It takes a lot to build a healthy, biblical marriage. But, what does it mean to build a marriage? When it comes to building, a person does not have to know a lot about it, or even understand all the concepts behind construction, to know the most important aspect. If you want to build a structure that will last, it has to be built on a solid foundation. The only foundation solid enough to build a lasting marriage is Christ. As the old hymn goes, “all other ground is sinking sand.” Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian home. Couples build upon that foundation, and a strong marriage will use the “building blocks” of love, intimacy, communication, respect, and others to erect a beautiful home. In addition to these, one of the most important building blocks in a marriage is TRUST.
When my nephew was two years old, I kept him for the day. To entertain him, I got out a set of wooden blocks. My youngest son would deliberately, slowly, and carefully stack all the blocks. My nephew would then knock them over, laughing the whole time. They did this activity several times throughout the morning. Trust in marriage resembles those blocks. You have to deliberately, slowly, and carefully build with it, but in a matter of seconds it can be destroyed. We have all seen marriages shattered by a loss of trust. To prevent this from happening, it will take both the husband and wife working together.
The Bible paints a lovely picture of the virtuous woman often referred to as The Proverbs 31 Woman. While she can be rather intimidating, she is there for us as an example. In verse 11 we are told that, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” A virtuous wife is the type that exudes trust in the heart of her husband.
Likewise, a husband should lead in a way that builds trust in his wife. This brings to mind the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. Two times Abraham puts his wife in a dangerous situation (Genesis 12, Genesis 20). Because Sarah was such a beautiful woman and Abraham feared that his life would be in danger, when they came into a foreign land he said that Sarah was his sister. This lie caused Sarah to be taken from Abraham. One would think that all trust would be lost in the eyes of Sarah for her husband, but the Bible shows a slight different picture. In dealing with husbands that are disobedient to God, 1 Peter 3:6 gives wives the example of Sarah to follow. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” You see Sarah obeyed Abraham, even when it was fearful to do so and even when he was not so trustworthy. As you read the stories in Genesis you will find that God protected Sarah in her obedience. And…….God dealt with Abraham in his foolishness.
The other day I was talking to a friend about this very issue. I told her, “Be assured, your husband will fail you.” You might ask, why in the world would that thought bring assurance? Let me explain. A healthy expectation in marriage along with the reality that people will fail us, if allowed, will drive us to the truth of God’s unfailing and trustworthy character. I will fail my husband. I have no desire to, but sin at some point will lead to a loss of trust, on some scale, in our marriage. And the truth is that at some point my husband will fail me, because he too is a sinner. It is unhealthy to put all of our faith in our spouse. Only God is perfect. A wife that assumes her husband is and that he will never fail her is mistaken. God alone will never fail us. A husband that places that expectation on his wife will soon be disappointed. This is why we are told,
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” Psalms 188:8.
Do not misunderstand, a husband and wife need to trust each other, but they also need to have a balanced, realistic view of the sin nature we all have. Trust is a key building block in marriage and I would love to say that the blocks never fall. Unfortunately, sin will knock them down from time to time. So what do we do when this happens? Let us remember that when trust is broken a husband and wife need to work together (trusting in God) to pick up the blocks. Then deliberately, slowly, and carefully begin to rebuild their marriage.
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee,” Psalms 56:3.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield to them that put their trust in him,” Proverbs 30:5.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is,” Jeremiah 17:7.