Trust and betrayal are among the most important topics couples will face. Can you trust one another to… listen well, be supportive, handle your heart and vulnerability with care, remain faithful, love your children well, and help around the house (to name a few)? In this episode we start our series on trust, exploring what “Cruciform trust” looks like and why some versions of trust in marriage actually aren’t biblical… you’ll have to listen to get the full explanation! We hope it blesses you.
Read the Full Transcript Read the Shownotes
Scripture, Show Notes, and Resources Mentioned
- Scripture references:
- 1 Corinthians 13
- Scripture references:
- Scripture references:
- 2 Kings 18
- Scripture references:
- Scripture references:
- Jeremiah 17:7
- Jeremiah 7:8
- Isaiah 36:15
- Matthew 27:43
- Luke 11:22
- Philippians 2:24
- Hebrews 2:13
- Scripture references:
Full Episode Transcript
Ryan: The number one most important issue, apparently, according to John Gottman’s research that he did among couples was trust and betrayal. So he wrote an article actually for UC Berkeley. They have an online magazine called Greater Good. He wrote an article, he said, “I started to see their conflicts like a fan opening up, and every region of the fan was a different area of trust. Can I trust you to be there and listen to me when I’m upset? Can I trust you to choose me over your mother, over your friends? Can I trust you to work for our family? To not take drugs? Can I trust you to not cheat on me and be sexually faithful? Can I trust you to respect me? To help with things in the house? To really be involved with our children? Trust is one of the most commonly used words in the English language—it’s number 949.” Very common. The article goes on.
The point is we’re talking all about trust and betrayal and trustworthiness. And from a Christian perspective, and I think in terms of marriage, it’s really important that we view trust correctly. I think so often we can miss trust. Our spouses are almost too far. Right? Does that make sense?
Ryan: So we’re going to talk today… this is actually we’re going to open up the conversation to the next few weeks. We’re going to be talking through this theme of trust over the next four weeks. Namely, what does it look like in the life of a Christian married couple to trust one another? Is trusting your spouse even a biblical thing?
Ryan: Whoa. So we’re asking that question. We’re hopefully going to answer it faithfully. We’re thankful that you’re joining us and we’ll see you on the other side.
Selena: Welcome to the Fierce Marriage podcast where we believe that marriage takes a fierce tenacity that never gives up and refuses to give in.
Ryan: Here, we’ll share openly and honestly about all things marriage—
Ryan: And everything in between.
Selena: Laugh, ponder, and join in our candid, gospel-centered conversations. This is Fierce Marriage.
[00:02:05] <podcast begins>
Selena: We just finished a whole series on boundaries.
Selena: Boundaries, boundaries. We had a longer episode that we just finished with some Q&A, and there’s some good questions on there. So if you haven’t heard that series yet, go back and check it out, start at the beginning. Some really interesting conversations there about in-laws, about intimacy, about tech use, about friends of the opposite sex. Lots of good conversation there. But most importantly, we talk about it from a biblical perspective, gospel centered, showing us back to Christ in these problematic areas, and how we even go through the action of setting a boundary is important.
Ryan: Similar to what we did in that last series, we talked about boundaries, we’re going to open it up to questions at the end of this series as well. So we’re going to be gathering, compiling, kind of cataloging all the questions that come through regarding trust, namely, trust, trustworthiness, betrayal. And not just betrayal in terms of having an affair, emotional, physical, affair, but any sort of breached trust
Selena: Or falling short of. Like all those questions that you were kind of going through at the beginning. Like can I trust you to do this and then you don’t? So maybe not necessarily betrayal, but you just didn’t fulfill that action that you said you were going to do. Is that betrayal or is that…? [chuckles]
Ryan: In a sense it is. Can I trust you to be who…
Selena: Can I rely on you?
Ryan: …I believe you to be, who you lead me to believe you to be? Can I trust that? Anyway, if you have any questions around this, text into this number, 971-333-1120 with your clear, concise questions. And what we’ll do is we’re going to be compiling those. Feel free to include a name or not. We will say names that are included when we reference those questions so you know your question came up. But we hope to address those questions at the end of the series. And that’ll be a lot of fun. Or it’ll be challenging. We’ll see. [Selena chuckles]
Trust is a touchy topic. It’s really important, though. And I think as we’ll discover today, by looking at it cruciformly, like cruciform trust, I think we can better route ourselves in the true, underlying kind of eternal nature of who God is and how He’s wired us, how He’s instructed us, and how He’s built the covenant of marriage to allow for human flourishing. Misplaced trust can be damaging. We need to place our trust correctly, but also place it intentionally and trust it. [both chuckles] So we’re going to talk through that.
