Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
How well does trust define your marriage?
Try these two very simple assignments to find out.
Assignment 1: Rate your SPOUSE on a scale of 1 to 10, on how much you believe they are reliable and honest in your relationship.
Take a second and turn in your assessment at the front of the class.
Assignment 2: Rate YOURSELF, on a scale of 1 to 10, on how much you believe YOU are reliable and honest in your relationship.
Now total the scores together multiply by 5, and you get your total (on a 100 point scale) of how much TRUST you believe is in your marriage.
If you didn’t score as well as you would like, then you are in great company.
If you did, but still want to improve, then you are still in great company.
We grade on a curve here. 🙂
The class is the size of every marriage on earth.
Because, every single marriage will have trust issues!
It is not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.
Whether it comes through little white lies that erode away your foundation over time, a thousand thoughts and feelings left unshared, or even a cataclysmic affair that seemingly wrecks you over night, the storm of distrust will hit all unions.
What you do when you realize distrust is in the house can and will make all the difference.
Trusting your spouse and being trusted by them is like fresh air being constantly pumped into your marriage.
Distrust for each other will feel like slow and steady suffocation on both sides.
We all need breathing room.
Today, no matter whether you find yourself in a position where you are gulping in deep, or whether your trust tank is so constricted you’re starting to turn blue, you can use some more trust pumped into our marriage.
However, this can be as scary as having to run a marathon when you really need CPR.
We want to help you start the chest compressions in your marriage and come to a place where you can once again enjoy and be energized by the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation only your spouse can give.
It’s time for you to be jolted back to life, you need strength, honesty and reliability for the long haul.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
So if you are nodding your head in agreement with each sentence and the cry of your heart is to rebuild broken trust (or build more trust)… Where do you start?
1. Radical SELF Assessment:
You’ve already begun this step. Look up to the top of the article and realize that when you were rating yourself and your spouse, this was exactly what you were doing.
Remember you always have to affix your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.
Where are the leaks in your trust game?
What things have you done that need an apology?
What things are you holding against your spouse that you need to (even though you’ve tried a thousand times) simply forgive?
A great way to make this step tangible: Journaling.
It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It doesn’t have to be publishable. It just has to be you, on paper, and out of your head.
Remember, the only person you can change in your relationship, is you.
2. Resource Yourself
If the trust tanks are low, or even empty, then clearly the plan you both had wasn’t working.
If you’re on the wrong path, don’t be afraid to turn right back around and get back to square one.
To do this type of work with your spouse, you often need a new framework.
Check out He Zigs, She Zags.
The first thing we help you to do is have a “State of Your Marriage” conversation.
Knowing where you are, and having a vision for where you want to go, and a road map to get there, can make all the difference!
3. Get Real
You’ve got to call out all and any elephants in the room!
This doesn’t just mean the ones with the “HIS” tattooed on them. It doesn’t just mean the ones with the “HERS” bedazzled on the side.
You both have to be willing to take off the mask and get vulnerable.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. It’s also the birthplace of joy, faith and connection. To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that.” —Dr. Brene Brown
Brene Brown, a world expert on vulnerability, states that it is exactly this type of honest and open communication that breaks the shame in relationship.
Without shame as a part of the picture, you can air dirty laundry regularly.
Trust doesn’t come through perfection. It comes through honesty.
Invariably, as you get down to the nitty gritty of what is breaking your trust, you’ll find things you are at fault for.
Don’t let your ego be bigger than your relationship for another day!
Say the two hardest words in the English language. “I’m sorry”
You may have said them before. You will have to say them again.
Truly being able to accept responsibility for your part in mess is not a one time thing.
Rebuilding trust takes time.
Think of it as grieving the loss of a loved one.
It’s actually what you are doing. You are grieving what you hoped the most important relationship in your life would be.
You and/or your spouse need the room and time to go through this grieving process.
As you go through each stage, you may find things brought up again.
You may find old triggers hit.
Simply apologize again and keep proving yourself to be honest and reliable.
Remember, Love is patient.
5. Remember You’re Not Alone
We hear, and have heard, hundreds of stories of husbands and wives who have cried out for help because their trust has been broken.
Maybe it was because of one partner denying the other sex, one headache at a time.
Maybe it was because of agreeing to a budget and the agreement wasn’t upheld.
Maybe it was because of infidelity.
Maybe it was because the kids became all you talked about.
It doesn’t matter the size of the breaking, it just matters that trust was broken.
Ultimately, trust is broken between you, because something in life, anything in life, becomes more valuable than your relationship.
Even in feeling alone, you’re not alone.
So join in with the couples who have assessed their marriage, found it leaking a steady flow of trust, patched up the hoses, reaffixed themselves to the love tank, looked into each other’s eyes, and are starting to rebuild broken trust, one conversation, one day, one date, one week, one anniversary at a time.
You’ll be able to return to this article a year from now, redo the assignments, and move to the top of the class.
Breathe deep. Change is on its way.