There are various ways in which a husband can lose the trust of his wife, whether through mistakes or mismanagement. A sense of betrayal is added to this loss of trust in cases where deceit is involved, such as infidelity, emotional abandonment or disloyalty. In situations that are confusing, such as those that damage the sanctity of a marriage, interpersonal trust easily breaks down. Rebuilding trust takes time and effort from both partners.
Decide Whether to Forgive
A review of studies on forgiveness published in Psychological Assessment shows that forgiving a spouse has a positive effect on marital intimacy, commitment and quality over the course of the relationship. Whether or not you decide to continue the relationship, a study at Hope College reported that people who ruminated on a past hurt exhibited physical and mental signs of stress. Practicing forgiveness created positive emotional and physical responses.
Decide Whether to Reconcile
After a betrayal of trust has taken place, you must decide whether the relationship is able to withstand the stress that has been imposed on it. You may be more likely to reconcile with your husband if he can demonstrate how he will ensure that trust is not broken in the same way again. After betrayal, words can seem meaningless unless backed up by sincere efforts. It may comfort you if your husband is willing to have his behavior monitored. For example, he could share his receipts or phone records.
Communication is Key
If you wish to reconcile, ensure that your husband understands what your marital expectations are -- and that he is willing to fulfill them. Trust cannot be rebuilt unless honesty and consistency are reintroduced into the marriage. Open and transparent communication from both sides builds trust, which is necessary to return the emotional bond to a deeper level. Profound trust relies on a readiness to be vulnerable; therefore it is only possible when both partners are prepared to make a genuine emotional investment.
Acknowledge His Efforts
We are more likely to notice trust-destroying behaviors than trust-building ones because negative events are clear-cut and recognizable -- such as a lie being discovered. Distrust also closes people down and makes them unwilling to be vulnerable, although a willingness to be open to risk is a fundamental part of trust. Make an effort to be open to intimacy and notice and validate all the times that your husband displays trustworthiness.
- Trust and Distrust Definitions: One Bite at a Time; D Harrison McKnight and Norman L Chervany
- Beyond Intractability: Trust and Trust Building
- Psychological Assessment; Measuring Offence-Specific Forgiveness in Marriage: The Marital Offence-Specific Forgiveness Scale (MOFS); F. Giorgia Paleari, Camillo Regalia et al
- Psychological Science; Granting Forgiveness Or Harboring Grudges: Implications for Emotion, Physiology, and Health; Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Thomas E. Ludwig et al
Beth Burgess is a health and happiness expert. Burgess works as a therapist, specializing in addiction, anxiety, stress and mental well-being. Author of "The Recovery Formula" and "The Happy Addict," she writes articles to help others achieve happy lives and healthy relationships.