Before we do that, if you haven’t yet, please do leave a rating and review in your podcast app, whichever one you use. Those are so helpful, so meaningful. They help us, they help future listeners. So thank you. If you haven’t done it, please take 15 seconds out of your day. It would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if you feel led, Selena and I have been at this podcasting thing for I think we’re going on… this is the fourth year. Maybe the fourth year. I don’t remember. We started this podcast on a whim as we got ready to launch our book Fierce Marriage [00:05:00] back in 2018, I believe. I don’t remember when that book launched. The point is we started it thinking, “Let’s just do it as a kind of a marketing thing and we’ll just kind of ramp-up to the book release. And then once it’s released, we’ll just let our peter out and that’ll be that.”
Well, what happened was we found out this is a medium that people were really kind of latching on to at that point. And we loved doing it because it’s basically to hang out and have conversations together. It’s a lot kind of more we can get it done quickly, and it’s helpful.
Anyway, it’s grown into this ministry that is Fierce Marriage. We’re primarily supported… Well, two ways. By selling books that we write, but also by our patrons on patreon.com/fiercemarriage. You’ll notice there’s not a lot of ads on here, spoken or otherwise. That’s because we want to keep it clutter-free. So if you want to…
Selena: Well, except for my sauce. [laughs]
Ryan: Selena’s special sauce, ladies and gentlemen. [Selena laughs] That’s our third income stream.
Selena: That’s our ad. We only have ads.
Ryan: But it’s also our product. [Selena laughs] Selena’s special sauce, salty and sweet. Oh, what a treat! If you want to try it, stop by your neighborhood Kroger. [both laughs] Just ask them for it. Don’t worry about it. Whoever you see there, customers, workers, ask them, “Hey, hey, do you have Selena’s special sauce?” [Selena laughs] And they will look at you like, “Yes” or “Who are you? Who the heck do you think you are?” Anyway.
So if you want to be part of the Patreon community, just go to patreon.com/fiercemarriage. There’s links in the show notes. Otherwise, patreon.com/fiercemarriage. Finally, we go deep on these topics in the podcast so that we can kind of learn and then we apply it many times to what we call mini-courses in our online learning platform. It’s a growing library of mini-courses, including our core marriage curriculum, which is six weeks long. That’s at gospelcenteredmarriage.com. You can go there and sign up for the price of one’s fancy frangioni a month. [both chuckles]
Selena: He’s the marketing guy. I tried to do that and I butchered it so badly. I’m the last one. He’s just sitting over there cringing, shaking his head looking down at the desk, [laughing] like, “What is she saying?”
Ryan: Although, our listeners are probably like, “Oh, this is so refreshing. I’m not getting Ryan’s used car salesmen pitch here.”
Selena: No. But I’m sending them to places that probably don’t exist and I’m giving them a terrible understanding of what’s actually available. So not helpful. [chuckles]
Ryan: You know what, folks? If you want to go to gospelcenteredmarriage.com.
Selena: There you go. There you go.
Ryan: You can learn everything there is to learn about this amazing, earth-shattering, groundbreaking technology that we’ve developed…
Selena: ..quickly hit the 15-second.
Ryan: …the Christian Gospel Centered marriage. You’ll connect there.
Selena: You know how much listeners love to hear us talk over each other.
Ryan: They love it. Full disclosure, we just had a fancy Mexican lunch [laughing] and I am feeling sleepy.
Selena: Why do you do this? Why do have to share everything? It’s like the classic overshare sometimes.
Ryan: It’s my disclaimer. That way people are like yeah, “Ryan was kind of off,” and they’ll know it was the burrito.
Selena: Are you afraid to be…?
Ryan: It was the burrito.
Selena: Are you afraid of caught being off?
Ryan: You know what, Selena, blame it on the burrito. [Selena laughs] [Ryan chuckles]
Selena: Oh, my goodness.
