Keeping The Structure Of Your Marriage Sound

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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I realized that I had blown it. Not big-time-blown-it, but blown it, none the less.

A few days ago I told my wife I was going to do one thing but then did something different. If I told you what it was you would probably say that wasn’t that big of a deal. Here goes: I told her that I would be home longer in the morning to help get kids off to school but then decided that, because of a growing workload, I needed to head to my office earlier.

It would have been easy to blow it off and go on with my day (which I kind of did, at first). After all, she said everything was okay and that she understood. But later on, as I drove, I began to think about my decision. I instantly realized how that might have sounded from her end of the decision. I pulled my phone out and sent my wife a text that simply said, “I’m really sorry I told you one thing this morning and then did another. That was a lack of integrity on my part. I love you.”

Because my wife is one of the greatest examples of grace I know, she replied, “That’s okay, I love you too!”

You may be caught off guard by one portion of what I said to her- “That was a lack of integrity on my part.” Huh? Integrity? What in the world does that have to do with my decision? Did I fail morally in some way? Did I lie, steal or cheat and then cover it up?

No. My decision to change what I had originally promised my wife I was going to do was not a moral failure. Nor was it unethical, illegal, or a flaw in my character. But, it was a hiccup in my integrity as a husband. I have learned this lesson time and time again to the point that I’m writing this entirely from a plethora of experience. I’m ashamed to say it but it’s true!

Still confused? Let me explain.

If you look up the word integrity in Webster’s Dictionary you would find this definition at the top of the list: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Definitely what integrity is. And, definitely what comes to nearly everyone’s mind when you mention the word integrity.

But the very next definition of the word is this: “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.”

Whole, entire, or undiminished. This definition, I find very interesting.

In Dr. Henry Cloud‘s book Integrity (Harper Collins, 2008) he makes a very interesting point about integrity. First off, the entire book is written from the angle that integrity is “the courage to meet the demands of reality.” But he goes on to say in one portion of the book that “When we are talking about integrity, we are talking about being a whole person, an integrated person, with all of our different parts working well and delivering the functions that they were designed to deliver. It’s about wholeness and effectiveness as people.”

Integration means connection. When something is integrated it is fully connected. “We integrated our management team with our sales team so they would constantly be on the same page.” “Our elementary ministry is now integrated with our student ministry. That way, when a kid graduates from elementary into middle school, the transition is seamless.” The same is true in marriage. When you’re integrated with your spouse, you are connected to them. This is more than just physical connection. It’s a connection to their emotions.

When you talk about wholeness, entirety, or being undiminished as a part of integrity, it’s simple: we live whole and complete lives when we live out what we say we are or who we say we will be. When we took our vows on our wedding day, we promised our spouse something. We promised to be the one person who would always be there, through thick and thin, good times or bad. We promised to do what we said we would do!

Let me circle back around to how I began this post. I defied integrity because I failed to do what I said I would do. There was no moral failure, but there was a weakening of the structure so to speak. My gut check here is that these little defiances, left unchecked or unmanaged, could add up, and spread through the entire structure, weakening vital parts as they go. Things such as, trust, reliability, support, emotional health, and even spiritual health.

Having integrity in your marriage is huge. Actually doing what you say you will do is a big deal, regardless of how big or small the occurrence is. I am learning this lesson every single day I’m married. It’s all part of the growth process as a spouse (and even a parent!).

Do you have integrity in your marriage? What about with your kids? Do you actually do what you say you’re going to do?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.