One Dark and Stormy Night . . .
Elder James E. Faust once noted: “Complete trust in each other is one of the greatest enriching factors in marriage." Trust is crucial in a marriage because it allows couples to build a strong, intimate, and secure relationship. Without trust, the marital relationship may struggle.
Now if you’ll just sit right back, I'll tell you a tale, a tale of a broken trust.
One dark and stormy winter night I became deathly ill. All the food I had eaten that day was exiting my body in the most unpleasant of ways, leaving me very weak. To deny all personal responsibility for what happened later, I’m going to say that because of this illness I was delirious, and most certainly not of a sound mind.
After an exhausting night of “losing weight” in the bathroom, I finally fell asleep or passed out in my bed from sheer exhaustion. I slept well—for a little while. However, at some point in the dark of the night, I woke up because something was wrong. Really wrong. It seemed to my delirious mind that I had awakened in a puddle of strange warm liquid. My delirious mind couldn’t make sense of this.
To determine the nature of the puddle, I put my hand into it. It was wet and didn’t smell right. Now this is where our marital trust was irreparably broken. For some strange reason, I awakened Heather and regrettably said to her: “Hey, feel this.”
Only one of us was delirious. Me. Now half awake, Heather trusted her husband and placed her hand into the warm puddle. Suddenly she was wide awake. Really wide awake. She had placed her hand into something that it should never have touched. Ever.
I’ll spare you all the gross details, but I think there was some yelling, bright lights, hand washing, hand sanitizing, bed sheet washing, scrubbing, bathing, cloroxing, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I think she also asked me; “Why would you ask me to touch that?” Delirium. That was my answer then and it remains my answer today.
The trust that is essential in a marriage had been violated. Dr. Internet tells me that rebuilding trust takes time and patience and to be prepared for setbacks and not to rush the process. Since the regrettable incident was decades ago, I recently decided to test her level of trust. I said: “Hey, feel this.” Not a chance.
Heather will still not “feel” anything that I suggest. Puppies? Silk? Stuffed animals? Marshmallows? All “no.” Unless she can carefully inspect the item beforehand, she’s still not touching anything I suggest.
Gautama Buddha once said; “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” This wound will only be healed when my spouse trusts me to never again ask her to touch warm puddles in the middle of the night. She’s not there yet, but I think we're making progress. In the meantime, just to be safe, when we hold hands, I always hold the "clean" hand.