Ryan: Some refried beans.
Selena: Okay. If you’re still with us, thank you. [chuckles] Today, we are beginning our series around trust, this idea of trust, what it means, defining it from a biblical perspective. What do we do with broken trust? The next couple of weeks we’ll talk about that, how to repair it, how to maintain it, do some Q&A around that which we have given you guys information about to ask those questions. So let’s dive into this conversation around trust.
Ryan, you and I were just talking about it and I was like, “Well, what about trust can we talk about for four weeks or whatever? Because it feels like it’s kind of ambiguous.” I mean, as human beings, we all expect to be able to trust one another to some degree. I trust that gravity exists—if I throw something up, it’s going to fall down. I trust that if I had Mexican food [Ryan chuckles] today that they did not spit in the food that I ate. So there’s some different types of trust.
But more than that, I think within our marriage, which you and I came to kind of discover, is that the problems sort of exist around the areas where trust is broken and misplaced. So if I start putting my trust in you in ways that I was never called to put my trust in to you, then there’s going to be some breakdown. So what do we mean by that? Let’s define trust and then we’ll talk about this cruciform trust that you came up with.
Ryan: Yeah. And that’s something that we, in our own kicking this idea around, is we’re thinking through this idea of trust and where biblically should we land on this. [00:10:00] We all know the famous verse, right? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, He will make your paths straight.” That is a very Christian idea, of course, because we stake our entire eternity and our life in this life on the trustworthiness of God.
So it begs the question of what is trust in terms of trustworthiness? We can put our full trust in God because He is fully trustworthy. That is the cornerstone of this whole conversation. And that’s where the cruciform piece comes in. Cruciform means cross-shaped. And so when you think cross shaped, the up and down, that’s the unshakable, the vertical trust in God that is unshakable. Yet he’s called us in a way, either implicitly, in some cases, explicitly, I’m not sure, to trust others.
In 1 Corinthians 13, love hopes all things. That’s another way of saying love trusts in the best in others. There’s a few other places that we’re going to get into as this series unfolds over the next three weeks. But we have to be really careful not to put the vertical trust that only belongs in God and each other. The horizontal trust belongs in our interpersonal relationships, our spouse, our siblings, our parents. There’s a very tangible trust that happens there. I trust that you will listen to me when I asked you to. I trust that you’re not going to go spend money without telling me about it and I’m going to find out a year from now of our $10,000.
Selena: Or we’re asking those questions like we opened up with, like, can I trust you to not cheat on me? Can I trust you to respect me if I share something and I’m vulnerable with you? These are all questions of trust within marriage. I think it’s more unique the trust that is built between a wife and a husband versus a friend and a friend. There’s just different levels. And even there’s trust with acquaintances or people we don’t know, strangers, bus drivers, or whatever. There’s different levels of trust that require different behaviors.
However, our vertical trust in God is the only one where we can take our identity and it’s our trust in Him for our eternity, our trust in Him for our sanctification, for our value, for our joy, for our peace, for our ability to be steadfast, for discernment, for all of those big things. So, where does the conflict lie? When I’m looking to you, Ryan, if I’m looking to you, I’m trying to trust you in the things that I should be trusting God? And what would be an example of that?
Ryan: Well, I mean, anytime you think in terms of your identity or your security in this life and the next, if you’re putting your ultimate… and there’s degrees here, right?
Ryan: As your husband, you do trust me for your security. You trust that I’m going to do what I say I’m going to do.
Selena: Protect us, provide.
Ryan: I’m going to protect, I’m going to provide, I’m going to look out for you, I’m going to think of you before I think of just myself.
Selena: And we’ve built trust together in our integrity, right? Your integrity and…
Ryan: And that is a function of trustworthiness that is fallible, but it’s solid because we’ve built it. But where that goes awry is if when I do fail… now, God willing, I won’t fail in my kind of catastrophic ways. I fail in small ways regularly. Just last night I was supposed to order DoorDash because we had a really busy day, and I had a late…
Selena: Because we don’t eat out all the time. It sounds terrible. It’s like, “Oh, we just had lunch today,” and then “Oh, we had DoorDash last night.”
Ryan: Well, just living on high on the hog.
Selena: They know it’s been just craziness for the last few weeks.
