Trust

A man sits down at lunch with a friend.  “Last night I found some pretty risque texts on my wife’s phone…from some other guy! I just don’t know what to do!”

A woman finds a secret phone her husband had been hiding. She tells her pastor, “There are images of other women on this thing. Dozens of other women. Naked women.  And I’m pretty sure he didn’t download them online.” Her weeping is uncontrollable.

A man unable to sleep at night gets up and decides to check his email. His wife’s computer is nearby so he grabs it. Soon, a facebook message from one of her old college boyfriend’s pops up: “So excited to see you tomorrow at noon. I’m only in town for one day, so let’s make it count…just like last time.”

A woman is helping her kids with their homework when some inappropriate images suddenly begin appearing on the monitor.  A virus has taken over the computer.  A friend comes over to help her solve the problem, and discovers dozens of porn sites in the computer’s cache.

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While the above stories are mostly fictional, these situations happen.  And they happen every single day. Every. Single. Day.

When a counselor takes the opportunity to discuss these types of situations with couples, it’s important for them to do two different things.  First, they discuss the steps the couple took to get to the situation they’re now in.  Second, in it’s equally important to discuss the steps they need to take to get their marriage back on track.

Today, we’d like to focus on the first set of steps.  The ones the couple took to get to the situation they’re now in.  And in every situation, one commonality reigns true; the marriage did not have trust.  At least one person in the marriage was living a secret life.  They knew what they were doing.  They even knew it was wrong.  But they did it anyway.

But every couple can take preventative steps to ensure that situations such as these won’t happen (or at least, will be much less likely to occur).  If you are not currently following through on the following steps, you should take opportunities prayerfully consider doing so:

Step #1: Give your spouse full access to every account you have. 

Email. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram. Cell Phone….everything.  Your spouse should have the username and password to every single account you use.  Every. Single. Account. Not only that, but they should also be able to pick up your phone at any time and see who you’ve been talking to or texting.  They shouldn’t even have to ask permission.  They should simply have open access.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Some of you think this is going to far.  Some of you think your spouse should just trust you, and you should just trust them.  But there’s a really, really good chance that everybody who is thinking these things has had a friend, family member or colleague get caught in a similar situation.  So trust us, and trust your spouse with your accounts.  All of them.

Want to go one step further?  Use one account for you both.  JohnandJaneDoe@gmail.com has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?  For those who can’t do that due to your career/work email, we suggest the following: Anytime you email somebody of the opposite sex, CC your spouse in the email.  Let them see exactly who you’re communicating with and why.  This kind of trust goes a long, long way in your marriage.

Step #2: Be Open and Honest

This one is a bit more challenging, as you simply have to choose to do it.  You can agree to have one account on Facebook/Pinterest but you have to choose to be open and honest about what you’re doing and who you’re with.

Here’s a personal example. A long time ago, I (Justin) used to work for a child care resource agency.  For the first five years on the job, I was the only male on staff.  The only male.  My career required regular out of town overnight trips with other staff.  Other female staff.  Dozens of them.

What did I do?  I told Megan I would only go to dinner in a large group of people.  I told her who I worked with, which women I trusted, and which women I didn’t.  I told her the steps I took to purposefully avoid the women I didn’t trust.  On occasion, Megan joined me on some overnight trips, and she trusted some of the staff as well, and always encouraged me to spend my time with them when out of town.

While we’re not perfect by any means, we encourage you to follow a similar example.  Your spouse should know who you work with, who your friends are, what their lifestyle is like, why you do/don’t trust them, and so on.  The more they know about who you’re with, the less likely they are to have reason not to trust you.

Challenge for the Week:

Take the opportunity to make some changes to how you’re implementing steps of trust in your marriage.  Begin to give your spouse access to your accounts.  You can even be creative.  For example:

  • Wrap your cell phone up in a box.  Include a note that says, “I want you to always trust me, and you have my permission to look at my phone anytime.”
  • Send a note in your spouse’s lunch, “I love you and I want you to not just know me, but know what I’m up to…anytime.  So here is list of all of my account usernames and passwords.  Check in and ask what I’m up to anytime.”
  • Have a date night and legitimately discuss all of the pros/cons of using the same account for you both.  We’re pretty sure you’ll come up with more pros than cons.

Far too often, trust is assumed in a marriage.  But trust is something that has to be regularly and continually earned.  Take the steps to earn your spouses trust a little bit more each and every day.  Your marriage may just depend on it.

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9 thoughts on “Trust

  1. Such an important subject, Justin and Megan! My husband and I have several boundaries like you’ve mentioned. In fact, he’s one of several pastors at our church and they all have committed to similar guidelines in counseling, traveling, etc. My husband takes his accountability to another level with “Covenant Eyes.” I don’t know you if the two of you are familiar with this app or not. It gives me and my husband’s supervisor a report of all the places he’s visited online, blocking any that are deemed inappropriate. My husband has never had a problem with pornography, but there’s always that temptation out there since the internet has so much accessible porn. Thanks for sounding the alarm on this and challenging us to be vigilant in protecting our marriages!

  2. This is so true, coming from a wife still reeling from the discovery of my husband’s physical affair. This is after last year’s discovery of an emotional/online affair and even counseling for that. He is back in counseling and seems to grasp that there can be no more secrets, but I still wonder if too much damage has been done.
    If anyone is thinking of hiding information from or otherwise deceiving their spouse, please follow the above guidelines. The pain it brings to your spouse is tremendous and may not be overcome.

    • I’m glad you commented on this post too. I have failed my husband MANY times PRIOR to us getting married, but he has still managed to forgive me and has even given loads of trust in me despite my transgressions against him. We are actually closer than I ever dreamed possible.
      I’m not in your shoes, but instead in your husband’s position (well, I was..), but I can testify that if a couple truly wants to overcome this MAJOR issue it can be done with the grace of God. All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. I’ll be praying for your marriage. I hope that your husband and you can find out what is triggering him to do the things he’s doing/done.
      For me, it was because I was so utterly insecure that I was scared enough to ‘run into another’s arms’ because I felt that if I didn’t run first my world would crash down around me and I wasn’t prepared for the pain of ‘being alone.’ I could tell you so much more. However, this is not my blog.
      You’re right, this is VERY valid advise, and advise that all couples should take!

  3. How do handle a situation when you have each others account info but then you find that your spouse secretly has another one. And you find those visa gift cards and reloadable credit cards. This has been in the past but I never got any answers, I have no idea how to trust him again

    • Hi Cara,
      This is a dialog far too in-depth for the brief comments we can provide here. Our recommendation would be that you and your husband take the opportunity to get some regular pastoral or other Christian counseling. Trust may not come immediately, but with good counseling you and your husband can begin to put steps in place that will one day lead you to trusting again. Our prayers are with you in this journey.

      • Thanks, I appreciate the prayers. My husband flat out refuses to go to counseling or talk to anyone. I opened up to our pastor a couple years ago and he found out and he refused to go back to church as a result. I really appreciate any prayers on our behalf and for my husband, I feel like only a miracle can save our marriage with the condition its in

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