Let Your Yes Be Yes
Have you ever dined alone and found it hard not to focus in on what people near you are saying? Recently, I had the opportunity to enjoy an early dinner by myself at a local café. At the next table, two men had met up after work and were talking. Since it wasn't busy and there were just a few diners, it was virtually impossible for me not to overhear a conversation between them. I sat sipping my soup, listening quietly; curious about what men talk about when they're together. At first, it was all business stuff, comparing the things that men generally do, but then it got personal.
"So, how are things going with Sonja?"
"Well, ok I guess. We're doing better, but it's still really hard."
"Are you two going through with the divorce?"
"I hope not! I mean, we're working on it, but you know, there does come a time when you just need the other person to DO something-to do the things they say they are going to work on, you know? I need to see some progress!"
I heard mumblings about "rebuilding trust" and "trying to hang in there," but since my sandwich was gone and my soup bowl empty, I found it hard to stay any longer. I wanted to, believe me!
As I got in my car, I was discouraged by yet another case of a marriage going bad. It seems it's happening everywhere, you know? I knew gauging from this man's stress and concern that it was obvious it was a complex issue with a lot of pain and past hurts. On the drive home, something he said stuck with me. I mean, here you have this man and woman having true marital problems, enough so that they separated. At one time perhaps both spouses were committed to mend their marriage. Yet, there's a sticking point to the reconciliation! She's not doing the things she says she's going to do and it's getting in the way of the relationship being restored. From what I could gather, his trust of her needed to be reestablished, and something she's not doing is hindering him from being able to trust her again.
I can only surmise what the situation was that led to this couple's separation, but let's say she had an affair. She agreed to stop seeing or talking to this other man to focus on rebuilding the marriage, but her husband found out she's still in contact with him. Can he trust her? No! What is he supposed to believe about the next time she says she wants to try to make things better?
Trust can only be built or rebuilt when words and actions work together consistently over time. If the wife in that story wants to fix her marriage, she'll need to follow through with what she agrees to do on a regular, consistent basis-otherwise the marriage will remain broken. Trust requires action. This husband can't reestablish trust with his wife because she won't do the things she said she would do. Only when he sees a continuous, long-term pattern of actions that reflect the words and promises she makes will trust be restored and the marriage healed.
Jesus said regarding oath making,
"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No';
anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37)
This is pretty straightforward teaching. I've used it numerous times in my life to spur me on to follow through with things I've committed to, even if it was really hard or inconvenient or I had a change of heart. It is the way that I've built trust and proven I'm reliable to my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
Think about someone you know who is untrustworthy and unreliable. It is really difficult to have a relationship with them, right? They are flaky and you can't always count on them to follow through. They let you down and frustrate you. It's hard!
You don't want to be one of these people, trust me. Your friends, co-workers, boss, children, and especially your spouse, have to know that you're good for your word. But how does this look practically? You do what you say you're going to do. And then trust is established. You gain your spouse's trust when you come home when you say you will; you gain your boss's trust when you consistently meet deadlines or come to work on time; you gain your friends' trust when you keep a confidence or pray for them like you promised; and you gain your kids' trust when you show up or follow through with consequences, commitments, or rewards.
If we don't consistently do what we say we're going to do, the people in our lives just won't believe us...they won't trust us...they won't see us as safe or trustworthy...we lose credibility...we lose relationship. If we can't be known for our word or trusted, eventually the people in our lives fade away, divorce us, or fire us. It's that simple.
When you commit to live by this truth, you'll undoubtedly be someone people can trust and your relationships will be rewarding and healthy.
Thank you for joining me today for Life Is Relationships! I look forward to interacting with you as you go through life. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead.
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