Ryan: Mexican is great because you stretch it over like three or four meals. They give you so much food. But the point is I was supposed to order last night and I totally failed. You had trusted me to do that and then it was like six o’clock and…
Selena: Kids are like, “We’re hungry.”
Ryan: …Clementine comes and we’re having a Zoom meeting, and she comes in interrupts it, “When’s food going to be here?” And my stomach dropped, “Oh, no.” And I had to get on there. I’m like, “Guys, I screwed up. I was supposed to order food, I failed. I got to do it right now.” That’s kind of a fun trivial trust breach. Like we’re not going to starve because of that. The food came a little later. The point is if at any point you put your sense of trust that only belongs in God you put place it in me or any other human being, you’re setting yourself up for a hope lost or trust being broken.
Selena: And I think the consistency of lower levels of trust being broken, like say I consistently asked you to do something and you don’t or, I consistently I’m depending on you to pick up the kids from school and you forget, I think the breakdown in trust just looks different. [00:15:00] But either way, it’s a brokenness of trust. If it’s at a big level, a big catastrophic, or a fair level, or if it’s just day to day, it’s not quite as escalated, I think it just chips away at the unity of our marriage, it chips away at the security of our covenant. Our trust kind of gets shaken.
And I honestly think that it can be a place where the enemy can get a foothold. Because when I’m questioning you and I, when I’m questioning the trust… and you and I kind of disagreed on this a little bit, I think. But if things are not going well between you and I, I tend to go back to God’s word and try to find encouragement and trust in there. But if I’m not rooted in Christ, say, for example, I’m a believer, but I’m putting my trust in you in the wrong reason and the wrong weight of things that I should be, then I start questioning God. Well, again, if I’m not rooted in the Bible and rooted in the things of God, I start questioning my covenant, I start questioning, “Did I marry the right guy.” Or I start listening to conversations that would break down that trust.
Ryan: We had that conversation. And then as the conversation unfolded, you realized that probably may be true on the surface level if you have a very shallow or miss… Again, you’re attributing things to God that He never promised. Are you then not trusting God? I would argue that no, you’ve placed your trust in a false version of Him. And if you want to use a strong word, the word is idolatry. If you think about any sort of idolatry that happens in the Old Testament, they’re trusting in a God that can’t do what the God of Israel can do.
And you just see, Elijah (or Elijah. One of the two), who basically proved God’s power in front of the prophets of Baal. That he was dripping with sarcasm in that moment, I think it was like 1 Kings 15 or something like that, maybe 1 King 17. In that vicinity, that exchange happened. I think of… It was I think at Psalm… I’m going to get it wrong. In the hundreds of the Psalms, I’m going to say Psalm 115. I’m just going to throw it out there. I may be wrong. [Selena laughs]. It says, “People become like the idols they worship, they’re lifeless. deaf, speechless, blind, and dead. So when you lay that before me and say, “I start to question God, because my husband failed me,” well, then I’m here to tell you that you’ve trusted in the wrong God.
Selena: Right. Right.
Ryan: Because God never promised your husband wouldn’t fail. He never promised it. He ever promised that your marriage will be perfect because you conformed it to the covenant.
Selena: Or that you would fulfill, as a wife, everything that your husband desires, right?
Selena: You’re going to…
Ryan: I know we’ve defined it generally but I want to just really pin down a really clear definition of trust in terms of English but also its usage in Scripture. This will give us an idea of what it is. I think we intuitively know what it is, but it’s helpful to put words to it. So here’s the definition from the dictionary. It’s a shared reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something for one in which confidence is placed. The second definition is dependence on something future or contingent. A synonym would be hope.
So it’s this connection between what is and what should be. Trust is the bridge that connects what is and what should be. And that’s such an apt analogy. Because you think of anytime you step on a bridge. What are you doing? You’re trusting that bridge to get you there…
Selena: Oh, boy.
Ryan: …to not fall through. And to carry the analogy further, like placing my trust in my wife is like stepping out onto a bridge that’s rotten. Not because my wife’s rotten but because she’s not meant to be…
Selena: To bear that weight.
