Rebuilding Trust In Marriage (3 Key Principles)

When your trust has been broken, it can be from any number of things. It could be that your spouse lies continually, and finally, it’s just too much. Or, you discover your spouse is gambling and has put you in financial distress. It even could be that your spouse is having an affair. Whatever the circumstance is, trust was broken.

So, can you even trust your spouse again? Some people will say, “No, once they have lied to you, then you can never trust them again.” But if you think about that, consider the fact that you’ve probably lied somewhere along the line. Does that mean that you have become a liar? Not necessarily. Therefore, if your spouse has done something that violated your trust, know that it IS still possible to trust again, but doing so requires 3 specific principles.

So if you’re wondering, “How can I learn to trust again when my spouse broke my trust?” Or, “When trust is violated, can you get it back again?” Pay attention to these three things.

1. You Need To Make A Decision

First, decide that you’re willing to “risk it” again with your spouse.  Think it through, and ask yourself the following questions:

“Am I willing to trust my spouse again?”

“Am I willing to take the risk that I may be hurt again?”

Is the answer yes? Or, are you not sure yet? Take some time to think these questions through. You need to decide that you’re going to trust your spouse again before jumping into the following two principles. 

2. Your Spouse Must Understand The Pain They Caused & Be Willing To Make Changes

Second, your spouse who broke your trust must understand the pain they caused. They must be sorry, willing to make changes, and ready to rebuild the trust again. (And, better your relationship!)

Even if you’re willing to trust again, to take that risk, and your spouse doesn’t get it, they don’t understand how much they hurt you… If they’re not willing to make whatever changes they need to make, it’s difficult to trust them again. 

For example, if they say, “Oh yeah, I did bad, but let’s just go ahead. Just forget about it. Move on. Everything’s fine.” No, instead they have to understand the pain they’ve caused you to the degree that they’re willing to make whatever changes they need to make. If they won’t do that, it’s almost impossible to rebuild trust.

3. You Need To Create STOPs

Third, criteria must be made using STOPs- safeguards that offer protection. These safeguards are practical and reasonable to protect your relationship as you rebuild trust.

For example, let’s say your trust was broken because your spouse was gambling secretly and this gambling led to a financial burden. One safeguard to offer overprotection might be, “I need to be able to see where every penny or money goes. I need to be able to have access to every penny of my money.”

Here’s another example, if your spouse was unfaithful, you may set up a STOP as, “I need access to know where you are and what you’re doing, to the point where it might even be uncomfortable for you. But if I’m going to be able to trust you again, I need to know where you are. This is because when I thought I knew where you were, you were actually seeing this other person.”

And, don’t try to control your spouse.

Remember, in setting a STOP, you are NOT trying to control your spouse. No one likes feeling controlled, and it does not help your relationship. A safeguard should not be something where you try to control the other person. Remember the first principle was, you’ve gotta be willing to risk it again. That means you’re not going to become a mother or father for your spouse- you’re not going to be the person that’s a dictator over the other person. You can’t rebuild trust if you have to watch everything they do every minute.

What STOP would be best for your situation? Ask a Coach!

For more specific help based on your marriage situation, connect with a Marriage Helper Coach!

Our marriage coaches want your marriage to be saved and can give you guidance in a one-on-one way, unique to your situation. (Marriage Coaching can also be done as a couple.)

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