Relationship Advice & Tips on How to Build Trust in a Marriage

by Paul Bright

Trust is becoming increasingly important in solidifying a long-term relationship, according to a 2006 Cornell University study. If you are a couple who has lost trust within the confines of your marriage, your relationship could be in serious trouble. However, it doesn't mean that it's the end of your marriage. There are steps and methods to building the trust back in your marriage if you have the patience and commitment to see it through.

Accept Responsibility

Sometimes the work in rebuilding trust in a marriage starts with you. You must first accept responsibility for any actions that contributed to the mistrust. In the heat of an argument, it's easy to play the blame game -- for example, "I did this, but you did that" -- so it may be best to do some self-examination before discussing your role in breaking the trust.

Sincerely Apologize

A simple "I'm sorry" without eye contact won't convey sincerity. Apologize to your spouse sincerely about any mistakes you've made that broke the trust. Psychologist Stanley Hibbs suggests that when you apologize to your spouse, don't try to justify a mistake with a lot of excuses. Instead, apologize and explain why your actions were wrong and do not place any blame on your partner. You can even include how it must have made your partner feel so that he or she knows you really understand the hurt you may have caused.

Develop an Accountability Plan

An accountability plan includes actions you or your spouse can do. It allows one spouse to be able to check in on the other, depending on what the specific trust issue is. For example, if you were flirting with the opposite sex, an accountability plan may allow your spouse to check your phone at any time. However, make sure you also acknowledge when your partner is doing the right thing so that he or she is encouraged to continue.

Build Your Intimacy

The Relationship Institute's Long-Term Love Relationship exercise helps you and your partner identify where you are at with affection intimacy. It's a good exercise that teaches you how to use verbal affection, action affection, sexual contact and nonsexual contact. They don't all have to increase at once, and your partner may prefer one type of affection intimacy over the other. Yet building on these can show your partner that you truly care and want the trust back.

About the Author

Paul Bright has been writing online since 2006, specializing in topics related to military employment and mental health. He works for a mental health non-profit in Northern California. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and a Master of Arts in psychology-marriage and family therapy from Brandman University.

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