Sometimes people we love and care about the most will hurt us by breaking our trust. Sometimes we end up being the ones doing the hurting. When trust is broken in a marriage, it’s important to repair the relationship by being intentional. Whether the trust was broke by lying, infidelity, deceit, words, or back-stabbing, it’s important that the rebuilding process begins immediately.
Increase and improve communication
It may be hard to talk to your spouse, especially if you are the one who was hurt. When your partner breaks trust, it’s important to talk about what happened and why. Bad things can happen when you stuff feelings, build walls up, or avoid the elephant in the room. Because of the hurt, make sure you are talking about your feelings, and communicating your needs to your spouse. Work on increasing vulnerability, even if it feels hard or uncomfortable. If you were the person who broke the trust, make sure you are available to hear and validate your spouse.
Be available and consistent
If you broke trust, make sure that your actions and your words match. Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping, as this will only continue to break down your relationship. Help the other person feel secure and important. This is not a time to be selfish or to make it all about you.
Be willing to be open and honest with the other person from here on out. Don’t keep secrets from your spouse. Your spouse should have access to all areas of your life, and you should be willing to allow them an “open door policy” whenever they choose.
Work towards forgiveness
It’s important to commit to forgiving your spouse when they’ve hurt you. Not forgiving allows anger, bitterness, and resentment to fester between the two of you. Even if you’re not ready to forgive them right this second, commit to working towards it. Remember that forgiveness does not equal trust.
Be willing to give up freedoms
This is temporary. Sometimes you have to give up freedoms when you’ve broken trust. This is a natural consequence of hurting someone you care about. Have patience with your hurting spouse and realize that they need some time. Accept that you may have to be more accountable with your time, whereabouts, etc. depending on how the trust was broke.
If you are the spouse who was hurt, you may have thoughts of wanting to hurt your partner in retaliation. This never ends well. Don’t punish your spouse or try to bring about the same type of pain for them. Instead, work to give them specific instructions on what you need from them, and communicate your emotions in a productive way.
Don’t give up!
It takes time to rebuild trust in a marriage. It’s not realistic to put a timeline on it. Make sure you check in with each other daily to make sure you are both communicating and doing things to move the trust in a more positive direction. Finally, if you get stuck, please reach out for help!
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.