Trust is a foundational, essential component of any healthy marriage. Over time, however, couples can begin to chip away at the trust they once held for one another when they decided to get married – whether through suspicious or closed off behavior, or simply because of lack of communication and a dwindling sense of connection to one another.
It’s not like couples do intentionally (well, most don’t…), so when you come to realize that maybe you don’t trust each other as you once did, or it seems like your spouse is unnecessarily suspicious of you (or vice versa), it might come as something of a surprise.
Additionally, if troubles in the marriage like infidelity, emotional affairs, or other major breaches of trust have been a problem in the past, that sense of mistrust can linger – and actually cause more problems down the line.
So, if trust is shaky in your relationship, here are a few ways you can help repair the problem and begin the process of rebuilding:
1. Open Access
While this may be tough for some people who just feel naturally private, giving your spouse “open access” to your life goes a long way in showing that you can be trusted, that you’re not trying to hide anything.
This means leaving your office door open, sharing computer or account passwords, having your calendar/schedule accessible, and so on. If you’re totally open about what you’re doing and where you’re going, there won’t be any reason for her to feel suspicious.
This also includes your thoughts! If your wife wants to know what’s on your mind, tell her! If you’re concerned or tempted, be open about it. Even if it’s a problem that you need to solve together, it will be better (and more trustworthy) than trying to hide it.
2. Show Trust
To help build her trust for you, be trusting! In many cases, mistrust only breeds more mistrust, and if you’re feeling jealous, suspicious, or skeptical of what she has to say, you’ll likely inspire some of the same behavior from her.
You can help create a more trusting atmosphere in your marriage through leading by example. Give her the benefit of the doubt and show her that you have confidence in the marriage.
3. Imagine Her With You
This is more of a mental method of keeping yourself in line and/or ensuring that you aren’t doing anything she might not approve of.
Simply imagine your wife by your side. Would you be comfortable doing – whatever – with her standing right next to you? This goes for things you might say or do, places you might visit, people you might talk to…
Keep this in mind, and you’re that much less likely to do something she would consider untrustworthy.
4. Keep Her In The Loop
If you’re running late, let her know. If plans change, keep her informed. If you make a big purchase, have some change at work, if something’s going on with your friends or family… Just make a point to share the information!
If you’re making an effort to keep her in the loop, there’s no reason to be suspicious or doubt what you tell her. To facilitate trust, be an open book. Tell her what you’re thinking and where you’re going. Don’t give her any reasons to wonder where you are – and assume the worst.
Perhaps the most important way trust is built – being consistent with your behavior, even if you weren’t always in the past, shows that you’re predictable (in the best kind of way).
It takes away the guesswork for your wife and inspires confidence. If she can expect you home from work around a certain time, knows who attends your weekly “guy’s night,” knows that you call your mother every Sunday afternoon, etc. – she’s less likely to even have untrusting thoughts cross her mind.
6. Don’t Keep Secrets
This should go without saying, but if you wanted to trusted – don’t keep secrets!
Whether something large or small, any time you have to backtrack and explain yourself, any time you need to come up with a reason you didn’t tell her about something in the first place, it’s not going to be good for the trust you’re trying to develop.
From something as small as a quick drink with a friend after work to something as large as a separate checking account, secrets still feel like secrets… And if she finds out about one and confronts you, you’re already in a deep hole of mistrust.
Avoid the entire problem by being straightforward and honest with your wife about what you’re doing and where you’re going. Secrets have no place in a marriage – especially one already experiencing trust issues.
7. Be Reachable
This one is awfully simple as well. When she calls, answer! When she sends you a message, respond!
If there are already some trust issues happening in the marriage, one thing that will surely exacerbate the problem is mystery… If she doesn’t know where you are, she’ll start to brainstorm where you might be. If she can’t get ahold of you (or you send her call to voicemail), that’s all the more reason for her to think you’re doing something you don’t want her to know about it.
Even if it’s harmless, even if you’re being completely trustworthy, simply being reachable will have a big effect on the trust she feels for you. If you can’t get to your phone, call her back – or even better, let her know beforehand.
Trust is tough to build, and if something in your marriage’s past has caused the trust between the two of you crumble apart, building it back up to its former strength will undoubtedly be a long process.
There’s no magic solution here. You simply have to show your spouse that you CAN be trusted, and that means being as open as possible, as forthcoming as possible, and catering your behavior with building trust in mind.
If it feels like something you’d have to hide, don’t do it. If you want her to trust you, you have to BE TRUSTWORTHY. It’s as simple as that.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!