What words come to your mind when you think of trust?”
I asked my husband while we were driving down the road the other day. I told him how I wanted to write my next article on trust.
While he thought about the question for a little bit, I chimed in: “Because you know, marriages fail or succeed based on trust. What’s the point of being married if you can’t trust the other person?”
Some words brewing in my head were: Security, honesty, commitment
And then he shared his: Sexual purity, integrity, moral character
I was surprised at how different our responses were as husband and wife, male and female, yet they were so similar. When it comes to the whole topic of trust, I resonate with what Dr. John Townsend said about trust in the marriage relationship:
Trust and truth go hand in hand. That is why deception of any sort is the biggest trust killer.”
Trust is broken down when lies and fabrication exist and I would even beg to say that the smallest lies or deception of any sort isn’t just a trust killer but a marriage killer. However when the marriage relationship is built on integrity and honesty, trust is a natural part of the relationship. And the marriage is thriving and healthy.
The truth about sexual purity
I’ve seen this lived out in our marriage when it comes to sexual purity. Jeremiah and I are both two imperfect people, striving to love and serve God with all that we are—but sometimes we fall short.
My husband also has struggles I don’t fully understand as a woman. While my struggles might not be exactly like his, I have plenty of my own. When I was in college, I started to understand the reality that men (even godly leaders and pastors) have to constantly guard against temptations for lust and pornography.
In our sex-crazed culture, it’s a huge battle. Women are by no means exempt from this battle either. Early in our marriage, I started to realize my husband would need my prayers in this area, not my criticism or rejection. He would face temptations and we would have to fight hard against the junk that threatens to destroy oneness in our marriage.
God showed me that as my husband’s wife and helpmate, I was put in his life to help protect him and encourage him against those awful temptations, just as he was put in my life to help me in my weaknesses.
We decided a while ago that it’s helpful to check in every now and then and ask each other, “How’s your purity?” What we’ve learned is that the truth comes out with such a question and it’s a difficult one to ask because the truth is sometimes painful to hear. However, it’s necessary so that our relationship continues to be built on honesty, where there’s never any doubt if the other person is really telling the truth.
Confession & God’s healing
Where our natural instinct might be to hide our sin, weaknesses and imperfections within the marriage relationship, especially when the most shameful parts about us are revealed, the greatest freedom comes in confessing those shortcomings so that we can be healed:
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
It isn’t our spouse’s job to heal us either, but God’s. He gives us the gift of marriage as a tool for our own sanctification and to keep persevering in godliness. Confession is just the beginning step towards God healing the broken pieces in our lives.
Secure in your spouse’s love
If being open and vulnerable with your spouse isn’t a norm, it’s never too late to get past the surface stuff and go deeper. Being real and humble about your struggles, great or small, is how trust is built.
Trust involves a “what you see is what you get” kind of relationship where nothing is tucked under the rug. It’s a “I know you struggle with __________ but God put me in your life to help you grow and change for the better.” It’s a, “I’m committed to you for life and I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you are secure in my love for you.”
Trust and truth—they are precious to the marriage relationship and sexual purity. They must be made a priority so that in years to come our marriages won’t be merely surviving, but thriving to the fullest with joy and love overflowing. So that, ultimately, God is glorified in every part of our marriage.
Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding” – (Prov. 23:23).
Questions for personal reflection:
- Are you hiding anything from your spouse? If so, are you willing to confess your sin so that trust and truth become the foundation of your marriage?
- Are there any areas in your marriage that you could be more trustworthy?
- In regards to purity, where do you and your spouse need God’s healing the most?