Ryan: To bear that weight. But God can bear it. Now, looking in the Bible, there are lots of Hebrew words for trust. I’m not going to go through the actual Hebrew words, but I do want to look at the nuances between them. You could do in-depth word study, but here’s the first words. The most common occurrence in the Hebrew on the Old Testament is trust… What’s the word itself? Let me see here. It is B-T-H. I don’t know how to say it. Bth. Trust: to be confident, unsuspecting, to cause to rely, inspire confidence. That’s B-T-H. And there’s verses that appeared in Deuteronomy 28.
Selena: Judges a lot through Kings and Chronicles. It’s interesting. It’s a theme of that trust in the Old Testament.
Ryan: I’d be curious to see these in the various context. We don’t have [00:20:00] time for it here today, but in 2 Kings 18, “He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.” It’s almost like this correlation between trusting God and righteousness or might in the Old Testament.
Selena: Oh, for sure. For sure. They start out each king trusted God and was obedient to Him or he did what was evil in sight of the Lord. Either way, it was God. You either trusted and obeyed or you did what was evil. And that was how they were written down in the Chronicles basically and Kings.
Ryan: Man, that’s profound for looking at the implications of understanding who God is and His place in humanity, His place in creation as creator, not just part of creation, but the one who initiated it, the one who sustains it. There’s a sobering calibration that happens there when you say to God, “You are God, I am not.” If you say that and believe it, you will want to trust and obey Him.
Ryan: You’re not going to go your own way because you’re going to want His way, that in the Old Testament is attributed to them as righteousness. We see that in Abraham. He trusted God, he had faith in God is attributed to him as righteousness. Now, there’s lots of other examples.
Selena: Just real quick, because you just said trust and obedience, and then trust and faith. So we’re bringing to the conversation these words of obedience and faith, and I would also throw out there love, which we can maybe kind of segue into after we talk about faith and obedience. Because trust and faith are not the same. Trust requires faith. Faith is a gift of God. Trust and obedience, we have to trust God in our obedience. But we have to also obey Him and trust Him. Maybe I’m not saying that’s clearly as it’s in my head
Ryan: I mean, there’s some semantics to pick through here. And I haven’t done the full kind of what’s the difference between faith and trust. I think faith has a salvific component to it. It’s the saving. So, in that sense, and of course, you could fall on either side of the kind of Armenian debate of this or the reformed Calvinian debate of this, which is basically, do we enact faith, do we somehow have faith, or is God gifted to us? We tend to fall on the side of faith is a gift of God given to us and therefore my salvation is contingent on His granting it and giving me the faith to believe. So trust is a little bit different in that I can trust God. Like, for instance, Jesus says, “Even the demons believe in me and shutter.” Right?
Ryan: Or is that James? I forget who said that. The point is, is that even demons trust the character of God. They trust that God’s holy. They trust that His wrath is real. They trust that His holiness is real, that His justice is real, and it will enact the decree of God. To me trust is aside from this saving, the salvific component of faith. But that’s just me shooting from the hip. I’ve not done the full word study on that. But I find that interesting. Do you want me to go through the rest of the Greek…? Because there’s only one Greek word.
Ryan: I mean, trust is everywhere in the Old Testament, but you’ll see it mostly with regard to trusting in truth, trusting in God, trusting in a lie. Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man whose trust is in the Lord.” Yeah, it’s two things. “Who trust”, that’s a verb. “Whose trust”, noun. So I have trust to give but I also trust as an action. So I make a decision to place value in something over my own.. “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.” That’s Jeremiah 7:8. I’m just going through and picking a few out here. There’s so many of these. Isaiah 36:15, “Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’” Let’s see.
Go to Hosea. “You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors…” So you see the connection between the blessing and the curse of God based on where the trust is placed. That’s the Old Testament.
Selena: Oh, yeah. Yes.
Ryan: That’s Old Testament. There’s a few other definitions here, but they’re all pretty much the same. But to be confident in unsuspecting of, to cause, to rely, to inspire confidence, to prove to be firm, reliable, faithful, permanent belief. Think confidence. That’s the Old Testament view of trust.
In the New Testament, you have one as far as I can see here. And that’s to persuade, to convince. Matthew 27:43, “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, [00:25:00] if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” That’s Jesus speaking I believe. Luke 11, “…but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.” Philippians 2:24, “…and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.” Again placing trust in God. Hebrews 2:13, “And again, ‘I will put my trust in him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children God has given me.’”
