Throughout the course of any relationship, a couple encounters growing pains. While this is normal, sometimes difficult challenges arise and trust is lost. Infidelity, substance abuse, and financial secrecy are the top three on the list. But let’s call it what it is: the root sin in all these instances is lying.
- Infidelity, secret texts, emails, meetings
- Secret drug usage
- Hidden charge card spending
These situations contribute to secrecy, and secrecy is built on a foundation of lies.
While women are fully capable of this, today our subject focuses mainly on how women can come to trust men again – and when they shouldn’t.
I received an email the other day that went something like this:
“I just caught him in another lie – how can I trust him again? How can I save my marriage when I don’t know when to believe him?”
This is hard! Even the healthiest of relationships endure conflict. This much I know - having been married nearly 32 years. And this is also why women are plagued with the issue of how to trust again. Let me walk you through the best way to do this – as well as when you shouldn’t trust him.
1. Go to the Source.
Have you ever noticed the things in life that count the most don’t come with a manual? Kids don’t, nor does marriage. Life has no manual, and there’s a reason for that – God designed it so that we would depend on Him for answers. And not only for answers, but by forging a relationship with Him, we would grow to trust and depend on His wisdom.
This wisdom is given daily, and we must ask daily. The best way to do this is through prayer and Bible study. How can we know the Source if we don’t read His love letter? When we make time with God a priority, we receive liberal wisdom!
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
2. Receive wise counsel.
Notice this doesn’t come first because our ultimate trust should lie in God and His wisdom. But there is a place for wise counsel when life gets messy and we can’t think straight. Seek godly counseling or a trusted mentor who’s seasoned in relationship conflict.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NKJV)
3. Consider your safety.
Are you putting yourself or others in harm’s way by staying in the relationship? If drug abuse, alcoholism, physical, or verbal abuse is the culprit, protect yourself and your family. Seek help - don’t remain in a dangerous environment. To do nothing is to keep silent about injustice. Yes, we must trust God to work in our men’s lives, but we have a responsibility before God to act.
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17 ESV)
4. Create healthy boundaries.
Christ drew healthy boundaries. Remember when He drove the money changers out of the temple? Remember His rebukes to the Pharisees for living closet lives - yet creating unattainable stipulations? Christ’s love in action is based on God’s truth in action. Please know that if you are married, I do not believe God wants your marriage to end. He hates divorce. But He also sets forth particular guidelines in His Word concerning healthy boundaries.
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 NKJV)
5. Insist on accountability.
When my reader emailed for counsel, I asked a key question: is he willing to be accountable to you and to others? If not, that’s a red flag.
Lies of secrecy are built on unaccountability. I know this firsthand from my own sinful tendencies. But I also learned it from observation.
A highly respected citizen in our small town was known for her work and service. But what others didn’t know (and the family did) is that she was a sociopath.
A sociopath is one who lies so much they believe their own lies - they almost can’t help lying. Others eventually catch them in deceit. Sociopaths are not known for accountability.
If you are in a relationship with a sociopath, get out and get help. He will never recognize truth until he’s committed to accountability.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17 NKJV)
Building Back the Relationship
Now that we’ve covered the reasons why you shouldn’t trust, let’s pivot, because with God’s help, you can truly mend your relationship!
- Ask for counseling or mentorship by a seasoned couple.
- Speak his love language.
- Give up your agenda.
- Find things you both enjoy doing as a couple.
- Commit your relationship to God.
I believe your man can be trusted again IF he commits to accountability to you AND at least one other person (NOT a female)! This will take humility on both your parts.
A word to married couples - marital intimacy should remain a priority, there is no way around it (yes – even when we’re tired). If he doesn’t want intimacy, that’s a red flag – make time to sit down and discuss the topic openly.
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4 AMP)
Read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, or figure out what he loves most. My husband loves to be with me, touching, talking, holding hands; I love my space (proving the age-old theory of opposite attraction), and so, we defer to one another.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10 ESV)
If you are married or engaged, your relationship should be top priority. If you truly want it to work, relinquish your agenda. Whatever it is that takes you away from him, learn to defer and compromise. It can go a long way toward mending those fences.
Discuss activities you could do together - even simple things such as hiking, walking, or puzzles. My husband and I love camping (or should I say, glamping) and in recent years, we’ve picked up a renewed spark by doing this together.
Finally, know that God is FOR your marriage. He isn’t for divorce, that was never His perfect plan.
Our highest praise to God is shown by humbling ourselves to His will. Pray daily – not just throughout the day, but in concentrated amounts of prayer! Prayer REALLY does change things – and not just others, but ourselves, as we wait expectantly before Him.
A.W. Tozer once said, “God is not like anything you know,” meaning we must not limit His power.
He is the God of the impossible. He said it to Mary when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and again when teaching the disciples on eternal life (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26). He can heal your relationship too, and you can learn to trust again. Know that it will be difficult. Know that it will be painful. Know that it will take time.
But a mended relationship, built on trust, is sweeter than ever, having weathered hardships and come out on the other side.
Ruthie Gray is a wife, Gigi, and recent empty nester. Still in awe of managing to rear four individuals to adulthood, she loves encouraging moms that they too can do this motherhood gig. Ruthie mentors moms to capture joy using humor, advice, and practical application of the Word at Ruthie Gray.Mom. Her hobbies include consuming mass quantities of coffee, RV-ing with hubby, and eating coconut oil straight from the jar (to counteract wrinkles and middle-age-muffin top.) Connect with Ruthie on Instagram because that’s the playground where she spends most of her days.
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