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14 Ways to Rebuild Broken Trust in Marriage

Trust is very foundational in the marriage relationship. A marriage without trust is fragile and may hit the rock at any time. It takes conscious and deliberate effort to build trust in a marriage relationship. When trust is broken, it takes more effort and commitment to rebuild trust. In this article, we will explore the concept of trust in marriage, things that cause broken trust in marriage, and how to rebuild broken trust in marriage.

How to Rebuild Broken Trust in Marriage
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Do two people walk hand in hand
    if they aren’t going to the same place?

Amos 3:3 MSG

What is Trust in a Marriage?

Trust in a marriage is having complete belief and peace in your partner. It is a feeling of safety and security in the other person. God is happy when there is trust in a marriage. Trust in marriage may include; allowing the other person access to your personal space, sharing your deepest secret with the other person, allowing your partner to have access to your finances, and believing every word spoken by your partner.

Trust in marriage may mean different things to different people. Many times we trust our partner based on our experiences and childhood relationships. As Christians, we can model our faith according to the trust we have in God.

If passion is the spark that starts the fire of a relationship, good communication is the fuel that keeps it burning.


What Causes Broken Trust in Marriage?

It is very painful and hurtful whenever trust is broken in marriage. I can liken it to the pain you feel when pierced in the heart. Many times people say “Broken trust can never be regained”. Many factors cause broken trust in a relationship and here are some of them:

Trust is built over time but can be broken in a day

1. Infidelity: Infidelity is one of the most common breaches of trust in marriage. Infidelity toils with the mind and it is the leading cause of divorce in marriages. Infidelity can be physical or emotional. Physical Infidelity means having a sexual relationship with someone who is not your partner. Emotional infidelity is having an emotional connection or relationship with another person, giving them more access and right to your emotions than your partner.

2. Lies and Deception: Consistent lying or hiding important information from a spouse can destroy trust over time. It doesn’t matter if the lie is big or small; when it becomes a pattern trust is gradually eroded in such marriage.

3. Financial Betrayal: Money is very important in marriage, in my previous article about “important things to discuss before marriage”; I listed finance and money as one of the vital things to discuss. Whenever a partner mismanages money, the effect is very negative on the relationship and trust is broken.

4. Broken Promises: Not fulfilling promises or agreements made with your partner can cause broken trust. It doesn’t matter whether they’re about major life decisions or daily commitments, going back on promises can erode trust between spouses.

5. Lack of Communication: Communication is very important in a marriage. Poor communication or withholding important feelings and information can lead to misunderstandings and feelings of betrayal when one spouse feels left out or unheard. Couples must communicate effectively with each other.

6. Emotional Neglect: Ignoring a spouse’s emotional needs, dismissing their feelings, or failing to provide emotional support can break down trust over time. Couples are connected emotionally therefore, it is necessary to build a strong emotional connection with each other.

7. Addiction: Substance abuse, gambling addiction, or any other form of addiction can strain a marriage and lead to broken trust because the addicted partner prioritizes their addiction over their spouse and family.

8. Constant Conflict and fights: Constant arguing, unresolved conflicts, and inability to compromise can create an atmosphere of tension and insecurity, undermining trust in the relationship. Domestic violence can cause a severe breach of trust between couples.

9. Boundary Violations: Disrespecting boundaries, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, can lead to feelings of betrayal and insecurity in the marriage. I know many people believe there shouldn’t be boundaries in marriage but respect for each other opinions and wishes creates an invisible boundary that shouldn’t be crossed.

10. Past Trauma: Previous experiences of trauma, such as childhood abuse or betrayal in past relationships, can affect one’s ability to trust in a marriage, especially if those issues are not addressed and resolved. Some people carry the baggage of their past into their new relationship.

Can a Marriage be Saved after Trust is Broken?

Yes, a marriage can be saved after trust is broken. It is very possible to rebuild trust in a marriage. However, it takes time and commitment of both partners depending on the effect and severity of what causes distrust.

How to Restore Broken Trust in Marriage
Image by Htc Erl from Pixabay

What Happens When There is no Trust in a Marriage?

When there is no trust in a marriage, it can lead to various challenges. It can lead to some of the following: 

1. Lack of trust can lead to Communication Breakdown between couples.

2. There can be resentment and bitterness between the couple. Resentment and bitterness deteriorate the relationship.

3. Emotional distance between couples grows, leading to a lack of emotional connection.

4. Lack of security in the marriage.

5. When trust is lacking in a marriage, intimacy may be lost. Physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy between the couples gradually erodes.

6. Lack of trust fuels conflicts between couples. Trust issues can fuel arguments and conflicts within the marriage as partners struggle to address causes of distrust and rebuild trust.

7. Over time, a lack of trust can destroy a relationship.

8.  Lack of trust between parents can create an unhappy and unstable environment that negatively affects the well-being and development of the children.

9. When trust is absent, individuals may seek validation or emotional fulfilment outside the marriage, increasing the risk of infidelity and further damaging the relationship.

10. Rebuilding trust after it’s been broken can be a challenging and lengthy process. Without trust, it’s difficult for couples to move past conflicts and repair the damage done to the relationship.

