How to Rebuild Trust in a Marriage

So if you know me and my husband (we both have blogs on here) you know we have had nothing but trying times over our entire 4 yrs of marriage.  It’s been one thing after another after another.  It’s like we can’t get a break at all.  Between all of the financial burdens and vengeful ex’s, arrears, unemployment, trying to be a blended family and outsiders…. the trust has been shaken to the core.  Today I came across an article that made me stop and think about a few things.  I thought I’d share it with you all.

Trust is a tricky thing. It is the foundation of every healthy relationship. It is the security that makes intimacy possible. It can be simultaneously strong and yet very fragile. It takes great effort and time to build, but it can be broken quickly.

Almost every relationship has encountered difficulties over broken trust. I would even argue that most difficulties in relationships stem directly from a breach of trust. Strong relationships (especially marriages) require strong trust, so here are a few ways to to build it (or rebuild it).

1. Don’t keep secrets.

In marriage, secrets are as dangerous as lies. Your spouse should have a “master key” to every part of your life. Never have a conversation you wouldn’t want them to hear, view a website you wouldn’t want them to see or go someplace you wouldn’t want them to know about. Complete transparency is vital to building complete trust.

I used to be a firm believer of letting each other have their own space.  Don’t be demanding and don’t be all up in their business.  I guess I’m still kind of a believer in this but lesson’s learned are teaching me that it’s not always the best case scenario.  My husband and I have all passwords now to each other’s social websites, emails and cell phones.  This came after several incidents that proved to be trying on our trust factors.  I will admit that one of the issue’s I have is I don’t tell him everything.  I don’t see it as lying, if it’s something that I know will upset him or piss him off ESPECIALLY if it’s something he can do nothing about.  Why cause him extra hardships then?  He does not agree with me on this.  Now before you go off on me about it, I feel this way for him too.  If something happens that I can do nothing about and is not a life changing event (say someone sends him a sexy email and he just deletes it with no response to them) then I don’t want to know.  It’s not that I want to live blindly, it’s just that I have so much other stresses in my daily life, I really don’t want one’s that really don’t  need my attention.  


2. Recognize the difference between forgiveness and trust.

Forgiveness and trust are two different things. When you’ve been wronged, you should give forgiveness instantly (which is “Grace”), but you should give your trust slowly (which is “common sense!”). Forgiveness by it’s very nature cannot be earned; it can only be given. Trust by it’s very nature cannot be given; it can only be earned. Forgiveness has to come first and then grace can pave the way to restoration and renewed trust.

This one is another one that I have a major problem doing.  I’ve lived through so much in my life that forgiveness does not come easily to me.  It’s not his fault, it’s mine.  My own demons come in to play and I get stuck in a battle of forgiving him and myself, if that makes any sense.  As for giving my trust slowly.. yeah there is no problem with that.  


3. Don’t retaliate.

When we’ve been wronged, we usually have an urge to punish the person who wronged us. We want them to feel the pain that they have caused us, but this kind of thinking hurts everyone involved and damages trust even more. It’s been said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies!” When you’ve been wronged in a relationship, give clear and specific guidelines for how trust can be restored, but don’t punish the other person.

This one was like WOW.. is this guy in my head?  When I get hurt I tend to strike back like a rattlesnake.  I want the other person to feel the pain I am feeling.  I want them to know how bad it feels.  I know EXACTLY where this stems from too.  My first 2 marriages were to very abusive very violent men.  No matter what I said to them, they never felt any pain when it came to me.  It didn’t hurt them to hurt me, it didn’t bother them in the least when my love died for them.  Because of that it made me feel like I was just totally unworthy of the most basic thing in the world.. love.  These men from my past taught me to try to hurt as I have been hurt.  Now that I’m married to a man who is sensitive and is hurt by words and emotions I have to remind myself that by saying these mean hateful things or doing mean hateful actions it does hurt him.  It’s a learning process to me.. because to me words mean nothing anymore.


4. Be consistent.

When you are in a process of rebuilding trust, do your very best to be consistent in your words and your actions. Consistency brings security and security eventually brings trust.

I would agree with this.. ESPECIALLY the actions part.  Unless of course those actions are the ones that keep causing the problems.. then stop.. 


5. Be willing to temporarily give up some freedoms.

When an arm is broken, it has to be put in a cast to restrict its motion so it can have time to heal. When you’ve broken trust, you must be willing to temporarily give up certain freedoms and accept certain restrictions to allow time for healing. This is usually the most uncomfortable part of the process, but it’s vital.

Agreed.  My only issue with this is, if the other person is insistent that whatever it is really isn’t a problem, that you are crazy.. then by forcing them to give it up is not going to solve the problem.  It’s only going to make it worse because that other person is going to harbor resentment to you.  If they honestly don’t see it as a problem , that means they are in denial and nothing you do or say is going to make them see that.  It’s something they have to discover on their own and until then, it’s beating a dead horse. 


6. Keep the Love alive.

The Bible says that, “Love covers over a multitude of sins.” I love that picture of love being strong enough to cover our imperfections and fill in the cracks of our broken hearts. Keep loving each other and allow God to use the power of love and grace to bring wholeness and healing to your relationship.

This one I have a problem with too, simply because once you’ve burned me my walls go up.  I’ve been hurt one to many times in my past to freely give my love.  If you hurt me over and over (even if it’s not intended.. my favorite line is “The road to hell is paved with the best intentions”) then my walls will go up higher and higher and chances are you’ll never be able to break them all down again.  I will always guard my heart.  Only your actions will prove whether or not my whole heart returns.



One thought on “How to Rebuild Trust in a Marriage

  1. You said most of what I would say. I will say forgiveness is easy for me depending on what is done and who the person is and if I want to forgive them. I try not to retailiate in my marriage because it just causes a bigger rift. To me I’m the opposite, words mean everything to me, action mean a lot but words mean more because I know things can happen that can alter actions or prevent good intent actions from happening. I don’t believe in the denial thing. Just because someone disagrees they don’t have a problem doesn’t mean they do and are in denial. It could mean that but it’s not all inclusive. The other person can just have a narrower view of the definition. People can disagree on a definition of something. Because one person says you have this or are this and the other disagrees doesn’t mean “oh well they are in denial” no matter what they do that may prove your definition of it. As for number 6 I can agree with their view of this. If I love someone enough I tend to let go pretty quickly of why I was angry because I love them.

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