Selena: I do want to I guess recant some words real quick between faith and trust. Because although they are different, they’re not that different. I think I was saying it in a way that they’re very different, but they’re not. The differences are very fine. It says that faith and trust have similar meanings. They can be used interchangeably. Even Webster defines faith as belief and trust in the loyalty to God. So faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. That’s Hebrews 11.
But faith involves trusting in something that you cannot explicitly prove. So faith is inseparable from trust. It’s the confidence that God can and will do what he says in his Word. So I think you were right. I just wanted to kind of clarify that, that they’re not that different, that they actually need each other in some ways.
Ryan: Okay. You might be wondering, what does this have to do with marriage? Again, we’ll go back to this cruciform idea of trust. And this will be kind of the thing that we continue to hang our hat on, we come back to throughout this series is that we have trust to place. As a husband, as a wife, I have trust to place. The question is, where am I going to place it? Is my wife or my spouse trustworthy? And what’s the intersection there? So we’re proposing the cruciform piece, which is my ultimate trust, my identity, my security, my…
Ryan: My salvation is ultimately placed in God alone, because only He is perfectly trustworthy. But then we have this need to develop a trusting relationship horizontally with each other in marriage. And that requires me both being trustworthy but also giving my trust. Because it might not be because one of us is trustworthy, it might also be because one of us is overly suspicious and not willing to give trust because of some sins that’s happened or some harm that’s happened in the past.
Selena: I think you opened it up talking about trust and love. Like we’re trusting and loving each other. I’m sorry, you opened with the question of are we even called to trust one another in our marriage? What does that look like biblically speaking? And when we look at the Bible, God says without a shadow of a doubt, “Trust in me.” Trust God and then love one another. He didn’t say, “Trust one another.” He says, “Love one another.”
So we see this kind of idea, though, that love precedes trust, not in… Well, I guess it could be between you and God, right? When you understand the love of God, your trust in Him and who He is can be in a build and snowball on your faith is growing. My trust, my love for you as my spouse is… trust is going to come really quickly behind that. When you love your spouse… I’m saying at the beginning of your marriage, I guess. When we first get married…
Ryan: If I’ve not damaged it or shown you otherwise that I am worthy of your trust.
Selena: Right. I guess I might be speaking to us personally then. Because I felt like when we got married, I trusted you impeccably. And then our first couple of brushes with, this breaching of trust was a way of us kind of… It felt like a stripping away of like some innocence or purity or confidence. Like you said in these definitions, it’s like, how do we rebuild that or restore that? What does God say? I can’t trust you for my ultimate happiness, Ryan. So how am I supposed to trust you? What does that look like? I’m supposed to trust you as my husband to love me like in Ephesians. I’m trusting you to live out that role to be obedient to God, and you’re trusting me to walk in that role faithfully.
Ryan: First, it seems very precarious…
Selena: It can, yeah.
Ryan: …because you feel like it’s just a matter of time until there’s a reason to not trust again. And I think that’s where the ultimate trust is really heavily and healthily placed on God for the ultimate sense of satisfaction and thirst and hunger that we so desperately want. That timelessness that we want out of this life we’ll never have it. That perfection we want out of this life we’ll never have it. [00:30:00]
We have to look to Christ first because He is the spouse right to the Church, the bridegroom who has proven Himself trustworthy. He set forth fulfilled promise of God, who when the rubber met the road, He was the one on the cross. He proved trustworthy. And not only that. This is a little bit of a sidebar, but it’s worth going there because we don’t have a flimsy faith. That’s what I love is that it is not based on flimsy, barely historically verifiable evidence.
The evidence for the crucifixion and the resurrection is overwhelming. By all scholarly historical accounts, it’s overwhelming. And to me, that’s such a testimony of God’s trustworthiness. That He didn’t give us this flimsy foundation of our faith. We have the manuscripts, we have the testimonies, we have not just one or two testimonies like so many other modern faiths that really do hinge on like. I mean, not to get into apologetics too far, but like getting into Islam, it’s all hinges on the testimony of Muhammad by himself. You look at Mormonism, the Latter Day Saints, that it’s all hinges on the testimony of Joseph Smith by himself. We don’t have that.
