We have been mentoring with a really amazing couple in preparation for their July wedding. While we are suppose to be the mentors, we are learning a lot from their journey! New language to articulate an old truth is not only exciting, but refreshing and a super fun way to stay young! Although we’ve been married longer than the years they’ve lived life, we love their progressive thinking and the way they are running into marriage with a Kingdom mindset.
Two gifted, anointed, powerful, and cross-cultural entrepreneurs sat in our living room teaching us. Love it.
A few weeks ago this passionate Latin soon to be groom said - in the context of their navigating impending conflict… “I just remember to offer softness! When our conversation begins to feel strained, we stay connected by offering softness!” Steve and I looked at one another, and said, “We love that, and we’re stealing it!” So, when you feel conflict or tension is rising… offer softness!
What does this have to do with creating a Stronghold of Trust? Nothing directly, except the language “a stronghold of trust" also came from this same soon to be groom.
What creates a GREAT relationship?
Great life-giving relationships don’t just happen. We wish they did. Many people are under the illusion that they do.
There’s a lot of things that go into making our relationships healthy, safe, life-giving, and desirable, but there are four things, primarily, that relationships are built on - Love, Trust, Honor, Understanding. Of these four building blocks, Trust, is what gets broken because it is the most fragile, and while trust is developed over time, it can also be broken in an instant. Not having a back-up plan to protect yourself is an indication of trust. The very nature of trust is that I voluntarily make myself dependent in some way on another person for something. In essence, trust means I have chosen a position of vulnerability.
In our time of marriage prep with this entrepreneurial couple, the subject of trust came up in the context of communication and working through conflict - the normal stuff pre-married couples are figuring out… okay... we all continue to figure out! This soon to be groom says, “Strongholds are always viewed as negative, we’re just going to have a stronghold of trust!” Bingo! You got it.
In Scripture, the Greek word for Stronghold, is translated a fortified, military stronghold; a strong-walled fortress (II Corinthians 10:4). It is used figuratively of a false argument in which a person seeks "shelter" ("a safe place") to escape reality. Strongholds are often referred to as:
STUBBORN - they seem impossible to break, and cannot be broken down by your own strength
IRRATIONAL - they don’t make sense
UNCONTROLLABLE - a pattern of behavior that can become a habit and you cannot stop doing it
Imagine a fortress of trust in your relationship that is STUBBORN -impossible to break; IRRATIONAL - it doesn’t make sense; UNCONTROLLABLE - a pattern of behavior that has become a habit and you cannot stop doing it!
A friend of ours, Paul Manwaring, once made the statement, loosely quoted here, “If you’ve been wounded and are asking the question, ‘How do I trust again?’ The answer is simple. You just trust again.” It is actually that simple, because trust, like love, is a choice. Everyone of us have been wounded in relationship and at the core of covenant lies the choice to trust again. We’re not advocating staying in an abusive environment or attempting to build or rebuild trust with someone who is unrepentant, but we are saying that when trust has been broken complete restoration can not be achieved until trust is being rebuilt.
Creating a Stronghold of Trust in a relationship requires that both parties must be committed to exercising trust and creating conditions and opportunities in which trust can grow.
A few questions for you to meditate on and use to upgrade the Stronghold of Trust in your relationships:
- What would it look like for you to have this shelter - a safe place a Stronghold of Trust in your most vulnerable and intimate relationships?
- What would it look like for your leadership team to be the safest shelter - a mighty fortress of trust? A place where intimacy thrives and flourishes? Where your team feels safe, protected, loved, empowered, free.
- In what ways can you begin exercising trust and creating conditions and opportunities in which trust can grow - in a specific relationship that is presently not fortified with a Stronghold of Trust? What relational debris needs to be removed (issues reconciled) in order for trust to be rebuilt?