Q. I don’t trust my spouse anymore…how can I learn to trust again?
A. You’re going to need to rebuild your marriage from the bottom up. This is the stage when you both put your hands up and surrender. This is where there are tears of anguish over the offense and tears of relief that it has been confessed. Actual tears or just tears of the heart say very loudly the two words that the person who was hurt wants to be convinced of – “I’m sorry.“ This is where you get on your knees and say, “I can’t do this alone, Lord. I need Your help to trust my spouse again.”
With that prayer comes the admission that you need God to help you in the rebuilding process. When faced with starting at the bottom and working to rebuild, many times the spouse who has been hurt will do one of three things: run from it, deny it’s happening, or collapse in overwhelming fear and be unable to cope. Responding in one or all of these ways get you nowhere in the rebuilding process because you’re trusting yourself to be in control.
The problem is, you were never in control. Unfortunately it may take a wake-up call to remind you of that. What you can know is that God is in control. When things get bad, turn your eyes off yourself and turn to him. Rather than depending on your own strength, which will only fail you, ask God for the strength to trust and love your spouse again.
You may have no hope that such a huge problem can be solved. But when painful situations occur, you need to commit to being a team. This is when you and your spouse join together and join God as you work through restoration. A counselor could be a part of the team as well, helping you work through the rebuilding process.
Next, you and your spouse need to start talking. Pray before communicating. If you’ve depended on God for strength to trust, you can also depend on God to help you communicate what’s really going on so that the other person will better understand. Be honest and yet speak the truth in love. This is when you both communicate your needs and your pain while working to regain one another’s trust.
As you talk to each other, don’t be talking to everyone else. While there is a time for your family and Christian friends to be involved in helping you through the difficult times of your life, this is not one of the times they need to hear all the details. This matter is between you and your spouse. As you work to rebuild your marriage, respect each other enough not to say too much around others.
Be prepared for attacks. Remember, when you start to rebuild your marriage, the enemy will do all he can to tear it down. The last thing Satan wants is for you to be reconciled. He loves to create isolation and distress in a relationship and drive people apart. When you seek to restore a relationship, the enemy gets busy and throws doubts at you from within and attacks from the outside. No matter who wants you to stay apart, God wants you to reconcile. Be aware and be ready for resistance!
Finally, don’t rush this process. It’s going to take time. This is going to be a journey. The element of time plays two roles in the rebuilding process: First, it takes time to heal the pain. Second, you also need time to add some positive experiences to a relationship that’s become accustomed to pain. As you schedule time on the calendar to create new memories, the healing process will begin. Be willing to persevere.