Rebuilding Trust — There could be one important step you missed that will finally set you free
The question that is asked by most couples who have had their trust broken in their relationship, is, how do I trust them again?
To rebuilt trust in your relationship, you’re going to have to put in the leg work, even if you weren’t the offender. Yes, unfortunately, you have to work at trusting someone again—it won’t just appear out of nowhere, and it’s not only up to the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness has to take place, the walls that were built need to be torn down, and boundaries need to be set.
Find out how you can take this important step so you can trust one another and have a healthy relationship once again. But first, let’s talk about what trust is, and hidden reasons as to why it might be hard fro you to trust your spouse.
Building trust in a marriage - how society plays a key role in mistrust
Trust is one of, if not the most important aspects of any relationship. Unfortunately, it's the hardest to establish, especially if that trust has been broken.
Tabloids, social media, movies and TV shows, all are indicators of the direction in which our society has gone when it comes to being faithful or having integrity.
Any show or movie you watch today won't let you escape the mistrust, lies, and affairs of the characters, and I can't help but notice a certain numbness sets in. Our society has almost brought a playfulness to it - condoning it, yet not blatantly.
We also see that the characters actors play, are not far off from how they are in real life. Everyone is cheating, divorcing, and moving from one relationship to the next.
Unfortunately, our culture places celebrities or influencers on a silver platter. These are the people some of us idolize—the people we put our trust in for political decisions, relationship advice, and parenting. Do you see anything wrong with this picture?
It’s with these veiled societal acceptances I begin to question—are we as a society becoming numb to how we treat one another when it comes to marriage, commitment, and so-forth?
No one stays married anymore, either because someone in the relationship has cheated, or they just don’t “love” the other person anymore. In some cases, happiness is a defining factor as to how long one stays married. If we aren’t happy, we give up and move on to the next person who we hope makes us happy again.
Instead of searching for contentment, which is the only thing that can enable us to be happy, we are searching for happiness in all the wrong places. In the name of society, this is all deemed normal, and as broken families begin to grow, we are trying to find ways to cope; ways to be happy.
It’s time to look at things from a distance, and stop letting society and culture define our perceptions of one another, as well as our decisions we make when it comes to relationships.
The importance of trust in a marriage
Why broken trust doesn’t alway point to infidelity
Trust being broken doesn't necessarily mean that one of you in the relationship has done something terrible, like being unfaithful or lying.
When we start a relationship with someone, trust is formed and grown from day one. Let's call these "Trust Tanks." Starting out, our trust tanks are empty. We don't know that person yet, so there is no basis or foundation of trust.
As you get to know one another, these tanks start to fill up. A woman's trust is very emotionally driven. When a guy shows you he wants to take care of you, keep you from crying, protect you, understand you, and love you every single day no matter what, then he is filling your trust tank.
Men are more factually driven—his trust tank is filled when you respect him by showing him you are grateful, dependable, supportive, and encouraging of who he is as a man.
Men and women are very different in how their trust tank is filled, similar to how we each feel loved.
It's no wonder those aspects, whether fulfilled or not, play a huge role in how much we trust or mistrust someone.
Let's say you or your partner haven't committed any sort of infidelity, yet you have no trust for one another. Yes, it's possible. By not meeting one another's needs in filling those trust tanks, we are in essence breaking our trust with one another. Soon, expecting the best will be a thing of the past. We will be operating off of mistrust, and when you let that creep into any relationship, you are in for a disaster.
The Most Important Steps to Take to Rebuild Trust in Your Marriage
Is it possible to stay in a marriage without trust?
I'm not going to touch on how to build trust up again specifically after infidelity, but just include that in your mind if it's happened to you. Let's just come from a standpoint that you don't have trust in your relationship, and it doesn't quite matter how you got there.
Let's say you don't have an ounce of trust left in your love tank. Your partner has let you down in more ways than you can count, and you've just had enough. Is there still hope for you? YES! Not only is there hope, there is something YOU can do.
It's really the best place to be if you think about it. You don't have to sit around and wait for your partner to change. Like many things I talk about here on Word From The Bird, I will always come at the issue or problem you have from a standpoint of, "what are YOU going to do about it?"
