Trust in a relationship is a must. With it, there is freedom and security to experience the full potential of intimacy, love, and vulnerability the relationship has to offer. Without it, there is fear and insecurity, dampening and limiting the relationship’s potential.
When you trust your significant other, there is a freedom to share your heart and soul with him or her because you know what you share will be valued and treasured. Trust provides the means to add brick after brick to the foundation of your relationship, building a stronger platform upon which you can weather life’s ups and downs together.
Before marriage, trust is equally as important as it is after marriage, but there are differences between the two stages in your relationship. If trust is not established and maintained prior to marriage, you are setting yourself up for a disastrous future. If you are building your marriage on a broken foundation, it is going to make for a difficult and painful journey to intimacy and success in your marriage. Because the need for trust permeates every aspect of marriage – finances, intimacy, judgment, communication, spirituality, etc. – there is no way to ignore its presence or lack thereof. A lack of trust can lead to a lot of pain, misunderstandings, arguments, and stress. Make sure, before you head into marriage, that your selection in a significant other is a trustworthy one.
Just like any other relationship, trust is something earned. While it is essential to be open and honest with your significant other before marriage, it is important to be wise in how much you disclose. It is imperative to know someone is trustworthy before you share your deepest, innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences with him/her. Discussions about who you are, where you are from, where you are going, and other pertinent topics related to deciding if the two of you are meant for one another are crucial. The important thing to remember, though, is that discretion in disclosure is essential, particularly as it pertains to romantic relationships. It leaves you wide open for a great deal of pain if the person you are dating winds up not being “the one.” This may lead you to shut down or be closed off in your future marriage. Take time to make sure that the one you are with is worthy of hearing and sharing your heart.
One of the many benefits of marriage is the ability to be completely vulnerable with your spouse in a way that you cannot be with any other person. Of course there are situations where we still get deeply injured because of our flaws and failures as humans, but by and large, marriage provides a unique and incredible opportunity to share who we really are with our spouse. We can allow him/her into places that we have never allowed others to go. It is also an opportunity to get to know ourselves in a way we might not have otherwise known because we have the ability to open up and explore who we really are. There are few experiences comparable to that of sharing who you are – good, bad, and ugly – to your spouse and having him/her choose to love you in spite of that. That is what I refer to as the fingertip of God because it gives us a glimpse of the unconditional and immeasurable love our Heavenly Father feels for us. Marriage is a place to let go of our facades and forge intimacy and healing through vulnerability.
Obviously there are situations where marriage ends up not being safe after all, and we are left devastated and broken. While I am aware of the reality that neither marriage nor our spouse are perfect and can break our heart, it is a gamble worth taking. Being guarded and distant because of the fear of being hurt is not a way to function within the confines of marriage. I can promise you that your spouse will hurt you and let you down at some point in time. I can also promise you that you will do the same to your spouse. We are human, which means we will hurt one another at some point in time, whether we intend to or not. The fear of being hurt cannot be the hindrance to vulnerability and intimacy in your marriage. If you realize that both of you will hurt the other at some point, it makes room for grace and forgiveness, as well as permission for you to move forward in getting real with your spouse.
It is much more difficult to earn trust back when it is broken than to maintain trust in your marriage or relationship. That is why it is so important to safeguard yourself and your spouse from the devastation and pain of broken trust. Part of those preventative measures is accountability with one another. Transparency in a relationship keeps both people in check. Especially in marriage, both people should have access to confidential information including things like email accounts, phone records, and financial documentation. That is not to say you should constantly be spying on your spouse, but having access to that information helps create accountability and responsibility.
It is also extremely important for there to be honesty within a relationship. The truth is that we all slip up, mess up, and veer off on occasion. If you are uncertain if the direction you are heading is one that might hurt your spouse and marriage, then be open and honest with yourself and your spouse. People get caught up in keeping their secrets safe, and before they know it, they are in “too deep.” Most spouses will not only forgive, but they will help you work through your situation or struggles if you let him or her in on it. Don’t block yourself in with shame. Being honest about things with your spouse allows him/her to join you in defeating it.
The other part of protecting the trust in your marriage is to use wisdom. Throughout the Bible, we are told of the importance and value of wisdom. Proverbs 14:33 says, “wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools.” “Wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her” exclaims Proverbs 8:11. Sometimes we know that a situation is not in our best interest, or we can feel the Holy Spirit stirring within us. Don’t ignore that still, small voice. Use wisdom and avoid potentially hazardous situations. There is no replacement for wisdom, and the more you exercise wisdom and listen to the Holy Spirit, the stronger and better it will guide you.
Perhaps you already find yourself dealing with broken trust in your marriage or relationship and wonder what to do now. If you are dating, you must weigh the gravity of the fault. If it is minor, then you might be able to commit to working through it together. If the offense if much more serious in nature, then I would encourage you to really weigh out if this is the person for you. Trust is so fundamental and necessary to the health and functioning of a relationship, and if the person you are with is not trustworthy, it begs the question, is this the best option for your future? Only you can decide if the offense is a major red flag or a minor human error that you can move past.
Broken trust in marriages can be devastating and much more difficult to overcome. There is hope for the loss of trust in a marriage. Now, threat of injury or bodily harm is a whole different situation, so please do not misunderstand: I am not endorsing or suggesting this should be ignored. What I am talking about are faults ranging from small offenses to major breaches, such as affairs. There is hope of recovery from these in a marriage. The biggest things to remember are: the “offender” must be completely committed to changing his/her behavior, the “offended” must be completely committed to forgiveness and the realization that there is nothing the offended can do to undo the offense, and the process of rebuilding that trust will most likely take a lot of time, love, patience, and professional help. If you find yourself struggling with trust issues, I would encourage you to seek professional care to equip yourself with the necessary tools to successfully overcome those struggles.
Trust is such a key component to a marriage. It is woven into the very fiber of every aspect of the relationship, which is why it is something that should be valued, protected, and enjoyed. Trust is a must in relationships.