After I placed our wedding photos into an album and started playing house, I found myself saying things like, “Don’t forget your wallet!” as my husband headed to the store, or “Did you remember everything on the shopping list?” In my pursuit to be “helpful,” I was quickly killing the intimacy in my marriage.

What I didn’t know was that by being “helpful,” I was really being controlling, even disrespectful.

I had been taught that being a good wife means being helpful, and so I would remind and nag and double-check. All for his benefit, of course.

Thank G‑d, I was introduced to more empowering ways of doing things. I learned that control is fear-based. Meaning that whenever I am controlling, there is some underlying fear. I was choosing my fear over my faith in my husband.

As I packed my bags for an approaching trip, I felt an alert that said, “If Ariel doesn’t pack now, it will take forever to get there, or worse, we will never leave.” I was about to muster my nicest “Sweetie, it would be a great idea if … ” when I stopped.

I sat myself down and thought honestly, “What am I afraid of? That we will never leave the house if I don’t remind him to pack?”

Is my fear realistic? No, I am sure long before we were married, he went on trips, and no one told him to pack. Even though in almost four years of marriage, I’ve always done so, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

Can I actually control the situation? Well, no, even if I have a whole tantrum about our set agreement to leave by a certain time and stomp my feet or say, “Pretty please with a cherry on top,” or communicate super-duper clearly, I still cannot make another human being decide to pack.

Is it worth the intimacy it is going to cost me? I looked over at my husband, who was immersed in a book, and thought, “This is my soulmate. This is the person I choose to spend my life with. No, it isn’t worth the price to pester him.”

I stayed focused on what was in my control. I packed my bags and then jumped straight into self-care. I opened my watercolors, which had a neglectful layer of dust on the cover.

And then, the most miraculous thing happened. From the other room, my husband came out to tell me: “You are so nice.” He started cleaning up the kitchen and announced, “We should head out.” Then he started his packing pile.

As I let go, there was more room—for me, for him, for G‑d. If I am controlling, I am not inviting G‑d into the marriage.

Even then, I wanted to suggest that he “pack right into a bag” rather than making a pile first, for time’s sake. But my higher self whispered, “Is it worth the intimacy it is going to cost you?”

I realize this question is also about intimacy with myself. When I am doing things that I can control, I am focused on making myself happy and feeling empowered. When I focus on controlling him, I am acting out of fear, disconnected from myself.

As I finished my painting of a happy, light-blue home, I realized how much of my precious energy goes into feeding my fears and trying to control my husband. I would rather put that energy into controlling the one person I actually can: myself. When I let my fears run me and try to control others, I am throwing away my power. By taking control of my fears by inquiring about them, I am taking true control of my life and my happiness.

When I try to control my husband, my fears play out like a movie, and worse, I am not the person I want to be in this marriage. In contrast, when I am respectful, then the amazing capable person I married appears. Best of all, I get to show up as a respectful wife—the person I want to show up as for my own sake.

Finally, we got on the road. I contemplated all the things that could go wrong with my speaking engagement the next evening. I was mentally micro-imaging every detail to calm my nerves. “Wait, I am being controlling, and that means I am afraid.” I started sharing my fears with G‑d instead.

“G‑d, I am afraid my speech will flop majorly, and I will be embarrassed; I am afraid the audience will talk during my speech. I am afraid my talk will be too long. I am afraid I won’t find a cab to get back afterwards.”

As I shared my fears, I contemplated: Who is better equipped to take control of the situation than G‑d? G‑d believes in me and is my biggest cheerleader; after all, He created me. G‑d arranged this whole thing and has never left me alone on stage for a moment. I have felt Him with me, even in the hard moments.

Can I actually control the situation? No, I cannot control how other people view reality.

Is it worth the intimacy it is going to cost me? No, the intimacy of being in a place of trust with my creator and my authentic self is more precious than this well-rehearsed comfort zone of micromanaging existence.

You see, ego means edging G‑d out. It happens when I feel that I am in control, and forget that G‑d Almighty is the true power and existence. Through learning Tanya (chapter 33) and integrating its teachings, we learn that we exist within G‑d. The context we exist within is one of all-pervading love and protection.

When I realize that I exist within G‑d, my fears are put into perspective, and my need to micromanage life evaporates.

As Passover approaches, we are reminded that when G‑d took us out of Egypt and split the sea, He left a stamp on the Jewish psyche of a deep inner knowing that he is intimately involved in every molecule of this world.

We are given an eight-day soul spa to live in this truth.

We literally scrub every trace of our false sense of control, our ego, from the back cupboards of our psyche. Chametz is compared to ego as it rises. For eight days, I put away my ego, my chametz, my false sense of control, my racing fears.

And then we digest the matzah—the bread of faith—and we let it rewire our system. As we crunch and munch our matzah around the table, we taste that collective core soul memory of G‑d is taking care of me. We taste true freedom and experience G‑d’s power as we relive that faithful night when we left Egypt forever. We eat the bread of faith that nourishes us for the rest of the year.

There is a lot of inner work I can do on my own. But then there is a spiritual leap. Passover means to leap. In these eight days, I am given the opportunity to leap from a place of fear and subsequent control into one of letting go and trust.