How to Deal With Distrust in a Marriage

by Shelley Frost

Trust is a crucial foundation for a marriage, providing a sense of stability and safety. When one partner breaks that trust, the marriage can suffer, causing fear, uncertainty and suspicion between partners. Sometimes, distrust in a marriage comes from the actions of one or both partners. Other times, one spouse enters the marriage with trust issues. Learning how to deal with distrust in a relationship can help you strengthen your bond.

Importance of Trust

Why is trust so important in a marriage? Being able to trust your spouse creates a healthy foundation for all your interactions. Honesty gives the relationship room to grow. The partners are able to feel confident in the relationship and comfortably make plans for the future. Distrust in marriage takes away from that confidence and can cause anxiety. The distrust starts to erode the relationship and can make it seem as if the relationship is ending. But you can recover from distrust by putting in some hard work.

Identify the Cause of Distrust

Your relationship lacks openness, but have you figured out the source of the trust issues? Before you can repair the damage, it’s important to analyze what’s causing a lack of trust. Did one or both of you enter the relationship with trust issues? Perhaps you experienced infidelity in the past, and you’re now worried that anyone you are with will cheat.

Another source of distrust comes when your partner does or says something that’s dishonest. Examples include hiding things from one another, flirting with other people, being secretive or telling lies. Maybe your partner doesn’t introduce you to any of his friends, doesn’t talk about what he does with them and never wants you to go out with him. These actions breed mistrust because you feel as if he must be hiding something.

Address the Issue Directly

Instead of letting distrust grow, bring up the issue with your partner. The situation isn’t likely to resolve itself. Express how you feel about the situation. Instead of blaming your partner or pointing out everything she does wrong, say how you feel when certain things happen. When you bring up the trust issues, make sure you’re being completely honest and open.

Focus on Sharing More

Making an effort to share more can help rebuild the trust in your relationship. While partners need some boundaries, sharing things like what happened during your day and what you’re planning to do with your friends is important for developing confidence in your relationship. Little things like calling your partner if you’re going to be late can help get rid of the suspicion that something else is happening.

When you share, focus on truly communicating. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Work to actively listen to what your partner says. Show concern for what your partner says. If he discusses a difficult situation at work, empathize with him. If she feels insecure about other women, give her more attention and make it a point to give her sincere compliments.

Get Help From a Counselor

Some trust issues are deeply rooted in past experiences or from a long history of trust issues in your marriage. If you can’t seem to get past the distrust by actively working to be more honest with one another, a counselor can help you dig deeper into the issues. The counselor may be able to identify a cause you’re unaware of and provide exercises that help you overcome those issues.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.