Unfortunately, so many relationships are broken because we aren't willing to own up to our part of the problem. We end that relationship without self-reflecting. What happens is, once we get into another relationship, the same problems occur. It could be a measly 2%, but still, it's your part.
What lack of trust in a marriage does to your self confidence.
A common occurrence in relationships where trust has been broken is the damage it does to your self-confidence. Many people may become insecure because of the lack of security they have in their relationship. Because trust is something that builds us up, when it's broken, it will begin to psychologically and emotionally tear us down.BUT it's not our partner's responsibility to build our confidence in who we are.
You have to stop looking at your marriage as your identity — it’s not. You are your own person, and looking at yourself through God’s eyes is the only way you should view yourself.
In my ebook Beautiful Me, I go in-depth on practical steps you can take to not only heal from those wounds inflicted on you by your loved one but also gain awareness of who you are, recognize your potential, and identity lies you might be believing about yourself. It's an in-depth guide to give you hope as well as help you begin to trust others once again.
The most important step to take to rebuild trust - forgive
By growing personally and working on what you need to address, all aspects of your life will begin to change for the better, including your relationships. Not only will it help the situation you're currently in, but it will also change your perspective on how you look at things.
What does forgiveness have to do with it?
Before I get to the surest way of how to rebuild trust, I want to take you through the first in your journey of trust—forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a fickle thing. When we don't forgive, we ultimately sabotage our best efforts in trusting. Forgiveness is often misperceived in many ways, so I want to address that for a second.
Forgiveness is not:
· Going to release your offender of any consequences of what they did to you.
· Forgetting what happened to you. Unfortunately, the wounds in our lives will leave scars.
· Forgiving only when asked for forgiveness.
· Forgiving only when we feel like it.
I know that some of those sound harsh, but I am living proof that if you CHOOSE to forgive, even when you don't feel like it, your feelings will eventually follow suit. If we wait for our feelings to decide to forgive, we won't get anywhere. And guess what? Your unforgiveness is hurting you more than anyone!
Listen carefully; this is where it gets good.
Another important aspect of trust in your relationship, is to make sure you are filling your partner's trust tank, even if they aren't filling yours. Is that easy? Nope.
In fact, it may be one of the hardest things you will ever do. But think about it. Are you, every single day, making your best effort to fill your spouse's trust tank? If not, how are you any better in being a trustworthy person?
Just because they may have done something "worse" doesn't mean you're off the hook. Do your part! I guarantee, your partner will see it. Not only will it begin to change your heart, it just might change theirs. Do you tend to be more loving towards someone who is lovable or someone who is awful to you? Exactly. The same goes for trust.
Staying in a marriage without trust
Why setting boundaries after trust has been broken is important
If you have decided to stay in your marriage, even though it’s lacking trust, you still need to consider what needs to be done to protect yourself from getting hurt again.
Unfortunately, there is risk in getting your heart broken. But there are some important steps you can take and boundaries to set to do your best in protecting your heart. You’re worth it — God hates ever bit of you being treated in a way that is unloving or disrespectful.
To be clear on some things, I want to also address what trust is NOT.
Let's go back to the fact that forgiveness will not release the offender of consequences. There will always be consequences to broken trust, and unfortunately, you may be the one to suffer the most.
So where do boundaries come in to play? They come when we understand exactly what is expected and what trust isn't.
Trust is NOT:
Letting that person who broke your trust walk all over you and continues in their ways. Even though we can't control what they do, we can control the boundaries we set in place. Obviously, this looks different for everyone, but figure out what it is you won't tolerate, set those boundaries, and stick to them. If they can't follow through and respect those boundaries, then figure out what your next step will be, and seek counsel on it.
Letting your offender off the hook in proving they are trustworthy. In order for you to trust them again, they need to show they are trustworthy through their actions, NOT WORDS. They need to earn your trust!
Assuming they are lying and not believing them at all, no matter what they say. It's a frustrating feeling when someone has lied to you so much you don't know if you can ever believe a word they say. But if you start operating out of assumption and not facts when it comes to trust, they will never feel like they can ever earn your trust again. It may hurt and they may break that trust again, but if you don't take a step of faith, the trust will never come.