June 17, 2021

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Find Out More About Integrity and Trust in a Marriage Right Now

Living with integrity is an essential part of life and relationships. Integrity within marriage is critical to the trust and security of the relationship.  Frequently we encounter couples who keep secrets or behave in disingenuous ways.  That’s a fancy term for “lying.”  It could be anything from secret bank accounts to internet activity to faking it when the baby cries so that the other person has to get up and take care of it.

There is an erroneous belief by some people that marriage doesn’t work without lies and what our spouse doesn’t know won’t hurt them.  WRONG! Even “little white lies” count.  Without integrity in marriage, trust is diminished and could even be destroyed.  And without trust, the relationship, in most cases, will not last.

Integrity inspires and builds trust in a relationship. In other words, trust is based upon integrity.  Therefore, it is essential to understand what it means to live with integrity.


  • Webster Definition: 1. Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; 2. The state of being whole, entire, uncorrupted, undiminished; the quality of being unimpaired.
  • It comes from the word “integer” which refers to a “whole number.” Thus, integrity points to wholeness or not lacking.
  • It means having your words and your actions in
  • Integrity is something that no one can take from you, but something you can choose to give away.


A Formula for Integrity: Integrity = Reliability + Honesty

  • Reliability is about Actions. It is not only doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it, but it is also being consistent over time. Good intentions alone are not enough to create reliability and build trust. There has to be consistency. Inconsistency will erode integrity and trust.
  • Reliability in Marriage: Don’t promise the moon to your spouse. Just deliver what you promise. As the saying goes, “under-promise and over-deliver.” Promises can lead to expectations and, if those expectations are not met, your spouse will doubt your reliability and integrity. Unmet expectations lead to hurt, disappointment and anger.
  • Reliability without honesty is not integrity. Honesty about everything- thoughts, feelings, plans, dreams, actions, conversations, interactions with others, the past, finances, etc. – is an emotional need and requirement in a relationship.
  • Honesty starts with honesty in the little things. Small acts of dishonesty, like the omission of information, can lead to more significant breaches of trust and more destructive consequences. Once deception has begun, lies must be told to cover previous lies, and truth and trust are the casualties.
  • Honesty when apart. When you are together with your mate, it is easier to be honest because you are together. However, when you are apart, it is easier to be dishonest and not act with integrity. One of the best ways to maintain honesty and integrity when you are apart is to have clear boundaries that give your mate a sense of security. You and your spouse must have discussions on setting boundaries and guidelines for areas such as:
    • Interactions with co-workers, both during and after work.
    • Interactions at the gym.
    • Business trips.
    • Social media.
    • Online activity.
    • Cell phones.
    • Account passwords.

An ancient proverb states,The one who lives with integrity lives securely, but whoever perverts his ways will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9) Clear boundaries that protect your integrity build security and reduce the stress and worry of being found out! 

  • Honesty of the heart: Emotional honesty is an essential type of honesty in building deep connection and intimacy in a relationship. Avoiding conflict is not necessarily walking in integrity.  You could just be delaying the inevitable.  You don’t have to say everything you think to your mate, but you must be honest with them about your feelings.  Stuffing feelings only leads to explosive words and actions later. These can be far more destructive than the expression of uncomfortable conversations about feelings.  And lying or pretending to your spouse about your feelings is dishonest!


  • If you are serious about this, then ask your spouse: “In our relationship, how have I been reliable? How have I been unreliable?  How can I be more reliable?”
  • Ask yourself:

Where have I been less than honest with my spouse?

What, if anything, do I need to confess to my spouse?

Where have I recently compromised?

Where am I currently compromising?


If trust has been broken, it is often difficult to regain in a relationship, no matter the area in which the trust was broken. Remember that it takes consistent actions over time to establish reliability and trust. Often, after forgiveness and a history of reliable behavior, trust is restored and stronger than ever.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a relationship coach or counselor who can give you objective and insightful assistance. The Love Recon and Recon Coaching are two excellent resources, so don’t hesitate to contact us! 

About the author 

Cliff Poe

Cliff Poe is Founder and Lead Coach for Recon Coaching. He and his wife, Jeani, are Master Coaches and their passion is to help individuals and couples form healthy, lasting and satisfying relationships. Cliff has a M.Div. in pastoral counseling and ministry. He enjoys writing and coaching as well as his family which includes 2 adult kids and their spouses, 6 grandchildren and a fur family composed of a Golden Retriever and a Mackerel Tabby.

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