“I will protect and enrich my relationship by eliminating all potential secret keeping from my spouse.”

There is an old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Married couples will benefit by building accountability into their relationships. Couples need to think about how they will achieve accountability. Take some time to think through the following areas listed below. What specific measures of accountability does your spouse need to take in order to help support your values of rebuild trust? If necessary, talk to a pastor, counselor or trusted friend to help you.

The following five areas represent the top secret keepers between spouses. You are encouraged to review each of these potential areas of secret keeping and make an agreement to become accountable in any or all of these areas to your spouse or accountability partner. Accountability is not about being controlled by your spouse but a willingness to become transparent in areas that have been withheld from your husband or wife or used inappropriately. Spouses who have broken trust in any of these areas are responsible to restore trust by disclosing these types of details.

Couples can choose to be accountable directly to each other or if preferred to be accountable to someone who their spouse trusts to encourage and support their commitment to disclose these potential areas of secret keeping.

Phone Use:
In order to help me to extend trust to you in your use of the phone, I need you to be accountable ☐to me / ☐to your accountability partner, by (Example: giving a monthly printout of all incoming/outgoing phone calls and texts):

Email and Computer:
In order to rebuild trust in the areas of computer usage such as email, social media, and other purposes, I need you to be accountable ☐to me / ☐to your accountability partner, by:

Schedule and Whereabouts:
In order to rebuild trust about your schedule and where you are spending your time, I need you to be accountable ☐to me / ☐to your accountability partner, by:

Finances:
In order to rebuild trust in the area of finances and how you spend your money, I need you to be accountable ☐to me / ☐to your accountability partner, by:

Other:
In order to rebuild trust in the area of _______________________ and how you _______________________, I need you to be accountable ☐to me / ☐to your accountability partner, by:

Unhealthy Guidelines for Establishing Boundaries

  • An unwillingness to be accountable in areas that you are asking your spouse to disclose to you.
  • A desire to control your spouse’s spending habits, personal or work schedules where there hasn’t been a history of inappropriate use of social media, relationships, spending habits or work/personal schedules.
  • A desire to manipulate your spouse from having contact with people who do not pose a threat to the fidelity or priority of your relationship.

Healthy Attitudes for Establishing Boundaries:

  • A willingness for mutual accountability in everything that you are asking your spouse to disclose to you.
  • A desire to reestablish trust in areas that have been used to hide or manipulate the truth about relationships, spending habits, personal or work schedules from your spouse.

Accountability means to give an “account” of one’s actions. Every married couple needs to be accountable to one another. Accountability is not something to be imposed in the event of a marriage crisis. On the contrary, it is a sign of respect that builds or restores trust in any marriage relationship.
The need for accountability is clear whenever there has been a betrayal of trust. A betrayal creates a culture of secrecy within the marriage that must be eliminated. An offended spouse needs to know that his or her spouse will no longer keep secrets other than Christmas presents and surprise parties.

In particular, the offending spouse needs to be prepared to answer questions about his/her day, including their whereabouts, schedules, phone calls, emails, and contacts, etc… Spouses need to know how to contact each other at all times. Couples should have access to bank records, credit card statements, phone records and computer passwords as a matter of normal practices. Depending on the circumstance there may be additional areas that require greater accountability.

A simple way of describing accountability is disclosing the details of your life. This is not punitive or controlling. Instead it creates opportunities to grow in intimacy with one another by talking about your day, schedules and prioritizing family and one another. Many married couples do this instinctively in the early stages of their relationships only to neglect this discipline as the demands of life and family grows.

My prayer is that your marriage will experience an abundance of hope, peace, and trust in 2016.