Do you really want to build trust in your marriage? If so, you need to see how things you do or do not do everyday affect your spouse’s ability to trust you.
Marriage has multiple demands that go beyond maintaining and growing the relationship with your spouse. Work, child rearing, financial management, and such things as maintaining where you live play a part in how trust is built or destroyed in your marriage. With effort a deficit of trust in any of these areas can be overcome in time. However, an unwillingness to address trust issues will lead to a growing distrust and possible destruction of your marriage.
The real issue in making your marriage work well is CHARACTER. By this I mean that people of good character really want to mature and do those things that are healthy for their marriage. They will make mistakes but will also admit them and attempt to correct them. You will not need to try to change a person with good character because they will want to change for the sake of the marriage. So, it all comes down to a couple of things: heart and head.
The “heart” part has to do with will or intention. “In my heart, do I really want to do the right thing?”This question gets at the essence of the issue. If the heart is wrong or selfish then only a deep personal change such as conversion can change this.
The “head” part has to do with knowledge or understanding. A person can have a good heart or intentions but lack knowledge. For example, you may want to live within your means but are challenged when it comes to knowing how to make a budget. This principle applies in many areas of marriage and family life. Trust grows when each of you shows yourself willing to learn new skills which are important to the overall management of family concerns. Likewise, trust in these areas deteriorates when such issues are not addressed.
Do you realize your parenting affects the trust factor in your marriage?
One of the most important areas in which trust is built or destroyed in marriage is how you deal with your children. Having children, for most couples, is the easy part. Rearing those children to become healthy, responsible people is not so easy. Let’s face it; children are expensive and can be a lot of work if you do child rearing as you should.
There was a time in our country when the basic idea was that the husband earned the money and the wife did most, if not all, of the child raising.This attitude, I believe, is a very limited view of how parenting ought to be done. Thankfully, I see many young fathers taking a very active role in the care and discipline of their children. This is as it should be and builds strong ties with the child and trust with the wife.
However, there are moms and dads who, because of laziness, selfishness, or some other reason, put the work of parenting on their spouse. This is hurtful to the child and undermines the trust that is so basic to the marriage. What is there that a couple has that should be more important than the child they have brought into the world? To neglect the rearing of your child is a sin against the very marriage that gave the child its life. Such neglect can do nothing but destroy trust in your marriage.
As you realize, there is a lot more to rearing your child than the physical care and nurture they require. They are moral, spiritual beings which need guidance and spiritual foundations. Your time is limited,there is only a relatively small amount of time you have to lay the foundations of character and faith upon which the remainder of your child’s life will be built.
So, commit to work together to rear your child to have a positive influence on the world. By doing this you will build a trusting relationship in your marriage and give your child the character and balance he/she needs to face the challenges of life.
What does a marriage look like where trust is intact in many areas of everyday life? Such a marriage is not free of problems or stain but it does have a sense of partnership and cooperation in dealing with life’s issues which makes marriage very satisfying and successful.
To more completely answer the question posed above I want to deal with some specific situations in marriage where trust is a core issue. Some would say that not having trust in these areas is a “deal breaker” or grounds for ending the marriage. All the areas I mention are important but do not, in my opinion, carry the same weight in the marriage. There is only one that is, by its very nature, destructive to the bond between a man and a woman. And, this issue I will deal with first.
Personal faithfulness. The bottom line is: you must be able to trust your spouse to be faithful to your marriage vows. Marriage is between you and your spouse, an exclusive relationship where there is no room for another person.
We are all human and can be tempted to betray our vows. Therefore, great care must be taken to protect our marriage and not become involved in an emotional affair or in activities that can lead to physical acts that betray our spouse. Trust is destroyed, and oftentimes the marriage with it, if there is a betrayal in this area. A decision to be unfaithful is tragic and leads to lifelong consequences which hurt many people.
Marriages can be restored where unfaithfulness has taken place if there is true repentance and great effort to rebuild the trust that has been broken. However, the offended spouse will also have some difficult work to do. They will need time to work through the process of forgiving and learning to trust again; a process which may take years to accomplish. It can be done and a strong marriage can be built from the pain.
Guard your heart. Keep it only for your spouse. You owe nothing to another man or woman that should cause you to dishonor yourself, your spouse or God.
