Do you want a strong, lasting marriage? A marriage that fills you and your spouse with joy until “death do us part?” Do you want a marriage that will inspire your children to “never settle for less” in their own marriage? A marriage that leaves a legacy of hope and teaches positive boundaries that will promote true marital bliss in your children’s lives and marriage? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you can begin to create that kind of marriage now. It begins with your leadership in the building of trust!
Establishing a high degree of trust in your marriage produces amazing dividends. Communication goes more smoothly as mutual trust removes the need to listen for ulterior motives and defend “myself.” Overall interactions become more open, relaxed, and enjoyable when they occur within the context of trust. Couples find their decisions more mutually satisfying when they trust their spouse to have the best interest of their relationship at heart.
Take away trust and, in the words of Stephen Covey, you replace those dividends with a tax. With a lack of trust, communication becomes taxed with lengthy, defensive explanations. Interactions pay the tax of constant vigilance against ulterior motives and fear of being used for someone else’s selfish desires. Decisions become bogged down with arguments about “my” needs since I don’t trust my spouse to care about those needs. Mistrust carries heavy duties: fear, defensiveness, constant vigilance, and an emphasis on my needs that ultimately results in isolation. So, what can you do to build marital trust? I’m glad you asked…
1. A leader in trust will strive to become a person of trust. A person of trust leads by example. He remains open and transparent about his needs, emotions, and desires. Doing so informs his family that he trusts them with his innermost self. A leader in trust will also remain true to his word. His wife and his family know that his word is “as good as gold” and completely trustworthy!
2. A leader in trust accepts responsibility for his personal growth. He actively confronts his shortcomings and works to change them for the better. He will make mistakes; but, he admits those mistakes, seeks forgiveness, and works to become more mature in character, speech, and behavior.
3. A leader in trust strives to maximize his wife’s emotional comfort and relational security. He speaks highly of his wife to others. His words and actions build his wife up, secure her emotional comfort, and strengthen her relational security. He also remains aware of her sensitivities. As a result, he avoids pushing her buttons and approaches sensitive areas with care and respect. When he unintentionally hurts her (and he will), he quickly admits his wrong and makes amends.
4. A leader in trust will capitalize on everyday interactions to stay “in tune” with his wife. He will prove faithful in his presence and availability. As a result, he and his wife will enjoy times of adventure, play, and rest. To lead in trust demands intense, constant, and careful listening as his wife expresses her needs and concerns. It means listening wisely and patiently to discern whether to step in and meet the need expressed or to simply support his wife through the need. The husband who listens well will have a finger on his wife’s pulse and share a wonderful journey with her.
5. A leader in trust will show respect to his wife and others. He will avoid making negative comparisons or left-handed compliments. Rather than erecting subtle performance standards and judgments, he will offer unconditional acceptance. He will clarify realistic expectations while confirming the grace of unconditional acceptance even in the midst of misunderstanding, disagreement, or conflict.
6. A leader in trust will focus on, and cherish, his partner’s positive qualities on a daily basis. He will open his eyes to those qualities he admires in his wife, acknowledge them openly, and speak of them often. He will also believe in her desire for him, trusting that she has the best interest of him, their relationship and their family in mind.
Men, you are called to lead your spouse in establishing these 6 pillars of trust in your marriage. You become the first to practice them. You lead the way…your wife and family will follow. I know, it sounds like a big job…and it is; but, the dividends are priceless!