness of thinking this person is ours and what will we do if God takes him or her away. But the truth is, people don’t belong to us and God loves and protects us even apart from them.

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