The New Testament Christianity is hinged on so many different… so we have a God who’s proven himself trustworthy. The question is, will we trust Him when others in our lives prove on trustworthy? I’ll even project if I idolize Selena and say she is the perfect human being, even when she fails me, I’ll look at her and like kinda like you said, say, “She fails me.” Does that mean God also fails me because I thought He was pretty great, too?” And if my faith is weak, I might be inclined to believe that.
Selena: Right. And I think one part that we will I think touch on later and probably more in-depth is when trust is broken horizontally, how our vertical trust can carry us through that brokenness of that horizontal trust with each other. Again, that strength of the vertical trust is out of this world astronomically, unequivocally stronger, deeper, better, bigger on every front than we could ever hope for or understand.
Ryan: I will say that opportunity exists for everyone who puts their faith in Christ.
Selena: Yes, yes.
Ryan: You’d hope that’s the case.
Selena: But that carries us through the trials, the circumstances, the conflict, the pain. All the things that we are that Jesus says, “You will experience this. Just because you’re in the world doesn’t mean you’re of the world. But it also doesn’t mean you’re going to have this carefree life because you believe in me. You’ll actually have more hardship probably because you are followers of me.”
Ryan: I see that so clearly evident in the life of Paul when he said in Ephesians, “I have confidence in the Lord.” Confidence, that’s another word for trust. “I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. Before that, he says… What is it? Here, hold on. Oh, it’s in Philippians. I’m reading a cross-reference here. Hold on.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard-pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ…” That is just laced with this. It’s dripping with trust. This is Paul, who was a skeptic among skeptics, a persecutor among persecutors, a Pharisee of Pharisees, and yet God would saw it fit to give us him as the one to deliver these letters, these early epistles so that thousands of years later we can be here putting our trust in the same Christ, in the same resurrection. It’s just such a beautiful thing. I’m a little bit going off the rails here. So looking at the relationship…
Selena: I think he say that. I don’t think you are.
Ryan: Okay. Well, I just want to focus on marriage.
Selena: So stop saying that. [laughs]
Ryan: Yes, ma’am. So marriage and trust and betrayal, we’re going to talk through all that in the coming weeks. Now, the reason why I think broken trust in a marriage is so devastating and why it’s different than it’s different than other relationships… Like we were talking about over lunch how if you have a friendship where there’s a breach of trust, that’s one thing you can rebuild. The difference is if you can’t rebuild, you try and you fail, you can kind of come to new terms. You have a new contract at that point as friends. Like, this is the exchange, we’re going to get this out of each other… No one would ever say it in those cold terms. But essentially that’s what it boils down to.
In a marriage, your covenant is still there. Your covenant has not changed. So if we are unable to then rebuild and recover from this betrayal, it’s devastating. The sense of betrayal is we’re not just talking about affairs. That’s part of it. But the sense of [00:35:00] betrayal comes from you turned away. Like we had an agreement, a covenant we made to each other to be honest, to be forthright, to be transparent, all the things that come along with biblical marriage, and you went outside of that. You went outside and saw somebody else, you went outside of that and you spent this, you went outside of that and lied to me about this.
Selena: And talked about me behind my back unkindly.
Ryan: And that’s a really deep cut. And so there’s this line between, and that’s why the horizontal piece is so important. If that’s a vertical cut, it’ll cut right down to our soul and we’ll be in an existential crisis. Horizontally speaking, you’re not really cutting into the vein in the same way. It hurts and there’s blood, but it’s not going to be a fatal wound if our trust is still rooted in Christ vertically. But the beauty of the covenant now is we have a place to be in and see this come together. And what happens after brokenness heals? It’s usually stronger. It’s usually stronger. It’s usually better for it.
Selena: So let’s I guess maybe head into the couple’s conversation challenge. Like we said, if you have any questions and you want to send them in, please do so. But I think for the sake of this conversation, we’d like you guys to sort of look at trust in your marriage. Where have you seen breakdown? And I think just explore that. And then think about the things that you’ve heard today about biblical trust. What does it require? What does it look like? Is this too big of a conversation challenge? [laughs]
Ryan: Well, I’m going to give you some different kind of hooks to hang this conversation on here. Think in terms of your own physiology. Can you trust each other with your hearts? Do you trust that your spouse is going to take care of your heart?
