“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Colossians 2:3-4
Hide it! This was my first instinct. If he found out he would leave me! So I rushed home at lunch every day to check my mailbox. Daily I received a notice from another credit card company. My payments were late. Fees were stacking up. I sunk deeper and deeper into a financial and emotional abyss.
My husband was clueless about my debt, our debt. If I had consulted him, he never would have condoned my spending habits. He is the wise one when it comes to finances.
Soon, it wasn’t just letters in the mail, the phone calls began. How would I explain this? I would either have to tell him the truth or continue to try and hide it. However, hiding was next to impossible.
I wondered things like…if I tell him, will he divorce me? Will he ever trust me again? Things were already bad, would this make them worse? They are just credit cards, right?
Looking back at this time in my life, I have regrets. We pay high interest rates because of my mistakes. But even more, I regret violating my husband’s trust. I created trust issues in our marriage that run deep and have required much time, effort, and grace to mend. What started out as just tiny slices of plastic, ended up creating a gigantic rift in our marriage.
Trust issues in marriage are common. In fact, we all likely have them in one form or another. There are the “big” things that happen to create trust issues such as telling lies, committing adultery, and falling captive to an addiction such as alcohol or pornography. And then the “smaller” things that chip away at trust over time like constantly showing up late, paying more attention to your phone than your spouse, cancelling date night repetitively, and refusing intimacy resulting in your spouse feeling rejected.
Most of us experience some combination of both major and minor trust violating incidents unique to our marriage, resulting in trust gaps, and ultimately feelings of abandonment, anger, and rejection.
So how do we mend trust in a relationship as delicate as a marriage? Especially when you are the offender? A great place to start is looking at Colossians 2:3-4. In these verses, Christ calls us to imitate His humility. To do nothing out of selfishness, but value others above ourselves.
Imagine how your marriage would change if you and your spouse both chose to follow these principles. And even if your spouse is not on board, imagine how your life would change if you decided to consider His needs above your own.
Now I am certainly not asking you to be a doormat, or to endure an abusive situation. What I am condoning is healthy humble behavior. Be cognizant of the words you speak to your spouse. Do not disrespect him verbally and encourage him every chance you get. Choose to consult him regarding the decisions you make, even the small ones. Marriage is a partnership. Let him know that his input is important and valuable. The miracle of humility and respect is that when we present it to others, it tends to come back to us tenfold.
Our marriage is on the mend. I have submitted our finances to my husband, not because he is a dictator or longs to be in control, but because it is healthy and good for me. Just as it is good to submit ourselves to the Lord and His will. I choose to test my actions against Colossians 2:3-4 and make sure in everything I do that I am not looking out for myself, but rather looking out for us and our children. We have a healthy mutual respect for each other that is healing and closing the trust gaps day by day.
Do I still make mistakes? Absolutely! A few short months ago I made a purchase without consulting my husband and I had to confess the truth. However, I have learned that rather than letting these things snowball into boulders, I can deal with them immediately. I ask for forgiveness from the Lord, be honest with my husband, and we both move forward and learn from our mistakes. He does the same with me regarding his trust violating habits. Together we are on a journey. Trust in a marriage is, between a husband and a wife, and between Christ and His church, is a beautiful thing.