How to Deal with Broken Trust in a Marriage

December 20, 2012 by Allen Teal  
Published in Marriage

This article deals with ways to rebuild the trust after one partner has betrayed the other.

Contracts are based on each partner doing what is expected. In most business contracts, expectations, rewards, and penalties are spelled out. In the marriage contract, the agreements are far less defined on paper. This creates situations where each partner may have different expectations from the marriage.

Trust can be broken in ways that are not just sexual infidelity.

When this trust is broken, decisions have to be made regarding what to do next. You and your partner need to have some guidelines about how to rebuild the trust and the relationship.

Recognize that trust is a two-way street.

In a marriage, getting even can be an easy trap to fall into. It usually plays out like this: since you did that; I can do this. Unfortunately, this approach too often results in divorce. If you feel betrayed or cheated, you need to evaluate with your partner’s help why this event happened to make you feel this way. Eventually, you will end up here. So, it is better to just decide not to break another level of trust just to show your partner how it feels.

Decide what types of trust matter the most to you.

Some people agonize over sexual misconduct but do not seem to care if the finances are in the trash. For others, it might be a failure of their partner to be supportive in a family fight. The list goes on. It is possible that you may have been sending or receiving signals that were misinterpreted as permission to break a specific level of trust. Figure out what is important to you and your spouse before going too deeply into fixing the problems.

How early in the marriage has the trust been broken?

If your spouse is cheating after about a week of marriage, this probably signals a doomed relationship. A short affair after decades of marriage may be able to be fixed. It will still hurt, but the history may prove that your partner has always been trustworthy before. He or she probably will be again if you can work together to fix what is wrong with your relationship.

Consider marriage counseling as a couple.

Never seek counseling as an individual unless it is your only choice. Most advice is weak or wrong when only one side of the story is told. If you go willingly together to the counselor, the results will most likely be quick and dramatic. Do the homework that the counselor assigns for best outcomes.

Work on communication within the relationship.

Talk, talk, and talk some more with your partner. Broken trust usually is associated with broken communication. Fix the communication and the trust will grow again. Do not stop talking when it feels like things are better. Keep talking so that things will not slide downhill again.

Expect that change will be needed in several areas.

Relationships rarely falter because of only one problem area. For a partner to be willing to break your trust, a variety of problems usually exist. Look at this effort as a project. Keep repairing broken areas until the relationship is solid again.

Limit the number of people who give you advice.

One of the big problems in marriages stems from too many people offering too much advice to one partner. Everyone needs to vent sometimes. However, if you depend on the amateur advice from all of your associates, you will be steered wrong more often than not. Keep your advisers to a minimum. Learn to talk to your spouse when you are upset rather than all of the coworkers and neighbors.

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One Response to “How to Deal with Broken Trust in a Marriage”
  1. jarawila Says:

    These are excellent tips that will lead to harmony in a troubled marriage.


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