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.
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.