The lack of trust in marriage is overwhelming and stressful. The effect is sometimes more devastating than we can imagine. The question now is “how can we rebuild trust in marriage when it’s already broken?”

Communication is easy when the topic is happy, but it takes work to talk about something difficult. It’s this effort that helps a relationship get stronger.


How to Rebuild and Repair Trust in a Christian Marriage

When trust is broken in marriage, such a home may not be able to function optimally. God wants a couple to model their relationship after the relationship between Christ and the church. An adage in Yoruba says “If the wall is not opened, a lizard can’t crawl in”. When issues of trust are allowed to linger in marriage, the devil will exploit the breaches to cause a rift or breakup in the union.

1. Genuinely surrender yourself to God and allow his love to fill your heart. Many believers do not understand that how well we surrender our lives to God impacts our decisions and actions in marriage. When you genuinely surrender your life to God and you allow him to fill your heart with love, you will not hurt your partner deliberately nor will you harbour hatred or anger in your heart.

2. Pray and allow God to guide you on how to rebuild your marriage. The Bible may have referenced that “a wise woman builds her home Proverbs 14:1” but it is clear that a wise woman can be either the man or the woman. Praying and asking God for wisdom to build and maintain a home is very important. Ask God to grant you wisdom and guidance on how to navigate the distrust and its effect.

3. It is vital to create an atmosphere of open communication to facilitate openness and sincerity.  Both partners need to communicate openly and honestly about their feelings, concerns, and expectations. This includes discussing the breach of trust and its impact on the relationship. It doesn’t do your relationship good to avoid discussing what causes distrust, face it together.

4. To rebuild trust, the partner who breached the trust in the marriage must accept responsibility and be remorseful for their action. It is difficult to rebuild a relationship where the erring partner is unyielding and not ready to accept their mistake. 

5. The partner who was betrayed should be willing to forgive and let go. Sometimes both partners need to forgive themselves and let go of the hurt and pain of their actions and behaviour.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the behaviour; it simply means choosing to let go of resentment and allowing space for healing.

The other partner must remember that although they are forgiven, the injured may still remember the hurt and the pain. Therefore, time must be allowed for healing.

6. It is important to be transparent and accountable for their actions. Don’t hide details that may cause pain when your partner finds out later.  For the partner who broke the trust. Transparency may involve being open about their whereabouts, finances, or other areas where trust was compromised.

7. Rebuilding trust includes consistently demonstrating trustworthy behaviour over time. Consistency may include honouring commitments, being reliable, and following through on promises.

8. When issues of mistrust or broken trust happen between couples, couples can seek counsel from a godly counsellor. I usually advise seeking counsel from a professional counsellor who is a Christian and can help you weather the storm Proverbs 11:4. It is important to choose your counsellor wisely and prayerfully.  Choosing the wrong counsellor can cause a disaster in the home.

9. Establishing clear boundaries and expectations moving forward can help prevent future breaches of trust and provide a sense of security in the relationship. Let me give an example; if sexual abuse caused broken trust in the marriage, couples can work together to create a boundary that prevents such occurrence.

Imagine this scenario

There is a couple who loves each other very much; the husband is conservative financially while the wife spends carelessly. Over time, they hurt each other because of their financial habits.

They can decide to handle this in three ways

  • Create a joint account that forces both partners to communicate openly before spending.
  • Create a joint account and both partners decide how much percentage of their income goes into the joint account, the remaining money goes into an individual account and they are free to spend however way they choose. They also need to decide what the money in the joint account will be spent on.
  • They can also go through a financial literacy course that can help them understand how to handle their finances effectively.

What other options do they have? I’d love to read your opinion in the comments.

10. Rebuilding trust takes time, and both partners need to be patient and understanding with each other throughout the process. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, and setbacks may occur along the way.

11.  I understand it is necessary to address trust issues, couples should also focus on nurturing positive aspects of their relationship, such as spending quality time together, showing appreciation, and expressing love and affection.

12. The process of rebuilding trust involves personal development.  Both partners should be committed to personal growth and self-improvement which can help them address underlying issues and become better humans.

13. Quit discussing your family issues with people and separate yourself from bad company. The Bible says “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm Proverbs 13:20”. Discussing your family issues with the wrong people can destroy the little good in the home; it can darken the light at the end of the tunnel. If you want to rebuild your relationship, you have to separate from bad and ungodly company.

14. Pray together and study the bible together as a family. Having a family altar is very important for the family. Start praying together genuinely and you will see a change in your relationship.

How Long Does it Take to Restore Broken Trust in a Marriage?

There is no time frame for rebuilding trust in a marriage. When it comes to rebuilding trust, the willingness of both partners to work on rebuilding trust and rekindling a feeling of security in each other is an important factor.

How to Rebuild and restore Broken Trust in Marriage
Photo by Pixabay

Final Thoughts

Addressing and repairing trust issues in a marriage often requires open communication, empathy, accountability, and sometimes professional help such as couple therapy.

Rebuilding trust in marriage can look like a daunting issue but couples should always remember that it requires a lot of time and energy for a marriage to regain the trust it once had. If both partners give the process the required time and energy, the marriage will bloom and blossom.

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