One of the hardest things I ever encounter as a Marriage Therapist is the couple where trust has been broken. One partner is typically heartbroken and angry, while the other is guilty and scared. Both generally feel helpless.
Has trust in your relationship been broken? Are you wondering how to rebuild it? We typically think about extramarital affairs, but honestly there are many ways to breach trust. Maybe you’ve discovered your partner’s ongoing porn habit. Perhaps you, yourself, have been keeping a secret bank account.
Strong marriages require strong trust as a foundation. Here are some ideas to get back on track:
- First and foremost, if you’re the one who has broken trust, OWN it! You must take responsibility for your actions—no excuses. Ask for forgiveness and pledge to do whatever it takes to rebuild trust.
- If you’re the one needing to forgive, DO IT. Forgiveness paves the road toward rebuilding trust. Forgiveness is given, but trust needs to be earned.
- Be patient. Rebuilding trust requires time and consistency.
- Be consistent…both in your words and in your actions.
- Be willing to temporarily give up some freedoms. Think about how when your arm is broken it must be restricted in a cast in order to heal. This might come in the form of your wife needing to look at your cell phone or your husband having the password to your bank account.
- Swallow your pride and do whatever’s necessary to rebuild your partner’s trust.
- Have complete transparency. Secrets kill intimacy. Don’t visit websites, have conversations or go anywhere that you wouldn’t want your partner to know about. Pick a trusted friend or therapist to help you stay accountable and keep you on the right track with your behavior.
- Don’t be a repeat offender. This makes it much harder for your partner to start trusting you again.
- Seek professional help if you aren’t able to fix it alone. Marriage Therapists know how to help you have the healing conversations required for rebuilding trust once broken.
You’ll know that you are succeeding, when your partner relaxes, stops checking up on you, and believes what you say. Don’t give up! If you follow these suggestions, stay committed and consistent, trust will slowly rebuild and your relationship will improve.