There are many reasons that trust can be broken in a marriage. Any circumstance where one partner is keeping secrets form the other can be cause for trust to be lost. When this happens, whether it be an affair, abuse, financial issues, etc., in order to work it out and move forward, the offending party has some work to do.
If you’re the one who messed up, here are a few ways to start rebuilding trust:
STOP!: The first step to rebuilding trust in your relationship is to stop the offending behavior. No-brainer right?
Take Responsibility: Own up to your mess. Don’t blame your spouse, job, the weather… it was your bad decision or decisions that led you here. Being accountable for your actions is an essential element in this process.
Talk: Understand that your spouse may want details about the situation. Your willingness to offer that information, however much they are asking for, is essential to rebuilding trust. Being unwilling to answer your spouses questions or lying will only make the situation worse. As much as this step is about giving your spouse the info they need, this is also a good opportunity for you to sincerely and openly express your feelings. Try to set aside specific times to talk about the problem so that it doesn’t become your only topic of conversation and consume the relationship. It may be a good idea to enlist the help of a counselor, therapist, spiritual leader or other mediator to help you all work through your issue.
Have Patience: Moving forward is a process. Your spouse will need time to work through his or her feelings about the betrayal. Continue doing what you can to repair the damage and check in frequently with your spouse about the state of your relationship.
These suggestions are by no means exhaustive. Every couple is different and one person may need more reassurance in certain areas than another. The point is, rebuilding trust is not as easy as saying you’re sorry and moving on.
BMWK: What are some ways you’ve used to rebuild trust after it’s been broken?