In This Series:
Understand the Nature of TrustOne of the Old Testament words for trust (batach) has a meaning of “careless.” Think about it: When you trust your spouse, you feel so safe that you are careless—or free of concern—with him or her. You don’t have to hide who you are or be self-protective. Talk about this definition with your spouse. Ask yourselves, “Are we careless with each other? Or are we guarded in some ways?” It’s sometimes difficult to be vulnerable with your spouse, but doing so gives your mate a chance to love and understand you.
Be TrustworthyTrust isn’t given unconditionally. You have to be trustworthy to receive trust. Even Jesus submitted himself to the trust test, teaching people to see if He was really who He claimed: “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does” (John 10:37). What does that mean for you as a couple? It means checking with your spouse on how you affect him or her. Ask your mate, “In what ways have I not been trustworthy?” For example, perhaps you have been critical or harsh when your spouse admits a fault or weakness. This erodes trust and shows you can’t be trusted with more vulnerable parts of the heart. Or maybe you have not delivered on your promises. Asking your spouse for honest input will reveal areas that you may need to work on to build trust in your marriage.
Put an End to DeceptionTrust and truth go hand in hand. That is why deception of any sort is the biggest trust killer. There is no such thing as a white lie. Being honest with your spouse includes telling the truth about where you were, whom you talked to, what you said and where you spent money. Many marriages have been saved because both spouses committed to being honest, even if it involved painful truths.
Give Change a ChanceLet’s suppose your marriage has experienced a breach of trust already. The hurt from that experience can cause you to withdraw your heart and decide never to trust again. But don’t give up on your spouse. Give him or her a chance to earn your trust so that your marriage can be restored. But remember: There must be more than apologies. To earn your trust, your spouse needs to make some real changes. Maybe the offending spouse needs to join a support group or talk to a mentor. Maybe he or she needs to be more accountable to you and even accept consequences for bad behavior in the future. One couple I counseled experienced a crisis of trust that could have torn their marriage apart. The husband flirted with other women: waitresses, co-workers, even their mutual friends. He thought it was harmless until his wife told him how alone and scared it made her feel. He saw how it was affecting her, and he was a changed man. He told her, “If you see me being inappropriate with a woman again, tell me right there and I will stop.” He became more accountable, and she was finally able to trust her husband. Trust can be built and rebuilt, and couples can enjoy the intimacy that comes from being secure in each other’s love. *Names have been changed
Put the Pieces of Your Marriage Back Together
You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.