The Thing About Trust
I don’t like to sound like I know everything, because I don’t know anything about you or your life or what you think and feel.
But what I think I’ve learned is that when I feel and experience something, I can feel confident that MANY others have felt and experienced it too. Because we’re not so different, you and me.
I think most men think about trust in the context of infidelity.
I think one of the major hang-ups guys have about committing to a relationship or to marriage when they’re young is that by doing so, they’re effectively promising to never have sex with anyone else again. I don’t know whether men like variety or options or freedom or what, but that’s a big deal when we’re younger.
I thought of marriage mostly as agreeing to a permanent girlfriend. By agreeing to marriage in my early twenties, I thought I was agreeing to have an exclusive relationship with my girlfriend forever and to not have sex with anyone else.
And that’s dangerous because a girlfriend isn’t that important and is reasonably easy to replace.
In some respects (if you meant your vows) is irreplaceable and a piece of your soul gets poisoned and dies when you lose that fundamental part of you.
You take it for granted. You take her for granted.
Like your eyesight. Or functioning legs.
But they’re really important.
And you figure it out when they’re gone.
The trust is rarely about whether she worries about you cheating.
It’s more about whether she can trust you to not hurt her emotionally. About whether she can trust you to help her by not sabotaging her efforts to keep your house clean, or to plan activities with family and friends, or to be a reliable parenting partner.
We had this little stand in our bedroom. I have this thing—especially with jeans—where I wear them once or twice and consider them too clean for the laundry basket, but too dirty to fold and put away. Laundry limbo, if you will. I used to throw them on this stand in the back of our room.
She didn’t like it because it made the room look disorganized and she prided herself on a clean and tidy home.
She’d get mad at me because I kept thoughtlessly doing it even after repeated attempts to get me to stop.
Men think: Why’s she making a federal case about this? Is a pair of jeans sitting out somewhere in my bedroom where no visitors come really THAT big of a deal?
We rationalize it with our sensible, logical brains. And we don’t necessarily work very hard to change the behavior because: “She’s not going to leave me over laundry!”
No. She’s not going to leave you over laundry.
She’s going to leave you because she can’t trust you to be her partner because you don’t even respect her enough to put your laundry-limbo jeans in a different location.
“If I can’t trust him with this little teeny-tiny thing,” she thinks, “how can I ever trust him with my heart?”
You’re Like a Child
And in EVERY other situation in life, I’d tell you that’s a good thing. Kids laugh 200-300 times a day and love life and are happy and innocent and free. Adults are miserable.
We must never stop playing and laughing and dreaming and seeking fun and adventure.
But in a marriage? Being like a child is bad. That’s why children can’t and don’t get married.
Your wife used to be a girl.
The girl you fell in love with because she was beautiful and fun and playful and wanted you and made you feel good.