Where Trust Is

Two days after discovering my husband’s secret life, I took a drive to get away from home. I found a quiet place, parked my car, and pondered. I wasn’t prepared to write down my thoughts, so I had to improvise by jotting down notes on a small strip of card stock I found in my purse. My writing surface was no bigger than a 3×5 card, but the notes that fit on that small space made a big difference in the days ahead.

I finished my notes at my daughter’s house. She was the one who discovered my husband’s online dating emails. After sobbing for what seemed to be forever, I went through my notes with her and added a few more. I needed someone to confirm that I was being reasonable.

Those notes were things that I needed in order to feel ok about giving my marriage a chance. They came from somewhere deep within me. The list included things like using internet filters, taking another employee or family member on business trips, and having another individual take care of business and personal finances.

I presented my list to my husband soon after writing it. The list was still written in a rough format on my tiny card stock slip. I hadn’t read Melodie Beattie’s book, yet. And I hadn’t heard of “boundaries” in a marriage. I just followed my instincts that told me I needed to know things were going to change and they were going to change MY way.

My husband enthusiastically embraced my list when I first presented it, but when I started talking about boundaries, his response was a gruff, “You can’t control me!” He was right. I can’t control him nor can I control anybody else in my sphere of influence. I revised my boundaries so that my expectations were clear and the consequences were such that I could control them. For example, “If my husband lies, I will not sleep in the same bed with him until I feel safer.”   

As I worked on formalizing my boundaries, I constantly referred to my first list, which actually seemed to cover most everything I needed. I tried to write my boundaries without letting my emotions take over, so they ended up reading like a business document. I took advantage of that and made my boundaries into a contract and had my husband sign it.

But I wasn’t satisfied.

I wanted a short bulleted list so my husband could always remember our contractual agreement. Then it hit me. If my husband could just be honest and transparent about everything, I could feel safe. Honesty also coincides with many of my boundaries regarding reporting slip-ups and financial integrity. Honesty. That is the core of everything I need.

The Healing Through Christ workbook has a beautiful quote from Sister Barbara B. Smith:

“Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish.”

I need trust. I need love. I need honesty from my husband. I figured if my husband could remember those things, everything else would fall into place. So, I made him a small card that fits in his wallet with a message that has become our marriage foundation and pact:

Our marriage will be based upon a relationship in which there is transparency, honesty, and trust. These elements are the foundation for an enduring, eternal, and fulfilling relationship. “Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish” (Sister Barbara B. Smith). I want our love to flourish.


My husband put the card in the front flap of his wallet because he wanted to see it often. Every time he opens his wallet, I can see the card and it reminds me that my husband is doing whatever it takes to work on his recovery.  This little card has become a nice gift for both of us.

Simple Man

I’ve been participating in Brene’ Brown’s online courses through her website, Courage Works. The lesson for this week was to select our own personal anthem to give us courage. An anthem is usually a song or piece of music that uplifts or encourages a group of people. Sometimes the anthem is a musical call for the troops to rally together before stepping onto the battlefield. Though typically, an anthem is associated with organizations or groups, I think it is important to have our own individual anthem selected and ready to use when our courage falters, when life seems too tough, or when it seems easier to just give up on life’s battles.

I like to listen to different music for whatever mood I’m in, so narrowing my song choices down was a challenge. After looking through my music playlists, it was easy for me to choose my anthem, “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi. It’s a great reminder to trust my gut and live life “my way.” There is a bit of defiance in the song. I like that.

Sometimes I feel a rebellious defiance as I look for ways to rebuild a new life by kicking out old mindsets and traditions.

Basically, the song encapsulates my attempts to be present in the moment, to “live while I’m alive.”

I invited my family to participate in this activity and the results were both interesting and entertaining. I challenged my family to narrow their choices down to ONE song title, though Brene’ acknowledges that many people like to create an actual playlist of multiple songs. More than once, my son and I changed our anthem song choice. My husband, on the other hand, made one simple choice. Literally, it was a simple choice. He chose “Simple Man” performed by Lynyrd Skynrd. I hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics before, but when I did, I thought this was a perfect selection for a recovering addict. The song is written as advice from a mother to a son. Here are some of the lyrics:

Don't you worry simple man“Oh take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come, and they will pass
You’ll find a woman, and you’ll find love
And don’t forget that, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me son, if you can, if you can”

“Boy don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart, and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want from you my son, is to be satisfied”

After leading a double life for 50 years, it is reassuring to know that my husband now just wants to be a simple man, the kind of man that he can “love and understand.”

I think the lyrics give good advice to everyone, “Follow your heart, and nothing else.” It’s so . . . simple!




Source of Song Lyrics: MetroLyrics