Trust is the foundation of any intimate relationship. There’s an old saying that goes: “trust is a fragile thing; easy to break, easy to lose, and one of the hardest things to get back.” It sounds cliché, but it couldn’t be more applicable in today’s society where more and more marriages end up in divorce. When the trust is broken, it seems as though the marriage is over. However, that is not always the case because many couples have rekindled their relationship even after the trust is broken. Make sure you know how to regain trust in a marriage if you want to save your relationship from eventual divorce.
How to Regain Trust in a Marriage
Trust can be broken in many ways; it doesn’t have to be just because of infidelity. It could be having a secret credit card or staying late with friends while pretending to be at work. Whatever the cause of this compromised sense of confidence in your relationship, there is hope.
Fortunately for you (and for most relationships), it’s usually not the end of the road; that is if you can muster the courage and prove that you are worthy of a second chance. While flowers, chocolates, and gifts can help steer you in the right direction, the process could be arduous and long yet completely doable.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to know how to regain trust in a marriage.
Own up to your mistakes
The first step to deserving any forgiveness is to accept responsibility for your mistakes; so own up and apologize. Whether through writing or through a meaningful conversation (or multiple conversations), it is important that you show remorse when expressing your apology.
The worst thing you can do is to try to justify or offer some kind of lame excuse to explain why you did what you did. That will never help when asking for forgiveness.
Be willing to work on your relationship
It takes two to tango, the same as keeping a relationship. Asking for forgiveness alone is not enough, you have to show your partner you are willing to work on yourself and work on your relationship. This could mean a lot of things such as going to a family and marriage counseling, etc. So step forward and show commitment.
Give your partner time
Even after you apologize and start to pick up the pieces, your partner may not feel ready yet. As said earlier, it will be a long and arduous task. It will definitely take time for your partner to come to terms with the betrayal.
Don’t be discouraged, people process things differently. You might feel you need to talk about the problem right away, but your partner may need more time, maybe days, if not weeks to process the problem.
The key is to give your partner all the time he/she needs. Never pressure them into discussing anything about your relationship before he/she is ready.
Consider asking for guidance from unbiased and supportive people, like a close friend, family member, or better yet, a counselor.
Let your partner’s needs guide you
You may not know what to do or where to start, that’s a common dilemma. Take cues from your partner; he/she may need time before discussing things with you, and if this happens, he/she may also ask for some physical space.
This can be difficult, but respecting your partner’s boundaries is part of the long and arduous process that you both need to go through.
Moreover, your partner may ask for more communication and transparency from you. If you are committed to saving your relationship, and you’ve got nothing more to hide, then you must have no problem sharing your computer and phone with your partner.
Subsequently, if you believe you have both made progress in rebuilding your relationship, and you don’t feel comfortable being monitored in your activities and communications constantly, then it would really help if you take a couple’s counselor for help.
Commit to open and clear communication
Realize that breaking the trust is more than just the act you committed. Your partner has invested emotion, time in you, and has exposed his/her own vulnerability. Now, their image of you has been tarnished; there is uncertainty, if not fear that you will commit the mistake again. This will cause your partner to question his/her own choices in your relationship. So listen to what your partner has to say. Do not oversimplify or minimize the mistake you made. Listen and commit to open and clear communication without being defensive.
Earning back your partner’s trust takes time. The last thing you want to do is rush the process. Yes, it is not fun having an angry partner under the same roof, but it is you who caused your partner pain; he/she is entitled to feel angry. You need to respect that.
There will be times that you feel your relationship has stalled, other times it may feel you have accomplished a lot, and are moving forward, it can be really confusing. But this rollercoaster is part of the process.
Your partner doesn’t owe you his/her trust once you have broken it. With compassion and humility, you need to be willing to earn it. Repair with an open mind and heart, and be willing to open up to your partner.
Final Tip on How to Regain Trust in a Marriage
As said earlier, it takes two to tango. You can do all the good things to try to salvage your relationship, but if your partner is unwilling, then there is nothing much you can do about it.
While there is hope, broken trust is difficult to rebuild. Your partner may not forgive you entirely, or if they do, he/she will never forget it. That is a fact you need to accept. You can only do your best, but you can never guarantee the outcome that you want.
Realize that things may never be the same again. However, also realize that now is the time to make the new normal for you and your partner.