I hate to admit it, but I have, on more than one occasion, watched the once popular reality show “Cheaters”. For those who have kept your standards higher for your television viewing pleasure and aren’t familiar with the show, the title really captures the essence and class of the program. The show features a broken relationship in which one partner suspects the other of cheating so he/she goes to the “Cheaters” team for help in launching an all out private investigation with video footage, pictures, phone calls, and lots of trashy, uh, I mean classy drama. I feel sick the whole time I am watching these people spy on the suspect and the fights that ensue, but I just can’t look away (not a proud moment), In the end, the “Cheaters” team does in fact report the suspect as a cheater and the other partner is devastated. Tragically, their insecurity is proven to be justified.
The scenarios in this show are pretty outrageous because the producers want to attract viewers, but I believe that insecurity, founded AND unfounded, is destroying relationships, especially marriages. Everything we watch on television leaves us prone to question someone’s motives or actions, even the ones we love most. Have you ever found yourself driving around random parking lots looking for your spouse’s car or even going through his/her phone without your spouse knowing? Have you caught your spouse looking frantically through your things or showing up at places that you frequent? Both situations involve a lack of trust that is rooted in the feeling of insecurity. These feelings may have developed over time due to a spouse’s continued pattern of cheating and lying, or you may generally be very hesitant to trust anyone due to past hurts that do not involve your spouse at all. Regardless of the circumstances, feelings of insecurities from either spouse are toxic in a marriage, and they must be addressed and dealt with as soon as possible.
In order for both partners to feel secure in the marriage, we not only need to remain faithful to our spouse (hence, the marital vows), but we also need to remove any barriers in our life that might make our spouse even question if we are worthy of his/her trust. So, what does that look like? Here are just a few things you can do today to make your spouse feel more secure in your marriage:
1. Answer the phone whenever your spouse calls.
This may be easier for some and harder for others due to work responsibilities (or, if you are like me, you don’t hear it ring because you forgot it was on vibrate), but it is a simple way to improve the communication in your marriage. Don’t ignore your spouse’s calls! If you can’t answer right when he/she calls, send him/her a quick text to let him/her know that you saw the call and will call back when you have the chance. This keeps the line of communication open and is a kind and courteous way to build feelings of security in your marriage.
2. Get off the phone or computer when you are with your spouse.
For most of us, including Dave and myself, this is harder than it seems. We use our smartphones to chat with our loved ones, check socical media, and even read our Bibles…all good things, but we still need to put our devices down when we are with our spouses, as much as we possibly can. When we give our spouse our full attention, which means “giving them our eyes and ears” (yes, just like your teacher would say), we are showing them that they are more important than whatever else is on the other side of that screen. This instills a feeling of security and helps us to be better listeners. We also need to do away with any passwords or devices that our spouse is unaware of. Nothing builds insecurity more than secrecy,
3. Watch where your eyes wander.
“But I say, anyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Let’s face it. We are going to notice an attractive person walking by, and that is okay. We can’t cover our eyes in public places, but we can control the amount of time and thought we give to each glance. Let me be specific, when you see that hottie walking by, your eyes don’t need to inspect them top to bottom or follow them to where they are going. When we are constantly staring at other men or women or if we make sly comments about how “cute” or “fit” or “pretty” someone else is, we are digging a hole of insecurity in our marriage. You might be telling yourself that this is harmless or innocent simply because you aren’t having a physical affair with that person. This is a dangerous lie because when we let our glances become lasting glances, lasting glances turn into thoughts, thoughts become fantasies, and fantasies, outside of your own spouse, destroy marriages.
4. Keep God as the center of your relationship.
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT
I honestly never thought much about this verse until Dave and I had our premarital counseling, nearly 14 years ago. After one of our sessions, our pastor gave us a rather unusual wedding gift. He handed us a real “triple-braided cord”. He then explained the verse and said that this illustrated a strong marriage in which the husband, wife, and God each represent a strand of the cord, with God being the heartiest strand. This kind of cord is hard to break and extremely secure, but the cord as a whole is only as strong as each strand. If one strand is compromised or cut off, the cord looses some of its strength and with enough weight it will eventually fold or break down completely.
The longer I am married and work with married couples, the more I see the truth of this verse played out. I am not sure where you might be in your faith, but I encourage you to make and keep God at the center of your marriage. So, how do we keep God as the primary “strand” in our marriage? We do this by making our personal relationship with Christ a priority. We strive to know him more by going to church and reading our Bibles, and we make prayer a consistent part of our daily lives. When we keep our relationship with God as our top priority, our mind and hearts are more prepared to approach our spouse with the love and devotion he/she deserves, and we essentially keep our strands connected to the “master strand” and our “cord”, or marriage, remains stronger. When we believe in God and accept his son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior, we receive the ultimate form of security that no person can destroy and we certainly don’t need to question. We receive God’s love and grace.