The concept of trust in relationships and marriage is a funny thing, because whether we say “I trust [insert person here]” is so dependent on whatever we are trusting that person to do.
I trust my mom. I trust her as much or more than anyone I’ve ever known.
But I don’t trust my mom to safely fly and land a helicopter, or perform LASIK eye surgery, or draw up blueprints for a natural gas-fired power plant.
We hear or read the word “trust,” and it means to us whatever it means. But, word to the wise: Maybe it means something else to the people you love.
Men Vs. Women on Trust in Marriage
I’m going to venture bravely into a little Mars/Venus territory, while reminding everyone who gets heartburn over this that I’m NOT saying these things are INHERENTLY true to men and women. I’m saying when you observe men and women, you can observe them to be GENERALLY true.
Growing up, then dating, then being married, I perceived conversations regarding the word “Trust” in relationships to revolve around sexual faithfulness, around physical safety, around financial responsibility RE: reliable employment, around abandonment, and around criminal behavior.
A man who will not cheat on his wife; nor physically strike her; and who will always go work and provide financially for shelter, food, healthcare, etc.; who will never abandon her now or with children, and who can be trusted to not engage in criminal behavior that might lead to incarceration or bringing danger to the family from other criminals, always seemed to me like a guy you could trust.
Thus, I thought my wife could trust me.
But then, I learned the hard way that my wife could NOT trust me, and it was because of a bunch of things I didn’t know could make a person feel unsafe.
When she didn’t feel heard, when she didn’t feel paid-attention-to, when she didn’t feel desired, and when she didn’t feel respected because of behaviors I thought I was entitled to, and that I thought she sucked for getting upset about, she eventually stopped TRUSTING me.
She couldn’t trust me to care about her, because she didn’t feel cared for.
Me saying I cared, or me telling her that my actions indicated I did care despite her “crazy emo-girl feelings” DID NOT solve the problem.
My actions bred mistrust. She told me so. And then I basically told her she was wrong, adding yet ANOTHER incident to her See? I Can’t Trust Him pile.
I think maybe I’m not the only guy to do this.
The excellent people at The Good Men Project ran one of my posts about this trust conversation (which originally ran as Vol. 10 in the An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands series), and then marriage counselor, coach and author Lesli Doares read it at GMP.
Afterward, she reached out to see if I would join her Happily Ever After is Just the Beginning! radio-show podcast to discuss it, and I agreed.
This is the second time Lesli has graciously invited me on her show (you can listen to the first interview here, if you want).
Thanks again, Lesli!