By Joy Ballard
In a culture of distrust, where pornography, sexual addictions, affairs and divorce are all too common, how do we start trusting each other better as husbands and wives? I have encouragement for you today in my story.
Trusting Each Other in a Culture of Distrust
Trust is a word that can carry conflicting feelings. We want to believe we can trust the people we love. We want to believe we ourselves are trustworthy. The longer we live, the more we realize how fragile life and relationships can be. Hopefully, along with that realization, we can see the evidence of the one true and faithful person we can trust above all – Jesus.
If the concept of trust triggers feelings of disappointment or fear, you are not alone. To quote John and Stasi Eldredge from their book Love & War, “You live in a world at war. Spiritual attack must be a category you think in or you will misunderstand more than half of what happens in your marriage.”
The rage of the enemy’s attack on marriage is seen everywhere. Chances are that you have experienced or know someone who has experienced the devastating effects of pornography or infidelity in marriage.
If you have been at the receiving end of such painful attacks, my deepest sympathies go out to you. I sincerely understand the gravity of that painful journey. Many friends have described the deep intensity of that pain to me.
If you know a friend in this deep pit of pain, what she needs from you is literal support. Bring her food, drive her to therapy, hug her and pray for her.
Please hear me, broken trust is not necessarily the end of the story. I personally know many couples who have made it through their seasons of broken trust. They are not without scars and long seasons in the shadow of death, but with renewed and vibrant unity between them. There is a depth to their love that is a direct result of the excruciating journey of allowing God to heal and restore their trust.
For those of us perhaps watching this unfold in others and wondering how we can deepen the trust in our own marriages, here are some thoughts.
4 Ways to Build Trust in a Culture of Distrust
- Talk with your husband.
Isn’t talking sometimes the hardest thing to accomplish in marriage? Especially after kids enter the scene, having a good conversation can seem like such a challenge.
But it’s not just a struggle for a good time and place to talk. It’s also that most of us don’t know how to talk about these things. Sex. Weaknesses. Temptations. Vulnerability. It can be messy and uncomfortable to talk about these things but you must do this.
Talk about your childhood, your fears and unhealthy coping behaviors you’ve adopted along the way. Both women and men have all sorts of unhealthy perspectives, habits and behaviors that need to be brought into the open for healing.
What stays hidden in the dark will never be overcome. Bring it out. Be brave.
- Find a support network.
Isolation is one of your worst enemies. You need friends who really know you. This goes for both you and your husband.
You are not neglecting your parenting responsibilities by finding time to spend with other grownups who will breathe some strength and encouragement into your tired heart. Neither your husband or your kids can fill every relational need you have and you cannot do that for your husband either.
Look for people with similar hearts. People who’ve been through a few hard things generally have a much deeper understanding of the need for authentic relationships.
It might mean you put the kids to bed by yourself a couple times a month. It might mean you give up a weekend for him to go camping. But you can do it!
- Get counseling.
A professional counselor who gives you an unbiased and wise perspective is so healthy and helpful for your marriage. Every single person I’ve met who has gone through a season of counseling has highly recommended it. I’m recommending it to you today as well.
- Trust God above all else.
Focus on your personal faith growth, specifically in how to trust in God above all else. It is our broken human history to relentlessly seek someone besides God to put our whole trust in. It is easier to trust something we can physically see. There is a word for that: idolatry.
If our life is dependent upon anything or anyone else, we will resort to forms of control and manipulation to attempt to ensure our safety and the safety of those we love. But this isn’t love.
Trusting God above all means that I don’t have to micromanage my husband. I don’t have to live in fear of disappointment or heartache. I also don’t have to numb the feelings and longings of my heart.
Trusting God above all is to live free, knowing that despite hardships there is always hope. We can fully feel both the joys and the heartaches that life brings, knowing we always have a place to land called grace. We can give ourselves to the work of resurrection which is God’s favorite kind of work, where dead things come to life and what seems hopeless can thrive again.
Our world needs marriages that aren’t afraid of the hard work of true intimacy. Among the plentiful empty definitions of love out there, let’s be wives who shine the light of a love that trusts in a culture of distrust.
Wife Step: Pick one action step above and make plans for it this week.
Joy was born and raised in Mexico, but fell in love with a Minnesota guy. More than a decade, many geographical locations, and four kids later, they are currently settled in the city of Minneapolis, MN. Together they love helping couples discover the incredible adventure marriage was intended to be. They have led many marriage small groups, ministries and retreats, but their favorite way to connect with other couples is by simply sharing life together. Although homeschooling, parenting and helping run their vacation rental take up most of her days, Joy is always finding ways to sneak in time for writing, reading, design and coffee with friends. You can find her posting on Instagram @joy.ballard or @theriverlodgemn. Photo credit: Woodford Sisters Photography
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