We’re halfway through the 5-Week Marriage Tune Up! I hope your marriage is getting stronger and you are discovering ways to enhance your relationship. This week our focus is TRUST. It has been said that trust takes a long time to build and a short time to destroy. Trust is fully believing your spouse without any pretense. This means when they say they love you, you believe them. When they say, they are working late, you believe them. When they say they don’t have any money stashed away somewhere, you believe them. We should all enter marriage built on complete trust. If you have doubts about them, this is a red flag and cause to assess your relationship. However, for the sake of this blog, we’re going to assume your relationship was built on trust.
If you trust your spouse, there’s no need to withhold anything. Secrets are cause for mistrust and open the door for doubt and questions. If you have nothing to hide, be totally open and honest and with your spouse. If they ask, give them an honest answer. Over time, this will make your relationship stronger. If you have something to hide, that’s a problem and it should be addressed quickly.
Insecurities rob relationships of trust. If you don’t value or esteem yourself, it’s difficult to receive love. Make sure you are not rejecting love from your spouse because you are second-guessing their motives or waiting for the other shoe to fall. This is not a healthy way to share your life with someone. Be confident in the person God created you to be and know that your spouse loves you for who you are.
Sometimes, trust is lost or damaged during the course of the marriage. How do you rebuild trust? How do you put your doubts aside when you have been misled or hurt? This is difficult but not impossible. It takes baby steps and a commitment from both people to rebuild trust. For the spouse who caused the mistrust (i.e. affair, deception, lies, etc.), they should be totally open and honest with the other spouse. You must come clean and give a genuine, heartfelt apology. Allow your spouse to ask questions if they desire and give them a truthful answer. Don’t judge them for wanting to ask. Make a decision to change your behavior and remember actions speak louder than words. For the spouse who was on the receiving end of the mistrust, understand it’s okay to be hurt and to have doubts, but don’t allow yourself to wallow in it. Forgive your spouse and choose to move forward (if your spouse is willing to change their behavior). Don’t rehash the past. Ask questions if you want to know but be gentle. It is a difficult and vulnerable time for both people. (I understand this is not as easy as it sounds, but for the sake of not getting too long-winded, these are a few suggestions. You may even need to seek marital counseling to have an objective third party who can walk you through this journey.)
Just because trust has been damaged, never give up on your marriage. If both people are committed to making it work, your relationship can be even stronger than before. Spend time in prayer individually and as a couple and find encouraging scriptures. Nothing is impossible with God and He can make ALL things new!
Take the challenge to strengthen or rebuild trust in your marriage over the next seven days understanding that these will jump start the process, but it may take much longer for trust to be where you would like it to be.
Day 1: Take a personal, introspective look at yourself. Do you trust your spouse or do you find yourself questioning their motives and actions? Have insecurities robbed trust in your relationship? Evaluation and acknowledgement of the problem is the first step to rebuilding.
Day 2: If you are questioning the trust in your marriage or have doubts about your spouse’s ability to be trusted, think about what caused the mistrust. When did you begin having doubts? Was there just cause for the doubts or did you allow others to place doubts in your mind?
Day 3: If you fully trust your spouse, work on continuing to make that bond stronger through consistent communication. If you have discovered trust is lacking, have a discussion with your spouse and share your concerns. Be open and honest and careful not to be defensive or judgmental.
Day 4: Spend time together sharing each other’s goals and desires for the future. This will allow you to focus on your future and not the past. Where do you see your marriage in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years? What do you hope to have accomplished as a couple?
Day 5: Revisit any unresolved issues regarding trust in your relationship. Can the trust be repaired? Do we need to seek counseling? On a scale of 1 to 10, how deep are these issues? Is anything going on currently, that will weaken our bond of trust? If so, address these issues.
Day 6: Out of fear or because of mistrust, if you currently check your spouse’s phone, email, call their friends asking questions, call their job, etc. on a daily basis, don’t do it for a day. See if you can relinquish that control and trust your spouse.
Day 7: If you have resolved some trust issues in your relationship, celebrate. Celebrating small victories will help you get closer to bigger victories. If you haven’t resolved any issues yet, don’t give up. Keep working and you will get there. Keep communicating and keep moving forward.
Tune in next week for Part 4 in our 5 Week Marriage Tune Up! Share the Marriage Tune Up with other couples and establish accountability partners.
~Coletta Jones Patterson