Married and Friends: The Trust Factor IV

28 02 2012

It was Jesus who told us to trust in God and in Him (John 14: 1).  Is it easy to trust God?  Humanly speaking, the first thing we often consider when trusting is if we have experienced failure in some way.  If we find no failure or fault in a relationship, then we trust.  The end result of this type of thinking is that trust can (and will) be broken rather quickly and easily; it only takes one incident of mistrust.  Trust within a marriage relationship is tested quite often.  If there is not a bank load of trust in the relationship, we will come to expect failure which, of course, will reinforce why we should not fully trust another, even God.

Close friends communicate deeply.  Close Christian friends communicate with God: we call it prayer.  Marriages that truly desire to build trust cannot do so through correct behavior, actions or reactions only.  We all fail sometime.  Marriages that meet within the intimacy of prayer, will find a trust that is deeper, less fault-finding and far more grace-filled than those marriages that do not engage in prayer.  Married partners too often move toward a trusted same-sex friend to pray with, thwarting the very design of God for intimacy within the gift of marriage oneness.  Want to build your trust bank?  Start praying together regularly.  (Perhaps you could leave a “reply” with this entry about how you have found prayer building trust in your marriage relationship in order to help others.)

Married and Friends: The Trust Factor III

20 02 2012

The month of February has a wonderful tradition in the middle of it, Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, I thought I would set aside this month for marriage topics, or perhaps more than this month – who knows.

John Gottman of the University of Washington has said, “Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship.”  Good friends are not easy to come by;  really great and close friends are even more difficult to find or maintain.  While there are volumes of books written on romance and sexual issues, finances and budgets, there seems to be too few mentioning friendship and how to maintain it while married.  Is friendship really that far down on the necessities of marriage priorities scale?  I don’t think so.

 In 1977 when Mary and I were married for only two years, we loaded up our moving truck to travel from southern Virginia to northern Pennsylvania.  We were going to begin a faith-based ministry to teenagers.  It was during those eight years of service that we became best friends.  Everyday life depended on the two of us walking together in unity, in faith and prayerful agreement.  We could not afford to fight each other as the spiritual atmosphere we lived in on a daily basis was enough to fight through.  We found emotional closeness, we found spiritual oneness and we found advocacy within the arms of one another.  Being friends caused our home to be more welcoming and friendly.  What else did we discover in those years to build a friendship relationship?

Time off and being away together

Laughing together

Talking, sharing, relating, praying (simply being nice to one another)

Protecting one another

Becoming consistently loyal to one another (one heart)

Refusing to put ourselves or our spouse down (we are one)

Believing the best in one another (good will)

Defending one another

Building Christ in one another (Colossians 1:28)

Praising in public; confronting in private

Smiling at one another for no particular reason

Kissing and saying “I love you” in different ways daily

Holding hands, always holding hands


Married and Friends: The Trust Factor II

13 02 2012

The month of February has a wonderful tradition in the middle of it, Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, I thought I would set aside this month for marriage topics, or perhaps more than this month – who knows.

We have often heard that trust is built on a very thin thread.  Because relationships are the most important thing in life, trust becomes a key ingredient.  Without trust, a relationship can only go so far.  The relationship will have a very clear line of demarcation that says, “This is as far as we go until there is a deeper level of trust.”  Whether it is a work relationship, a marriage relationship or a local church relationship, building trust takes time.  When trust is broken, especially by those who we love, the hurt is deeper and taken more personally.  The fact remains, the less I have invested in a relationship, the less the hurt.

“But I thought I could trust you…” are words none of us ever desire to hear.  It means someone feels that we have failed them.  The trust factor, when connected to love in a relationship that we have spent hours or perhaps years investing in, is a huge ingredient in the future of the relationship.  In other words, sow seeds of trusting and being trustworthy today and you’ll reap the harvest of a deeper relationship tomorrow.  Said another way, if mistrust is felt or expressed today, perhaps we need to take a closer look at yesterday.

For example, if every time you go shopping you spend more money than what you and your spouse agreed upon, trust erodes with each incident.  As we recognize our weaknesses through the mistakes we make and take responsibility for them with accountability, the trust level can be rebuilt.  Like a broken bone in our body, it takes a significant time to heal.  But once it does, medical science tells us that the bone will not break there again as it welds itself back into place.

Married and Friends: The Trust Factor

6 02 2012

The month of February has a wonderful tradition in the middle of it, Valentine’s Day.  With that in mind, I thought I would set aside this month for marriage topics, or perhaps more than this month – who knows. 

Mary, my dear wife of almost 37 years, (As a customs agent once told us when we were attempting to return to the USA, “Wow, you guys are REALLY married.”) and I had been driving through the night after I worked a long evening shift.  We traveled most of the way on four-lane divided highways and then found a brand new “expressway” en route to the eastern shore, our destination.  Assuming all expressways are four lanes of divided traffic, I headed east casually attempting to pass the car in front of me when suddenly realizing we had headlights aiming straight for us.  Wondering out loud what this idiot driver was doing, I quickly merged back into the right hand lane.

Now I couldn’t just run anyone off the road, in my late night stupor, I ran a Maryland state patrolmen off the road (literally).  With lights flashing we pulled over only to have a two foot long and very bright flashlight pointed in my wife’s direction.  I will never forget the troopers first words, “Ma’am, do you trust driving with this… (uncomfortable pause here)…man?”

What would my new bride of one year say in answer to this question?  He might as well have been asking, “Ma’am, do you trust anything this moron does or says?”  We were newlyweds, still adjusting, still learning the idiosyncrasies of each other and establishing our trust levels.  The question this intimidating officer of the law imposed was deeper than my driving skills.  What would she say?  How would she respond as I sat in my car shaking with fear?  Mary looked at me, then looked at him and said, “Yes sir, I do.”  “Get out of the car!” were his first words to me.

After walking the white line, touching my finger to my nose with my eyes closed hearing this man’s angry words over and over, sitting in the back seat of his well equipped cruiser and a hefty ticket forthcoming, I was a happy, happy man.  My wife, my best friend said she trusted me even after almost killing her in a head on collision.

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