Rebuild Trust In 15 Steps
Your marriage has suffered, and a series of events has led you to a point where the trust is gone. It is not too late; it is possible to rebuild trust and restore your marriage. Use these 15 steps to repair your marriage, at least try. Because, how can you quit if you have not exhausted all of the possible mechanisms to restore the beautiful relationship you share.
I categorized the steps to get your marriage back on track into individual changes, changes in communication between you are your partner and working together as a team. These steps are not sequential, and you might have to repeat many of them. You two, and I know you most certainly, are worth the effort.
- Decide to commit to loving your spouse and try to break free from the past. Stop hyper-focusing in the events or the situation that broke the bond of trust you two once enjoyed.
- Choose to forgive or to be forgiven. Forgiveness does not mean you will forget past traumatic experiences; however, time coupled with forgiveness will soothe the pain substantially.
- Change your behavior. If one of you deceived, betrayed, cheated, lied, or was otherwise purposefully not transparent and honest, you will need to work. It would be best if you put forth a concerted effort and eventually change any behavior that is similar to that which was apparent when you were breaking the bond of trust — no more secrets, lies, infidelity, or similar evil behavior.
- Take responsibility for your choices, behaviors, and actions. Do not blame your spouse for your poor decisions. Two wrongs never make it right, nor does it provide an excuse for being hurtful. Taking a defensive posture will cause more harm as it perpetuates the negative and hinders restoration.
- Be open and willing to seek and participate in marriage/couples counseling actively. Professional therapy will provide you with a deeper understanding of the complex dynamic that resulted in a current low point in your relationship. Work to improve yourself by reading self-improvement books, listening to podcasts that address your particular situation, and the wealth of valuable information available on YouTube may surprise you. Do this alone and together as a couple so you can share and discover information together as you work to come back stronger than you have ever been.
Changes in Communication
- Meaningful and effective communication was likely not a component of your marriage when it fell apart. You and your spouse will need to rebuild this fundamental component and maybe even learn how to communicate with each other. Do not get discouraged if the person that you carelessly hurt asks many questions after you two have engaged in separate activities away from each other. It is reasonable and expected to ask questions about what, where, when, how, and with whom? Your life-partner is not trying to interrogate you; instead, they're trying to reassure and protect themselves from a repeat in your behavior. Please show compassion.
- Be honest when you talk to your mate. It is imperative that you understand why you willfully engaged in actions that you knew would destroy your relationship. Ultimately, it is best if you worked hard to understand why it happened and why it will not happen again. Answering difficult questions about your choices with "I do not know" is unacceptable and passive-aggressive. Other passive-aggressive behaviors such as stonewalling, procrastination, the silent treatment, undermining your partner and causing them material loss; and, overspending are all characteristics of a passive-aggressive narcissist. Not all passive-aggressive people are narcissists, nor are they all in dire need of mental therapy. However, if passive-aggressive behavior is a regular part of your life you might want to seek individual help from a therapist.
Be Kind, Show Empathy
- Allow yourself to become aware of your innermost feelings. Share these feelings with your spouse without fear. Comfort each other without concern for the roles you may have played in the past.
- If your spouse's past actions caused you pain, it is important to share that pain with your spouse. When your mate speaks to you about the pain you created, strive to be empathetic. It would be best if you worked to feel the pain you caused.
- When you and your partner are engaging in communication, give each other your full attention, put all distractions aside and listen with your heart.
- Strive to speak without using words, language, tone, or body language that may trigger conflict or intimidate your spouse. Instead of starting a sentence with an accusatory: "You are..." use "I feel like this in situations such as...." and avoid absolutes such as "always," "must," "never," and "should."
Work Together As A Team
- Work as a team to set goals for reestablishing your sacred commitment to each other ensuring that they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound, Evaluative and Revisable. Speak openly and frequently about these goals. Regularly evaluate your progress and discuss revisions when appropriate.
- Put all of your resources and effort into formally restoring your bond and commitment to each other. So many people are quick to give up and chose to divorce rather than take the necessary steps, engage in the difficult discussions, make an effort to flirt and look attractive to each other. Take part in the sweet things and other activities that you likely found to be natural when you were courting each other. Go the extra mile for your life partner.
- Recognize that rebuilding trust takes time. It will not happen overnight. It is impossible to predict the time it will take you and your spouse to complete this process. However, you will know when you get there.
- There is no such thing as a little thing if you do not address the little things they will become significant obstacles in your way to achieving happiness with the love of your life. Treat the little things with as much care as the big things.
Find Your Love Language
You and your partner may speak different love languages, please take a moment to take this quiz to get idea of your love language. Knowing the love language that you and your spouse speak will make this process of restoring trust easier.
If you are experiencing a marriage that appears to have a trust issue, you can overcome this tough challenge. All is not lost, use the above steps to rebuild the trust, rekindle your appreciation for your spouse, and to fall back in love with each other. It will take a significant amount of effort and work. However, barring any unresolved mental disorders, if you both have the desire to be with each other, your marriage is salvageable. If you find that you would like the benefit of a relationship coach, please feel free to contact me.