Nothing destroys trust quicker than a lie. Trust has the beautiful ability to defeat a multitude of insecurities and doubts. When you trust someone, you feel emotionally safe.
As husbands, it is our duty to constantly be building up walls of trust and security for our wife.
Lies are tied to the hip with secrets, and secrets rot us, and our relationships from the inside out. They are slow burning, but always destructive. When we lie we give someone a false reality to live in. And because the lie is not real, it will always seep to the surface, eventually. We all know this to be true!
Here are three practical steps to stay honest while we continually and intentionally build trust.
Rule #1: The 24hr Rule
This rule boils down to courage. Admitting you have messed up.
Audrey and I made a rule very early in our marriage that we adopted from our premarital counselors. If I looked at porn or let my eyes wander, I had exactly 24 hours to build up enough courage to let her know. We simply call it… “The 24hr Rule”.
I hate this rule… yet wouldn’t have it any other way.
This rule keeps me accountable. Accountable to my wife, accountable to the promise I made her, and accountable to myself. As the leader of our marriage, I am ultimately responsible for the growth of our marriage and when I let even the littlest sinful peek slide. It’s poking a hole in the covenant of our marriage and beginning a dark path of secrets which will eventually rot the whole thing.
It takes immense courage to approach your wife and let her know that you looked at another women. It never goes well. She is hurt by it, I am hurt by it, and God is hurt by it.
The truth is I don’t want to look at other women, but unfortunately it happens. However it doesn’t need to. As men we must get control of our minds. If we cannot control even our own mind, than who is controlling it?
Nothing is more safe than a marriage marked by people who TRUST one another. And it takes time, intentionally devoted time with a focus on the end goal, a safe and strong marriage.
Rule #2: Don’t Downplay
This rule took me a long time to learn. And honestly, I am still learning it.
Sin breaks things, and nothing less. When we downplay our sin we are lying to ourselves about its severity. We make it seem like what we did is less bad than it really is. In the moment this might seem like a good idea to us men, but we all know its easier to clean the shop up after each project instead of waiting until it needs to get cleaned.
When we don’t tell 100% of the truth, we are in less trouble than we should be.
Rule#1 will not matter if Rule#2 is not practiced. It took me a while to really learn the repercussions of downplaying my sin. At first, it seemed like what I was doing was in turn doing Audrey a favor, you know? Being honest, telling her about the incident, but not hurting her too bad… It’s a win/win, isn’t it? I was dead wrong. I was more concerned about her immediate feelings than our longterm health.
Downplaying sin is under-exagerating what needs to be said, while over-exagerating what doesn’t.
When we don’t fully put a fire out, it always comes back.
Let’s be men of courage, courage to tell 100% of the truth.
Rule #3: Reform Routines
Recently I finished the book, Power of Habit – By Charles Duhigg. This book changed my life and it will change yours. The entire book is about why we do what we do and how to change it if we want or need to. It claims that everything we do is a series of habits and the rest of the book proves that claim. Habits are nothing more than a simple cycle.
Part of building trust is identifying bad habits and reforming them.
One day I slipped up, and had to tell Audrey. She cried, then asked me why I kept doing this to her. I couldn’t answer… I didn’t know why I kept on doing it. And I sure didn’t want to. So why wasn’t I changing after I said I would?
“We change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing” – Henry Cloud
The answer was found in this book and finally I understood why I wasn’t changing. I was stuck in a bad habit.
For example, we feel hungry (CUE). We find something to eat, (ROUTINE). And we feel full and satisfied as aresult, (REWARD).
The reward is the reason our minds develop a habit. The CUE never goes away, the routine is WHAT we eat, or how we attain our reward. We need to identify the ROUTINE we use to reach the REWARD, and reform that. The routine is what we choose to do to reach our reward. Wether it be a feeling, or a full stomach.
These are the three useful rules I use to practice honesty and build trust with my wife.
#1. The 24hr Rule
#2. Don’t Downplay
#3. Reform Routines
Start a rhythm of honesty with your wife. One that will eventually blanket your marriage with trust.
Additionally, there needs to be repentance. And repentance means a complete turning from, not just a “i’m sorry.”This repentance needs to be done before your wife and before the Lord. Anything worthy of destroying trust, a clue to marriage, is probably worth completely turning from. Trust gets broken when we hurt them. If your wife is truly your crown, hurting them once should be enough to turn from that habit and STOP. A person can only heal so many times, and if it is constantly over the same thing, then they must question your priorities.
Isn’t Joy Worth The Effort of Trust?
Lets grow into honest men!