by Leslie De Morais
Characteristic #2 – She is trustworthy
Trustworthy – [truhst-wur-th ee] (adj.) 1) deserving of trust or confidence; dependable; reliable: The treasurer was not entirely trustworthy. 1
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. – Proverbs 31:11 (NIV)
Romance and Royals
Like many of you, I love a good romance set in an historic period, such as the novels of Emily Bronte or Jane Austen. Just picture a meticulous English garden or the breath-taking French countryside, or imposing manor houses and stone castles. These settings coupled with the idea of an aristocrat’s lifestyle all make for an enticing escape from our humdrum 21st century lives.
In the past two decades or so, I have found myself especially drawn to European history, primarily through classic novels depicted artistically down to minute details in movies or mini-series. Fully fascinated by the costumes of the era, the architecture, interior décor and the high standards of propriety, I find myself immersed in the drama of the characters. The complexity of noble hierarchies, intrigue wreaking havoc in monarchies and the disparity between the royals and commoners create real life settings and stories the imagination would be hard pressed to improve upon.
While watching one of these series, I found myself contemplating the pros and cons of being born into a royal family. Much to my surprise, my list of cons far outweighed the pros. The case against this imagined circumstance included, but was not limited to, considerations such as:
- having extremely high expectations forced upon one’s self,
- the weight of a nation’s progress and well-being as one’s primary responsibility,
- and, a greatly diminished amount of privacy or lack of anonymity.
Perhaps thoughts like these gave birth to the expression, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” The original source of this phrase is not known, but William Shakespeare used it in his play, King Henry IV, with little modification:
“Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
In Act III, Scene I, King Henry IV says these lines to express how tough his duty of kingship is, and how difficult it is to take on such a serious responsibility, which constantly worries him.2
A Royal Proclamation
The line in Shakespeare’s play causes me to consider this quote:
“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” – Queen Elizabeth II2
What an amazing promise make and live up to! And from a queen, no less! It certainly conveys a deep understanding of the daunting task that laid ahead of a young 26-year-old princess who became queen due to the abdication of the throne by her uncle and later the subsequent passing of her father.
Queen Elizabeth II vowed trustworthiness, not only to a nation, but also to the entire common wealth of the United Kingdom.
Now, let’s bring all this home.
Would you be able to make that same pledge (and keep your word) to just one human being? Could you say it, in all sincerity, to your husband? Picture yourself speaking these words to him:
“Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
Does your husband have full confidence in you in all areas of the marriage? What are those areas? Here are some, to name just a few:
- marital fidelity,
- family finances,
- your thoughts,
- your words,
- and your deeds.
Lessons on trustworthiness from the Bible
God sets us a divine example of trustworthiness, in his actions, his promises and in his precepts.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. – Psalm 19:7 (NIV)
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. – Psalm 111:7 (NIV)
The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. – Psalm 119:138 (NIV)
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. – Psalm 145:13 (NIV)
Paul was an example of trustworthiness:
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. – 1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)
Paul’s expectation of women in the church:
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. – 1 Timothy 3:11 (NIV)
In everything? Yes, in everything.
Do you think it impossible to be unfaithful to your husband? Here are the 2011 statistics regarding adultery, according to Dr. Kelly James Bonewell, a psychologist and theologian counselor.
- Over 33% of married men will cheat on their wives;
- Nearly 25% of all married women will cheat on their husbands;
- More than 50% of all marriages will be impacted by one of the spouses being unfaithful.
Grim statistics if you think about them.
Here are some other interesting facts that we know:
- Back in the 1960’s it was usually the husband who was unfaithful.
- Today, researchers are finding that women are just as likely as men to have an affair.
As a way of comparison to how adultery has become more prevalent: a 1983 study found that 29% of married people under twenty-five had had an affair. By comparison, only 9 percent of spouses in the 1950s under the age of 25 had been involved in extramarital sex.
Ten percent of extramarital affairs are “one night stands;” ten percent last more than one day, but less than a month; half of all affairs last more than a month but less than a year; and 40 percent last two or more years (Lampe, 2000).
Perhaps you are thinking, “This can’t be a problem in the church. Certainly the moral standards of Christians are higher.” There is growing evidence that adultery is also a tremendous problem in Christian circles. One could site many studies—the most recent from Christianity Today shows that 45 percent of Christians indicate having done something sexually inappropriate, and 23 percent having extramarital intercourse (Anderson, 2000). These numbers pretty much mirror the national averages.3
With Dr. Bonewell’s findings in mind, think about your trustworthiness. Adultery begins with letting down your guard with flirtation or allowing the mind to wander. It could start with inappropriate joking or unnecessary physical contact, intimate comments or confiding in the wrong person about struggles in your marriage. Hidden online contact or conversations should certainly be a red flag. Avoid temptation. Don’t be naïve.
Faithfulness to your husband is directly linked to your faithfulness to God. A trustworthy wife is sexually faithful to her husband not because he is so awesome or handsome or such a good provider, or even because she loves him. She is trustworthy in this area of her life because of the commitment she made first and foremost to God.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? – Luke 16:10-12 (NIV)
Can your husband trust you to stick to a budget? Are you able to account for what you spend? Does your reasoning constantly outweigh his requests to spend only what is necessary? Family finances are one of the three things about which couples most argue and disagree.
As a woman who loves fashion, interior design and entertaining, I can verify there is always a “reason” to spend just a little more. In our relationship, I soon learned that my husband and I had very different ideas as to what was necessary and what was not. It took us years to successfully discuss and reach middle ground regarding how money should be allotted, saved and spent. As with most topics in marriage, it required love, respect and compromise on both parts. However, changing my reputation as an irresponsible spender took almost a decade. Today, being considered trustworthy by my husband is more important to me than anything I could buy in a store.
Thoughts are the easiest aspect of ourselves to hide. The mind is a secret place where we can do what we please and conceal it from everyone – everyone except God, of course.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)
In the Old Testament book of Proverbs and the New Testament book of Matthew, we learn the heart and our thoughts are connected, spiritually speaking.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” – Matthew 15:18-20 (NIV)
Here’s what we should, as Christians, be thinking:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
If it were possible to show a film of your thoughts on the big screen at the movie theater in your town, would you be applauded or would you cringe in shame and embarrassment? Can your husband have full confidence in the thoughts you have about him and others?
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. – Proverbs 12:22 (NIV)
Lies are just one of the ways we can sin against God and wound our relationship with our husband. Do you exaggerate? Do you speak in a snide or cynical fashion? Do you hurt others with words and cover it up behind jokes? Do you publically make disparaging comments about your husband to others?
Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – Ephesians 4:25 (NIV)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Words are powerful tools. They can either build others up or tear them down. Be trustworthy in how you use them.
A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing. – Proverbs 13:17 (NIV)
A reliable messenger is refreshing to the one who sends him, like cold water in the heat of harvest time. – Proverbs 25:13 (GNT)
Can your husband depend on you to do what you promise? Or, are you full of excuses? If he should ask you to take on a task, can he forget about it or does he constantly need to follow up?
Being a trustworthy wife is a tall order that encompasses every area of our lives. It takes a strong character and deep understanding that being worthy of trust begins with being trustworthy before God himself. Your fortunate husband simply reaps the benefit.