Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. This goes double for marriage. The feeling of security allows people to feel a deeper connection and gives them the drive and strength to endure tough times together. It’s a two-way street and the glue that holds a marriage together. But trust doesn’t happen overnight. It is created in small moments. It has to be earned through time and effort. And once it’s broken, it can be difficult to get back. This is why staying in a marriage without trust is extremely difficult.
Being able to trust each other is the key to a healthy and happy married life. It is impossible for two people to stick together (happily) in a relationship or a happy, fulfilling and healthy marriage without complete trust.
So, how exactly do you build trust?
As said earlier, trust is created in small moments. Over time, these small moments grow and become the foundation of the relationship.
Building trust in a marriage is not rocket science. It simply requires honesty, commitment to each other, showing respect, learning to adjust values to accommodate each other, keeping an open line of communication, and more importantly, creating an emotional safety blanket for each other. That’s a handful of guidelines, but if you love each other, these will be easy.
Trust and marriage
Being able to talk about anything with your spouse is a great feeling. It gives you the freedom to fully express yourself. Trust allows you to feel secure enough to be vulnerable.
With trust, communication becomes easier and disagreements are resolved faster. This is because you have each other’s best interest in mind.
Trusting your special someone provides comfort, reduces insecurities, worries, anxieties, and stress.
With trust, you feel safe and secure to bare your souls to each other. You feel comfortable being naked, not just physically, but emotionally. Knowing someone deeply and having someone who knows you truly is a special feeling.
What happens after betrayal?
Betrayal comes in many forms. It can be subtle and discrete or a big and loud bang. You feel betrayed when you cannot depend on your partner for different things, and this is what breaks trust.
Constant lying, extra marital affairs, financial perfidy, emotional affairs, constantly contacting past partners, and insecurities, all of these can stain a happy marriage and cause distrust. Infidelity in particular can cause consequential effects, not just to the couple with the differences, but also to children and family.
It is human instinct to ask questions after finding out you were betrayed. And you will have lots of questions. The most common question would be “how will I trust this person again?” Or in the case of the offender, “how will I gain this person’s trust again?”
Divorce is the easy way out. But if you value and love each other, you will fight for your relationship.
While it is difficult, it is absolutely possible to completely rebuild trust. As said earlier, trust is built in small moments. And when it comes to rebuilding, it requires a lot of these small moments. It requires commitment to move forward towards each other. It’s a long process without a fixed deadline. The good news is it can be done.
Here are three tested and proven ways to rebuild trust in your marriage:
As said earlier, trust takes time to build. Rebuilding it could take longer. But there’s no secret of how to do it. You can start by being completely honest to each other.
Be truthful when communicating with your partner. Do not minimize or exaggerate anything.
Tell your partner when you are hurt by his/her words and actions. More importantly, take responsibility for your own words, actions, and emotions. It may be uncomfortable, even painful, but the biggest component of rebuilding trust after a betrayal is to be completely honest to your partner about the situation.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and be sincere and honest in your communication.
Give each other a chance to talk and pay attention to the things being said. Apologize sincerely and learn to forgive. You may get upset or feel emotional during these types of conversation, and that is completely fine. These emotions are valid. But try to communicate productively as much as possible. You may need to take a break before going back to the topic.
Consistency in words and actions
There’s a good chance you know someone, a colleague or friend, who promises to show up but flakes out with no good reasons or advance notice whatsoever. Over time, you start to lower your expectations of this person and you learn to not put any weight on their words. This is something you don’t want in your marriage, especially when you are in the process of rebuilding trust.
Keep your words and act on your promises. Be accountable and follow through with the things you said you are going to do. Let your actions reflect your words. The last thing you want is to feel unsafe from lies. So if you want to be trustworthy and reliable, you need to be consistent in your actions and words. Show your spouse he/she can count on you.
Move forward together
You or your partner may need some time and space before discussing what happened. This means giving each other physical space.
This could be difficult and may feel counterintuitive, since you want to be with each other as much as possible. However, respecting boundaries and giving each other a chance to grow is a great way to move forward.
Once you have fully discussed the problem (betrayal), it is best to put the issue aside and move forward together. Certainly you will have arguments in the future. It will be tempting to bring up the past, but that is not a good idea for either of you.
When you both decide to give your relationship a second chance, you are also deciding to trust each other again. Meaning, you are implying you will give trust a chance to rebuild.
Go easy on constantly checking in on your partner to make sure he/she isn’t lying again, or doing things they aren’t supposed to do. This will not be easy, and you will definitely find it hard to let go. Maybe you still don’t completely trust your partner.
It takes time to come to terms after trust has been broken, so give each other time.
Also, remember that each person processes things differently. You may want to talk right away, but your partner may not feel ready yet. This could be days, if not weeks, or months. The important thing is to avoid the pressure. Apologize for your mistakes and let your spouse know you are ready whenever he/she is.