Trust in Marriage
I was recently browsing through Living Magazine and stumbled across an article written by Laurie Novick. One of the highlights of the article was a marriage study done with 700 couples, and the discovery found relating to trust.
Dr. Terri Orbuch’s landmark marriage study, which observed more than 700 married individuals for more than a quarter century, has found that trust is the most important glue in marriage. In the study, when the happiest couples were asked to rank 16 common marriage expectations from most to least important-ranging from sharing household chores to meeting each other’s sexual needs – a whopping 92 percent of men and 96 percent of women ranked the following expectation as number one: “You should feel that your spouse would never hurt or deceive you.”
Building trust with anyone, let alone your spouse, is hard work. It requires both quantity and quality of time. And let’s not be deceived, time alone will not be the solve-all in a marriage. I know many couples who live and work together, yet trust still is nowhere to be found in their marriage relationship. I believe that we must be diligent and strategic in our time to build a firm foundation of trust in our marriage.
I wanted to offer practical wisdom today in building strong, healthy marriages. One of the things that my wife, Leslie, and I do several times a week is to set aside time for uninterrupted communication. We have discovered that it is easier for us to do this once we get into bed at night. We start the conversation with simple open ended questions to one another to build safe communication.
Leslie, what was the best thing about your day, and what was the most difficult thing about your day?
Leslie, is there anything in the past few days that I communicated with you in my words, actions or attitude that made you not desire to be closer to me? (With each question, we go deeper into our relationship.)
We usually don’t ask more than two questions to each other. Based on what is shared, we respond to each other with love, compassion, and prayer. This is not a time to fix the problem or issues shared. Men, I hope you are listening when I say this. Don’t try to fix it. This is a time to comfort with touch (not sex) and word of encouragement to each other. When we choose to consistently share about our victories, joys, struggles and frustrations, we open our hearts in vulnerability and trust to our spouses. This also gives each of us the opportunity to invite the Lord, through prayer, into our marriage!
What are you doing to build trust with your spouse?