When trust is gone

Empty bottle of trust © Yamix | Dreamstime.com

It is often said, “Trust is earned.” I find this to be completely true, and if it’s not earned, it’s not trust.

But what happens when trust is lost? It is not a simple matter of doing again what was required to earn the trust in the first place; earning back lost trust is far more difficult than earning trust in the first place. Each additional violation of trust makes it even more difficult to earn back the trust, and if trust if violated too many times, it becomes humanly impossible to it get back.

If you have violated your wife’s trust, you need to understand that her unwillingness or inability to trust you again is not about her; it is about you. If she trusted you originally, that means she is able to trust. If she no longer trusts you because of your actions that means it’s on you. She can’t read your mind, she has no way of knowing you mean it this time; but she does know you didn’t mean it last time. Getting upset with her for not trusting you is kicking her while she is down. Being mad that she does not believe you, when you have proven you cannot be trusted, makes the situation worse. This is especially true if you have violated trust multiple times, be it the same issue or different ones.

Can you ever get her trust back? Yes, but it may take months or years. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth, and it’s not because she is wrong: it’s because of what you have done to her. If you can accept that, and that it’s your fault, you have a chance. If you can’t accept that, you have virtually no hope of regaining her trust. Making it about her is a sure way to make the situation worse; taking all the blame is a good step towards being trustworthy.

To regain her trust, do what is right, and keep doing it, day in and day out, no matter what she says or does. If the breach of trust was over something that you hid from her, find ways to make sure she never has cause to think you are hiding anything from her. Tell yourself you have lost the right to any hint of privacy with her, and that she has every reason to be suspicious of you.

Trust can be rebuilt, but only if you are willing to do what it takes. It was your choice to do whatever it was that made the mess, and now it’s her choice to decide when you have given her cause to trust you again.

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13 Comments on “When trust is gone

  1. Paul,
    I very seldom disagree with your blogs and it maybe more of matter of samantics than disagreement. In my studies on submission, I have found that trust is given as a result of a decision just as it is a decision to love. In that, the other person in the relationship does have a huge responsibility to make it as easy as possible for the person to make the decision to love, to make the decision to trust and in that responsibility I agree with everything you said. Husbands continuely make it difficult for our wives to give us trust because of our past actions, being unfaithful to our words, promises, committments. And to make it easy for her to again make decisions to trust us, is difficult because she only has our past actions to base her present decisions upon.

  2. Bless you for this post. I wrote several portions down in my journal. Much needed due to the state of me and my husband’s relationship. Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Rebuilding Trust in Your Marriage : Marriage Missions International

  4. I really wish my husband would read and take this in. Everything you say is spot on and if only my husband could see it from this way then maybe we could get the trust back, but he doesn’t seem willing to see his actions are to blame for the lost trust. I love him but I can’t keep living this way, it’s changing me into a person I don’t know or like being. If only I was worth this effort things could be so different.

  5. ClaireMcC  So sorry!
    One other thing to consider is he may not have forgiven himself. Some men don’t feel they deserver to be trusted again, so they make no effort.

  6. My wife caught me sexting and i have accepted that i was at fault but i never had any physical contact with anyone else except my wife. She is not ready to listen to it. Now i am trying as much as i can to have her back coz i cant live without her.

    • @Ravish – The problem, in her mind, is your “but”. You are minimising what you did based on how men see such things. For physical adultery is a 100 while sexting is a 20. For women, physical adultery is a 100 and sexting is an 80. So your repentance and sorrow over what you did doesn’t seem big enough for her, which makes her feel you are sorrier you got caught than sorry you did it.

  7. I have a question for any one that can answer the question I have done something in my marriage now my wife is saying that she don’t trust me with her heart anymore is there is a way that I can ever get that back

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