Nov 052014 6 Responses

Trust Is Everything in Marriage

It was a minor skin tag under my eye. For years I just ignored it, but it continued to grow.

With regularity, someone would stop me mid-conversation, and say, “You have something under your eye.”

Finally, I decided to do something about it.

I called a friend who is also a doctor. I asked if he could remove the skin tag. He jokingly said he could try.

I asked, “Do you know how?”

He played along and said, “I can Google it.”

The process was fairly simple: lay down, close my eyes, and let a doctor take a sharp object just below my eye and cut out a collection of cells underneath my skin.

As I laid there, one thing struck me—how calm I was despite what was happening.

In medical terms it was not a major procedure, but in common sense terms it was frightening. Yet I was calm.

Why?

I was calm because I had complete trust in my friend. I knew he would never perform a procedure without complete confidence he could do it. I knew he would be extremely careful. I knew he would minimize the pain as much as possible. I also knew, he felt worse about the pain than I did.

Because I trusted him, I could relax and let him do his job.

I never doubted his ability. (See: Why You Don’t Submit to God)

I never questioned what was happening.

Even when I felt occasional discomfort, I knew it was just part of the procedure.

Trust changed everything.

Trust changes everything, even how I approach pain.

Pain often reveals our level of trust. Take me to a doctor I do not know and if I feel pain, I begin to question either his heart or his ability. Does he know what he is doing? Am I being seen by a hack? Does he care that he is hurting me? Is the doctor heartless?

Yet when I know and trust my doctor, they can take sharp objects near my eye and while it might be uncomfortable, it is not frightening. I can endure the pain because I trust the person.

So should it be in marriage. (See: Playfulness–One Sign of a Healthy Marriage)

Marriage is not easy. It is supposed to be one of the avenues through which our weaknesses and inadequacies are revealed. This revelation process is painful.

When trust isn’t present, the pain is almost unbearable.

However, when trust is present, we can confront and endure nearly anything.

For many couples, what they think is their biggest problem is not really their biggest problem. They believe they have a communication issue or a sex problem or frustration with work/family balance. Yet what they really have are trust issues.

Distrust rarely reveals itself as distrust. It appears as another condition.

Most communication struggles are byproducts of distrust. We can communicate anything to anyone if we trust them. Trust provides safety and safety gives us the environment in which we can be honestly reveal our hearts. Yet when we don’t feel safe, we cannot communicate. Silence and anger are both symptoms of distrust. (See: Two Steps to Solving 90% of all Communication Problems)

Many sexual issues arise from an absence of trust. Sex often touches on our deepest insecurities. It makes us vulnerable and unless we can trust the person we are intimate with, we will be guarded. Skid-dish is the antithesis of sexy. If you trust your partner, you can openly communicate likes, dislikes, desires, and fears. Where trust is absent, few issues can be discussed and many assumptions are made. (See: What I Tell College Students About Married Sex)

Even the cause of most marital ruts are issues of trust. While every couple experiences seasons of what feels like being stuck, when a couple stays in a stagnant season for a long period of time it is likely because of distrust. They are stuck because they have reached the boundaries of their trust. Unless they learn to trust more, they will never grow deeper as a couple.

Trust changes everything. It is a quality of marriage which must consistently be developed. Much like a muscle, trust can be strengthened or weakened. (See: Why Some Relationships Succeed and Others Fail)

Here are three ways to deepen your level of trust:

Be honest. It’s risky to be honest when trust is uncertain, but honesty is required to build trust. I would rather be honest and get hurt than forever be guarded and never get hurt. A life of honesty is easier and better than any other option.

Admit mistakes without blaming. Few things build trust as much as admitting mistakes and taking personal responsibility for them. Most people, even if they admit mistakes, blame others for their mistakes. If you refuse to blame others, you will build trust.

Listen and respond kindly. Kindness builds trust. It shows people they can be themselves without fear of judgment or a harsh response. By listening and responding kindly, we create a safe place for hurting people. Since everyone is hurting, everyone needs safety.

Trust is at the core of a good marriage. Show me a couple who trusts one another and I will show you a couple who can endure any circumstance. Without trust, intimacy dies. With trust, it flourishes.

 

 

6 Responses to Trust Is Everything in Marriage
  1. stevebrawner Reply

    Great column, Kevin. Thanks.

  2. […] By recognizing my emotion and giving it credibility, a leader builds trust with others and empowers ... kevinathompson.com/be-afraid
  3. […] As long as a couple is truly committed to one another, trust is present. Trust empowers a couple. It... kevinathompson.com/commitment-healthy-marriage
  4. cyo Reply

    Dear Kevin,
    Your blog posts hurt. And I have considered unsubscribing. Why? Because they are rocking my boat. I am married to a good man; and yet I do not ‘feel’ safe enough to share my deepest likes and dislikes, and fears and insecurities. He-and quite a few others-feel that I am only espousing “foreign” ideas. We talk, about the mundane every day things.

    Because on the surface, everything seems to be fine, bringing up these things makes me feel as though I am making a fuss over nothing. I read one one of your posts where you wrote that silence means apathy. May I say that sometimes that is not the case. Sometimes, silence is the quiet that is preferable to open warfare.

    Yet I know that I am hurting. And maybe, if I don’t read blog posts like yours, then it gets easier to manage my pain, and hopefully it will ease away with time.

  5. […] This one characteristic radically changes marriage. (See: Trust Is Everything in Marriage) […]... kevinathompson.com/litmus-test-his-love

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