Selena: Good question.
Ryan: Think in terms of your ears in your mouth. Can you trust your spouse to speak kindly of you, to you, around you, and about you? Think in terms of your eyes. Do you trust what your spouse is looking at, how they’re using their eyes. Think in terms of your hands. Do you trust…?
Selena: Use like your head to toe prayer? Like your head to toes question trust. [chuckles]
Ryan: And that can help me think through this. Depending on how your households… yeah, the work that you’re putting your hands to is providing for your family. I don’t know how you…
Selena: Well, and what it’s supposed to be it’s not your identity, right?
Ryan: Yeah, right. So think through those areas of trust. And then you might think through maybe past parts of your lives where you maybe lacked trust for one another and maybe think about why that’s the case. Think in these terms trust. Trustworthiness. How do those correlate? And are you both trusting of each other? Are you getting trust? And are you both trustworthy of each other? And knowing full well that it’s still possible to love and say, like, “I just don’t trust you in this area right now.” And that’s okay to say that. Now, you wouldn’t want to stay there. You would want to grow, you’d want to work through that and be sanctified in that.
There’s a lot there. Hopefully, you find something that you can talk through. But just know that we’re going to be talking through three things in the coming weeks. The next week we’re talking through broken trust and betrayal. Basically, we’re going to use this analogy, at least I like to use this analogy, is I always consider broken trust like you’ve just had a car accident, and dealing with the betrayal is the ambulances showing up on the scene. There’s blood everywhere, it’s messy, no one knows what’s going on, and you’re reeling from this pain, what do you do? Like, what’s the triage in that moment? How do you stop the bleeding?
And then the next week we’re talking about repairing trust. So you’ve dealt with this trauma, you’re at the hospital now and you’re actually healing. What does healing, rebuilding, repairing trust actually look like? We’re going to talk through that. And then finally, week four, it’s kind of a peacetime activity. That you’ve experienced broken trust, betrayal, you’ve repaired from the trust, now you’re more or less functional. You might have a little bit of a hobble, you might be limping a little bit for a little while, but you’re pretty much walking, how do you maintain health in that? How do you maintain rhythms that bolster and establish and reestablish and reestablish and reestablish your trust in one another in whatever area that is?
Here’s our hope throughout the series, that you would recognize that we serve a) God who is absolutely trustworthy and who has given us a path through interpersonal trauma, interpersonal breaches of trust. And here’s the thing is we have a God who’s proven trustworthy and we have a savior who has been betrayed at the deepest, darkest level. By His own brother, His disciple Judas, betrayed him how?
Selena: With a kiss.
Ryan: With a kiss. With an intimate kiss. That to me [00:40:00] is a beautiful picture that the one who has betrayed has proven to be the one who will never betray us. And we can really hang our identities, our hats on that. And that is the well from which we are now able to go forward and then work through the betrayals that we experience with our relationships on this earth. Okay?
Selena: So good.
Ryan: All right. Selena, you want to pray for us?
Selena: Sure. God, thank you so much for this time that we are able to dive into this idea of trust, trustworthiness, to know who we are in you and how that leads us to interact with each other and our families. I pray that you would just continue to guide us in these conversations, give us hearts of humility that are willing to hear. And help us, God via, be our strength when we feel like there is none to rebuild that trust. That we can trust your words, your promises, no matter the circumstances around us or the turmoil within us. God, we can trust you. In your name, amen.
Ryan: Amen. Amen. Ladies and gentlemen, this episode of the Fierce Marriage Podcast was brought to you by Selena’s special sauce, salty and sweet. Oh, what a treat! Go to Selenasspecialsauce.com, buy five jars get one jar free. [both laughs] Limited time only.
Selena: Did you actually like to buy that domain?
Ryan: I should though. I totally should. Is that a good use of my 10.99 a year? I don’t think so. Anyway. This episode of Fierce Marriage Podcast is—
Selena: In the can.
Ryan: Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you again in about seven days. Until then—
Selena: Stay fierce.
Ryan: Thank you for listening to the Fierce Marriage podcast. For more resources for your marriage, please visit FierceMarriage.com, or you can find us with our handle @Fiercemarriage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thank you so much for listening. We hope this has blessed you. Take care.
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