Joseph and Mary did not have a military marriage but they certainly faced some unique challenges. Their trust in God—and one another—defined their marital journey
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26–27)
“Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly.”1 These words from Scottish novelist and theologian George MacDonald cause me to stop and consider the importance of trust with my husband. Do we share that kind of trust? If so, how did we get to that place?
Just like intimacy, trust is a journey that takes time and is not without risk. I cannot allow my fears to overcome the risk; I must nurture trust. What sort of trust journey makes the risk worthwhile?
Three essential elements of trust are respect, vulnerability, and commitment. We exercise these aspects of trust best in frequent and unhindered interactions with our spouse. But military life usually leads to separations—deployment, training, assignments, and career progression—that can hinder the development of these elements. And the priority of the military mission for every service member can also compete with trust-building in marriage.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke introduce a young couple that risked a journey into the unknown. Joseph and Mary did not have a military marriage but they certainly faced some unique challenges. Their trust in God—and one another—defined their marital journey. They were willing to risk obedience and in so doing they offer us an exceptional example of trust in marriage even apart from their irreplaceable roles in caring for the Savior of the world. Gossip likely followed this young couple throughout their married life. Yet they trusted God’s plan for their lives, which included his plan for their marriage.
Just as a beautiful custom home is built brick by brick, trust in relationships does not come ready made. Relationship expert John Gottman reminds us that a couple builds trust in small moments.2 Everyday small moments between husband and wife—an encouraging word, a thoughtful deed, a guarded glance, an attentive pause, an honest answer—shape a strong fortress of trust that protects their relationship.
Sisters, building lasting trust takes effort on our part. Often, as with Mary and Joseph, we need intervention from God to shore up the trust factor in our relationships when we exceed our natural human ability. That’s a relationship you can trust!
What areas of trust do you find are challenged by military marriage? How can you combat these challenges?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, I pray for small moments of trust-building between my husband and me today. Don’t let me miss or waste the moment! Amen.
1 George MacDonald, St. George and St. Michael (London: Keagan Paul, 1878), 258.
2 John Gottman, The Science of Trust (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011), 178.