The “Heavy Water” Of Trust


What are four effective communication and behavioral habits that demonstrate an eagerness to build trust in a marriage?

In a nuclear power plant, “heavy water” keeps the reactor cool as it burns the fuel, which creates the steam that turns the turbines that generate electricity. “Heavy water” is actually deuterium oxide, which is like water, but about 11% more dense. (There’s your physics lesson for today!)

All the catastrophes (and near catastrophes) at nuclear power plants have come from failures in these heavy water cooling systems. Each time, for different reasons, the amount of heavy water has declined allowing the heat level to rise and get out of control.

In relationships, TRUST is the “heavy water”.

When your wife has an incredibly high level of trust for you, that trust cools all kinds of “heat” when it comes. You show up late from a business trip, she’s fine because she trusts you. There’s money gone from the checking account, no problem because she trusts you…she assumes a good answer to the mystery (like you forgot to write down a check or tell her about some expense you had to take care of).

BUT….if the “heavy water” level in the reactor goes down, whether it “leaks” down a little at a time, or it bursts out all at once, the entire deal is at risk because the “heat” rises above heavy water’s ability to cool it. That’s called a meltdown!

Marriages have meltdowns. And they are very, very hard to recover from. When the “heavy water” of trust leaks down in a marriage, suspicion replaces trust. Suspicion brings defensiveness, or more suspicion. Tempers flair, things heat up, and sometimes they meltdown.

The point? We need to be constantly aware of the “heavy water” trust level in our marriages. We need to intentionally build and protect the level of trust our wives have for us. Here are a few things you can do to keep your trust “water level” high…

Over-communicate – tell her the details of where you’ve been, who you’ve met with or talked to. Don’t leave things to her imagination. Thoroughly inform her daily, especially when you travel. Call her every night. Give her the number in your hotel room. (Yeah, I know you have a cell phone, but you can answer that from anywhere. When you give her your hotel room telephone number, she knows that you’re there. It’s a small thing, but it gives her security and builds trust.

Deliver -  say what you’re going to do then do it. The more you create an expectation and then meet it, the more you build trust. It’s the compilation of small things adding up to the big thing of trustworthiness. This is true with your wife, your kids, your boss, clients, anyone.

Anticipate – If you know you’re going to be around a female colleague or client, proactively tell your wife about it in advance. If you have a conversation with another woman, no matter how innocent or ordinary, tell her about it. Remember, people like to talk. You want her to hear of anything that could seem the least bit suspicious from you, not from one of her friends.

Introduce – Take your wife to your office. Purposely and intentionally introduce her to every attractive woman you work around. De-mystify those relationships for your wife and simultaneously, send a strong signal to those cohorts that you are a committed Christian husband who loves and cherishes his wife.

The heavy water in a nuclear reactor is precious. The consequences of a breach are disastrous.

The same is true for trust in a marriage.

Value it. Build it. Protect it.

Question: Are you building trust in your most valuable relationships? Or are you “leaking” trust away a little at a time?

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