We want to be trusted. We want people to think well of us, and believe the best about us. We especially want this from our spouse.
And if trust breaks down in a marriage, it’s hard for the rest of the bonds holding two people together to remain intact.
Trust is not something you can demand from another person. It takes time to develop, but it can be lost in a moment. Once lost, it will likely take much longer to regain that trust again, if ever.
I don’t believe trust is all that hard to understand. If you do what you say, and say what you do, consistently, you can be trusted!
Why is it that husbands, wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends often struggle with trust issues?
Yes, there are certainly times when one person’s previous experience with people – parents, previous partner, or others – leaves them so wounded that they have a very hard time trusting anyone now, even if that person does nothing to lead to their mistrust. But in general, if you want someone to trust you, there’s only one way to accomplish that:
And go out of your way to demonstrate that trustworthiness to your mate.
What does that look like? Demonstrating your trustworthiness means:
- If you tell your spouse you’re going to do something, do it.
- If you promise to be somewhere, be there.
- If your spouse asks where you were or what you were doing, tell the truth. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
- If the amount of time you spend on the phone with someone else, online, or in any other activity is making your spouse uncomfortable, stop. Just stop.
- If your spouse is nervous about you spending time with a certain person of the opposite sex, stop being around that person. Yes, even if it means changing jobs. Or changing churches. Or moving.
- Let your spouse know your passwords. All of them. And if you need to change them, let your spouse know that you have, and what the new password is.
- If you struggle with pornography, install blocking software on your computer.
- Tell your spouse if you are struggling to keep your heart clean. (There’s nothing like knowing you will need to tell your spouse about a certain illicit activity to help put the breaks on!)
It that overkill? I don’t think so.
Yes, this is a two-way street. Both parties have to be engaged in the same trust-building activities for it to really work.
That doesn’t mean you can’t increase your spouse’s trust in you by engaging in these types of behaviors on your own. Especially if you have previously done anything to lead your spouse to question your trustworthiness, you will have to work harder than usual to rebuild that trust. And you’ll have to keep doing it. And doing it. And doing it. How long? For as long as it takes!
Is this kind of trust and trustworthiness possible? YES! Forgiveness is possible, and God can restore relationships where trust has been broken. But how much better to never have to live through that kind of pain!
I can honestly say that my husband Al and I trust each other. We can ask each other anything. ANYTHING! We know where each other is all the time. We can each call the other – at any time, for any reason. We know each other’s passwords. And we don’t do those things because we don’t trust each other: we trust each other because that’s the way we behave toward each other, consistently. I can’t imagine things being any other way!
So yes, I believe trust is not that hard to understand. If you want your spouse to trust you, work hard enough to make sure that they do!
Your Turn: Do you think this picture of trustworthiness is too stringent? Do you trust your spouse? Why? Can they trust you? What do you do to make sure that you are trustworthy? I’d love to hear from you!