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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reflections: How Well Do You Trust?

"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone -- but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy."  -Walter Anderson


It's a remarkably simple word, really, but in truth, it has an incredibly complex definition.  There are so many facets to this word, and yet, it's also such a delicate, fragile thing.  It can be shattered so, so quickly, and in quite a few cases, it can never be rebuilt again, leading to the demise of countless relationships, whether romantic, familial, or friendly.  But trust is also a beautiful, brilliant thing as well.  Once you've found true trust within another person, a whole new level of love opens up to you, and your relationship blossoms into something remarkable, wonderful, and worth holding onto.

But what do you do when you feel like you can't even trust your own spouse?

To be honest, I'd never even considered that so many people are in exactly that situation.  I have never once felt like I couldn't innately, 100%, with-all-of-my-soul trust my husband.  So it blew me away (and absolutely popped my bubble) when I learned that many, many people have no idea that relationships like ours actually exist.  They think that that level of trust and intimacy can never be attained at all.  I was flabbergasted.  But I'm here to share that it can be achieved.

My husband and I have been together for almost 7 1/2 years, although married for a little over two.  From the moment I met him, I knew he was one of the good ones; you know, one of those guys you instantly felt comfortable around and knew had only honest intentions.  But more importantly, my friends and family saw this about him too.  I never would have given him a chance at a real, long-term relationship otherwise.  But they saw how well he treated me, and I also saw how he treated other people -- always with gentility and kindness, especially towards his own mother, something I was told was a huge plus!  All of this left a profound effect on me, and we began our long-distance relationship which technically lasted for close to 5 1/2 years, until we got married.  Even throughout that part of our relationship, I never had to grill him on where he was or what he was doing, and he never had to do the same with me.  He went on four deployments, and I only worried for his safety, never his monogamy.  Trust was always an underlying, unspoken agreement that we knew we had to adhere to for the sake of our relationship.

Even after I experienced some incredibly rough and depressing times during his second deployment that led to my ending our relationship, we worked through my issues and got back together within a month.  Our breakup had nothing to do with me not trusting him and everything to do with my response to him being gone for so long with so little communication.  I was honestly depressed, and it wasn't until I was able to come out of that state that I could let him fully back into my life, this time with the full and complete knowledge of what kind of lifestyle would lay ahead of me and the actions I would have to take in order to take care of myself while he was gone.  He accepted me back completely with open arms and stuck with me in spite of my crazy, and that's something that I'm so thankful for every day of our life together.

There are men out there like my husband who actually do exist.  They are not all lying, cheating scumbags who can't be trusted.  I know this not just from experience, but by looking at other relationships around me, from our close friends to both my and Mr. L's family.  I see the love that they share without any of the anger, guilt, and jealousy surrounding those who've lost trust and respect for one another.  Of course, I can't claim to know everything that goes on within these other marriages and relationships -- who can? -- but at that point I look within my own relationship and see the love and respect Mr. L and I have for each other.

You should never have to sacrifice such an integral part of a healthy relationship or marriage just because you feel like it's impossible to achieve a level of complete faith in another person.  It is possible, and I'm not just saying that because I am blindly trusting someone with my heart who's probably messing around behind my back without my knowledge (he wouldn't have the time or energy to be that sneaky, haha).  It's because Mr. L and I both understand that you can't have a healthy relationship without complete trust, and we regard one another too highly to do anything so disrespectful that would force our relationship to end.  As adults, we both made the conscious decision to be exactly where we are, and we know what has to be maintained in order to keep it functioning healthily.

Perhaps I'm noticing issues like this more because of the age group and environment Mr. L and I are currently in.  We're still young -- in our mid-twenties -- and in the military community we're surrounded by on a daily basis is even younger.  Is this something that happens more frequently with younger couples?  Especially those with a more "high school" mentality of relationships?  Or is this something that occurs across board with all ages?  My curiosity has certainly been peaked in this area, mainly because I'm fascinated by people and why they act the way they do.  I'm a bit of an amateur sociologist sometimes!  I just wonder if this is something people ever grow out of thinking, or if it stays with them for life thanks to past experiences.  Hopefully this post will not only shed some light on these questions for me, but maybe it will also give another person some kind of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.



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