Trust, the confidence you have about your partner’s character, ability, strength or truth is the cornerstone of all happy, successful relationships.
Within the context of your marriage or long-term, committed relationship, trust is feeling certain that your partner will do right by you and consistently provide you with love, loyalty and devotion.
Unfortunately, no one is perfect and even the best of partners make mistakes at times. Mistakes that cause heartbreak and sorrow can shake your trust to the core and shatter your ability to feel safe in your marriage.
Although trust can be rebuilt, once it’s been lost it takes a lot of time and hard work to re-establish. Fortunately, if you do what’s necessary to rebuild trust, you’re likely to have a much stronger relationship as a result.
To rebuild trust in your marriage, consider the following:
- Set specific, tangible goals with your partner to get your relationship back on track. (e.g. Commit to a minimum of one date night every week.)
- Renew your commitment to each other, your love and your marriage by writing and sharing new vows.
- Express your hurt and anger without blame. Use “I” instead of “you”) so that you will actually be heard.
- Make it a habit to show empathy and compassion with one another. There is tremendous healing in the words “I understand, and I’m so sorry.”
- Share something new about yourself with your partner every day. Such as, “I’ll bet I haven’t told you that I used to dress up as a rainbow when I was in grade school’ or ‘You probably don’t know that I used to make a wish every time I ate an oreo cookie’.
- Be vulnerable with each other by communicating the fear underlying your hurt and anger. For example, say ‘I’m terrified of losing your love, instead of I can’t believe you did that to me.’
- Be open about everything and follow the principle of transparency where there are no secrets, private passwords or locked phones.
- Practice making statements instead of asking questions. This makes it safer for your partner to open up. You might consider saying, “I felt really good about the conversation we had last night… instead of “What did you think of the conversation we had last night?
- When your partner says something you disagree with or dislike, think about it for a moment and say, “You know, I’d never thought about it like that before.” There is a lot of power in being open to your partner’s opinions and suggestions. It makes you easier to open up to and confide in.
- Really listen to one another without formulating a response in your head. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and be attentive and non-judgmental.
Be patient with one another while you put these changes in place and don’t lose hope.
If you work steadfastly to rebuild the trust in your marriage or long-term, committed relationship, it’s only a matter of time before you succeed.