Relationships are complicated, and sometimes even the strongest of pairings struggle. Trust can be broken for any number of reasons, ranging from financial deception to infidelity. Once that trust has been broken, gaining it back can be a long road to travel. However, lost trust can be reestablished in a marriage, assuming both parties are committed to achieving that same goal.
To reestablish trust, remorse needs to be shown for the erosion of that trust, according to psychiatrist Mark Goulston, author of “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.” If your actions have led to your partner now feeling distrust, it is up to you to accept responsibility and show your regret. Begin an open dialogue, allowing your partner to express disappointment and hurt so that you can truly understand the ramifications of your choices.
Be Deserving of Trust
Rebuilding trust in a marriage requires both parties making an effort to prove themselves trustworthy, advises clinical psychologist John Townsend. This means moving forward with complete honesty and proving yourself reliable by keeping to your promises. Call when you say you are going to call, and be home when your partner expects you to be. When trust has been lost, turning your life into an open book is necessary so that your spouse no longer feels as though anything is being hidden.
Grief is not a linear process, and issues surrounding a broken trust may continue to come up for some time, notes Dallas-based therapist Michael J. Salas. Even if you have convinced yourself that your spouse has moved past feeling hurt, unexpected rage or sadness may still come to the surface from time to time. Rather than being angry about the extended timeline of healing, remain understanding of the process and remorseful of how your own actions have landed you as a couple here.
Ask for Forgiveness
Once you have worked towards proving yourself trustworthy once more, the final step to rebuilding trust in a marriage is requesting forgiveness, suggests Goulston. You have likely done this several times along the way, but there should come a point when you are able to look upon your actions since the divide first occurred, feeling confident that you have done everything in your power to reestablish trust. At that point, express your remorse to your spouse once more, and request forgiveness and the ability to start over together.