Trust is vital in marriage. I recently heard of a situation where a young wife had discovered her husband was having an affair. When she confronted him about his unfaithfulness and the marriage vows he took he replied, “That’s just a piece of paper.” The “piece of paper” he was referencing was, of course, the marriage license. There are several things wrong with a scenario like this.
First, adultery is wrong. It is a breach of trust between a man and a woman who have agreed to be faithful to each other. There may be lots of excuses as to why a person succumbs to this temptation but there is no real justification for it. If a person isn’t mature enough to keep their libido in check they shouldn’t take on the responsibility of marriage. Adultery is the breaking of the trust which is vital to a healthy marriage. Trust can be repaired but only through a truly repentant attitude and hard work.
Second, there was probably a lot of misplaced trust in this situation. Sometimes, people allow passion to over rule wisdom. All of us need to be loved but we may fail to use caution when giving our love to someone else. Why? Because our desire and need for the security of being loved is so strong that we may naively accept the other person’s “I love you” as the real deal. The truth is that lots of folks talk about love without the foggiest notion of what real love is. But, we want to be “loved’ and are liable to fall for any counterfeit.In the instance cited above, trust was blind and naive.
Third, situations such as this cause me to question the character of those involved. I tend to see adultery in this instance as a symptom of a dysfunctional marriage. Something at the core of the marriage wasn’t right. There was no solid basis for trust because there wasn’t character to build on.
When a man and woman have committed to each other to be honest and meet each other’s needs a solid trust develops. The glue that holds relationships together in tough times involves the trust that has been built by the way they have cared for each other before the tough times come. We learn to trust our spouse, or vice versa, because we know them.
Trustworthiness is a part of good character and it is wise to have a good idea about the “character” you are thinking about marrying before you say “I do.”
More on this in The Trust Factor: Marriage (part two)
How do you answer this question, “Why did God give you a child?” Children can be difficult, it’s true, but God has placed your child or children in your life to do something for you. God has different ways to grow us. While you are their parent, they may be the instrument through which God teaches you some life-altering truths.
The bottom line of life is relationships. God gave you a child as a way to enhance your relationship with him. God can use your child in many ways to remind you of how much he loves you. There are times, no doubt, you feel almost overwhelmed by your love for your child. Perhaps these times are a good reminder of the even greater love God has for you. See if you agree with the following reasons why God gave you a child:
Your child can be your teacher in matters of trust and total dependence. They show us how our heavenly father wants us to trust him. Your young child doesn’t worry about the necessities of life because he trusts you to provide for his needs. In the same way, God wants us to trust him to give us what we need. Read Matthew 7:9-11 to see how Jesus illustrates this idea.
God can also use your children to renew your wonder about life. The stress and strain of everyday life can suck the joy and wonder out of us and we can forget that life is really a miracle. Holding a newborn or looking into the wonder-struck eyes of a child looking at a butterfly can revive a sense of wonder in us. Taking time to see the world through the eyes of a child can help us see the awesome power and greatness of our loving Creator and Lord.
And, God can use your child to renew your hope about life and its purpose. As you read this blog, there is trouble throughout the world; wars, natural disasters, financial calamities, and human suffering. Why would thinking people want to bring children into a world like this? Hope, that’s why. As a believer you can rear your child to serve the Lord and make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
Isn’t it wonderful that God gave you a child to teach you about what it means to trust and to remind you about the wonder that surrounds you every moment?
Are you taking the ” long look” in how your rear your child? Healthy love takes the “long look”. Healthy love does not settle for what is convenient or what does not lead to the best for your child in the long run. Healthy love must sometimes be tough. It tolerates you child’s discomfort and anger. It is smart, knowledgeable.
To be able to choose what is in the best interest of our child implies some knowledge of what life is about.. It means we choose to teach our child values and our expectations based on convictions we have about life-questions. What is life’s purpose? Are we accountable for the way we live? Are there basic character traits that are healthy and to be sought after? What does God expect of me as a parent?
It seems obvious to me that a solid grounding in biblical principles is indispensable if we seek to do what is best for our child. Such knowledge grounds you in how to deal with specific issues. It also helps you make judgments about what to glean and discard from parenting information you get through reading and other sources.
Biblical principles should form the base or foundation of what you choose to teach your child. Upon those biblical principles you can build methods and concepts, consistent with those principles, which will help you in providing a healthy love for your child.
What are you currently doing to make yourself more able to make decisions which help your child in the long term?