How to Build Trust in a Marriage

Trust is a bit of a sticky subject in marriage. It’s easy to say, you either have it or you don’t. When one party in a marriage does something that breaks the other person’s trust, it can be very difficult—and sometimes close to impossible—to regain it.

For Daniel and myself, we’ve gone through times when I found it difficult to trust him. I’m not talking about infidelity or other major things, but instead it was the little, everyday things.

During that time, he was working fifty to sixty hours a week on his job. He would say that he’d pick me up at a certain time, but something would always come up that he would not be able to arrive at the agreed schedule. Sometimes he would even end up not being able to pick me up at all! Because I would be lugging three young kids at that time, I soon learned to have a Plan B in place. It worked for us, but my lack of confidence in him was taking a toll on the way I related to him.

Since then, we’ve both learned how to rebuild trust, even in seemingly little areas like these.

Sometimes, we may not intend to, but we end up disappointing our spouse simply because we committed to too much. Let’s be realistic about what we can or cannot commit to.
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4 Ways to Build Trust with Your Spouse

In this post, we hope to share some tips to help you and your spouse work on learning to trust each other as well.

1. Develop a habit of honesty and transparency.

Being honest about where we’ve been, who we’ve met, or how we’ve spent our money is one way of developing trust. Forming a correct view of honesty and transparency can help us be more consistent with it: it’s not that our spouse is trying to control us, but we are committed to being honest and transparent for the health of our marriage.

When you and your spouse are open with each other about everything, you safeguard your marriage against outside attacks, such as the temptation of an affair. But it may not always be easy. If you or your spouse had trust issues in the past, perhaps you might consider undergoing counselling to deal with them, so that you can start on a clean slate with your spouse.

2. Learn non-judgmental communication.

One of the most common reasons a person hides something from his or her spouse is because of fear. If you and your partner get into a major showdown when one of you does something the other doesn’t like, chances are, it can become easier to keep things a secret. But this can be a recipe for greater problems down the road.

As early as possible, practice communicating without judging each other. How do you do this? First, learn how to express your feelings instead of passing blame. For example, when your spouse said something that hurt you, passing blame sounds like this: “You’re always putting me down!” Expressing feelings sounds like this, “You know, I feel hurt whenever you say this and this about me.”

On the other side of the equation, also learn to acknowledge and accept how your spouse feels without criticising. After all, feelings are neutral: they are neither right nor wrong.

3. Don’t over-commit.

Sometimes, we may not intend to, but we end up disappointing our spouse simply because we promised too much. Let’s be realistic about what we can or cannot commit to. If you know your job will require you to do overtime the whole of next week, it’s probably not wise to commit to a weeknight early dinner with your in-laws.

The problem is, this is easier said than done. if your partner really wants you to do something and it’s not possible to squeeze it into your schedule, refusing may result in a huge fight. Perhaps you will need to consider adjusting somewhere, or offering a compromise. In the case of the early dinner, if it’s really important, think about asking your boss if you can slip out and just return for more overtime. Or, you might be able to commit to joining the family but for coffee or midway through the meal.

4. Be reliable starting with small things.

Set clear expectations for yourself and your spouse. Disappointment happens when we expect something that is not met. Avoid the problem by being clear about your expectations with yourself and your spouse. Practice expressing what your spouse can expect from you, so that he or she won’t be unnecessarily frustrated.

If your spouse has developed a distrust because you struggle with keeping your word, set small, attainable goals which you can easily fulfill on a regular basis.

For example, if you can’t fulfill a promise to clean out the messy storeroom over a weekend, start with something small that you can do right away: perhaps you can commit to cleaning out one shelf. That way, you can show your spouse that you mean to keep your word. It helps build trust to see you doing what you said you would, even in little chunks at a time.

Building Trust is Crucial in Marriage

Practicing these tips regularly and consistently can help you build trust with each other. However, if the issue behind the lack of trust is infidelity, we recommend you to consult a counsellor or therapist. Feel free to get in touch with us, too, through our Contact Page. We would love to help!

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