4 Steps to Repairing Trust in Your Relationship

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  • 4 Steps to Repairing Trust in Your Relationship
  • Steps to take when trust needs to be rebuilt.

Since we are all sinful dysfunctional people who at some time will prove ourselves to be untrustworthy, every important relationship in our life will require the rebuilding of trust at some point in time. Sometimes it may only be a slight “remodeling” while atother times it will be a complete “rebuilding” process. In some of our relationships it may seem much easier to just cut and run. We decide the relationship isn’t worth the effort of rebuilding. And this may be true in some situations, but seldom is it ever true of marriage. You might even say that oneof the purposes of marriage is to teach us how to rebuild trust when it is broken. Here are the steps to take when trust needs to be rebuilt.

Step 1: A sincere confession of the truth
Let’s use an affair as an example. Regardless of how one finds out, healing begins when the betrayer confesses the whole truth. The whole truth does not mean every intimate detail — that puts too much of a burden on the shoulders of the betrayed spouse. The rule of thumb on how much to confess is this: If I want to seriously rebuild trust with my spouse, I confess anything that, if it were to found out later, would undermine the rebuilding of trust.

If you are dealing with a less painful betrayal, the principle is still the same. If information has been withheld in the form of a secret, or if one spouse has been lied to about anything, the need for a sincere confession of the truth always marks the starting point. Without it, I cannot move forward. Couples who try to sweep any kind of lie under the carpet risk lessening, or even losing, the intimacy they long for.

Step 2: Complete openness on the part of the betrayer
This is an essential part of the healing process. The spouse who has had an affair has given up control of his or her life at least for as long as it takes to rebuild trust. He or she gives up control by becoming an open book to his/her spouse. No secrets allowed. Cellphone bills, travel itineraries, whereabouts at any given point in time, complete accessibility — all of these are part of our becoming open to our spouse about all aspects of our life. Anything less than complete openness restrictsthe rebuilding of trust. The principle is one of complete openness. There can be nothing that remains hidden, or else when it is found out, and it will be, it will destroy the trust that was re-established. And the second time trust is breached is more serious. There is the old adage that says, “Fool me once,shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Few marriages can survive the “fool me twice” syndrome.

Step 3: There must be genuine sorrow on the part of the betrayer
This also is a key to rebuilding trust. Without it, it’s like building a brick wall without cement. The goal of rebuilding trust is that at some point there is genuine sorrow on the part of the one who lived the lie, and genuine forgiveness on the part of the one betrayed. Without both of these conditions, the marital reconciliation is going to be very superficial and very unsatisfying to both parties. Again, the principle is the same, even for the little lie of omission, or the little white lie.

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When confronted by my spouse, I need to confess the truth, become completely open about the subject, and show genuine sorrow for the betrayal. Every lie in a marriage is a form of betrayal, and so regardless of the seriousness of the betrayal, the process is the same.

Step 4: Rebuilding trust takes time and patience
Rebuilding trust always takes time. The more serious the offense, the more time it will take for it to be repaired. A small lie of omission may take a couple of days, whereas an affair may take a year or two just to get to level ground again. So rebuilding means both the offender and the offended need to be patient with the process.

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About Stephen Arterburn

Steve ArterburnStephen “Steve” Arterburn is an author, speaker, counselor, radio talk-show host of New Life Live, host of New Life TV, and founder of New Life Ministries and Women of Faith. He co-wrote Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time with Fred Stoeker, as well as several other publications.
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  • Silvia

    I want to say a big thank you to Dr.kizzekpe for the good work he has done in my dad’s life and my marriage. He helped my dad in his court case, a spell was cast for my dad 2days before his court case and cause of that the judge ruled in his favor…and he also helped in reuniting me and my husband, i can’t explain how he did it I’m actually short of words. But one thing is certain he’s so good at what he does, he sure knows how to cast a real spell and the one that works. I’m so blessed by him and he can as well bless you too, all you need to do is to contact him on: kizzekpespells@outlook.com

  • Natasha

    My husband and I has endured infidelity on both parts several times, and rebuilt after each disaster. We have endured not only emotional but physical hurt and worked through it and became stronger. We found the patterns where physical and emotional pain came into play and why the infidelity happened and can now fix our problems ahead of time to keep building the trust. Marriage is hard but not something to be thrown away. It requires two mature adults ready to take on the world with the support of each other. Marriage is different from the other relationships and needs a special nurturing and commitment to have trust. As long as you both want to stay together, it can be fixed regardless of what anyone else says.

    • Jazzy

      @Natasha- can u pls explain how you got over this phase. I am going through a rough trough phase of my life

  • Al

    It’s been a year since I caught my wife in the middle of an affair… I have decided to “hang-on” and stay together, we been to hell and back this year, every time I look at her I wonder what made “him” the better man… He CANNOT love her the way I do.. she was my life, my reason for living. I wonder if I will ever wake up one morning and not think about “him” and stop wondering how the hell did I get here. Does it ever get better?



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