Marriage Advice

Broken Trust Requires Rebuilding

It is in your best interest to repair your relationship following a broken trust. I know there are many people screaming just the opposite viewpoint. They have experienced hurt and betrayal of every description and degree. I understand how hard it is to face an uncertain future with only a broken past for a reference point. Let me explain to you the reasons why I believe that it is in your best interest to find healing and restoration instead of separation.

You made a vow to love for a lifetime.

I know you also received a vow from your marriage partner. Those vows seems like they were taken a long time ago and in a very different lifetime once we have experienced a broken trust. But, you did accept a very important task and you were not forced to make it. Do you think that somehow saying, “Things didn’t turn out like I planned,” is enough to let you walk away?  No one’s life turns out like they planned it. Some face poverty they did not expect. Others face illness and premature death that no one would have predicted. Other couples face sorrow beyond my ability to describe. Your broken trust is one of life’s hardest trials but it can also be one of life’s greatest victories.

Your marriage partner will be forever changed by what you decide.

If that other person is willing to honestly face the changes that are required, you are going to be an important part of helping them build the new life and new relationship. I fully understand that all anyone can see is what has already passed and not what lies ahead. That leaves everyone uncomfortable. “Why should I think about “helping you” when you were the one who damaged me?” It is not just that other person’s life that will be changed, it is everyone’s life. It is your life too.

Everyone must face their greatest fear.

When our marriage partner breaks our trust (in any of the many ways that we feel betrayed and ruined) that experience hits us in our most vulnerable spot. We are born with God-given fears inside of us. Read the lessons on the Greatest Fear of Women and the Greatest Fear of Men to get the background on this issue. When we are married and happy, our marriage partner is a key person to help push those Greatest Fears into the outer boundaries of our minds. That fear will always be there, but when our mates are doing their job, we are not haunted by them. When our trust has been broken, those Greatest Fears come storming back! Not only are they suddenly the only thing we can think about, but the one person who we had been counting on to help us deal with our fear is now acting more like our “enemy” than our partner.

A large part of our hesitation to trust again comes from our Greatest Fear.

Carefully study your heart. If you are looking forward and don’t see any hope, is it possible that what you are seeing is your own Greatest Fear blocking out everything else? Could it be that you are running scared from the very same fear that caused you to choose the person you married in the first place? Will you have a different feeling a year from now or will you still be the same person who carries the very same God-given motivation to find someone to help you push that fear away?

You have already spent an important part of your life building a relationship with your spouse.

No one is married for very long until they are intimately aware of the needs and feelings of their spouse. You have become what the Bible calls “one flesh”. You know that person better than anyone else in the world. When a trust has been broken, your automatic response is “I don’t know you at ALL!”  The temptation is to find someone else that you will know better and trust more. The most common result of that decision is that you end up with someone you know even less!

If you can understand the broken trust as your opening to understand even more about your spouse than you ever knew before, it often leads to a deeper relationship. If working as a husband and wife team, you can forge a partnership to repair the underlying problems, there is always hope.

If you are working together, you can build your marriage to be better than it had been before. The two of you can take a broken trust and, from the ruins, build an even stronger marriage.

Most couples who have been married for a long time will report that they used the difficult times to make their marriage stronger. They used the times of sorrow and grief to find new ways to comfort each other. They used the times of weakness to discover strengths in each other that they were never aware of before. They used the times of betrayal to discover more of what had been in the heart of their spouse than ever had been known before. They tell us that they find resources they had never known to exist before. They explain that knowing each other  more completely than before can lead to finding an even more courageous love than they had ever imagined before.

Isn’t it possible that there is still something worth loving in that partner you have loved so long?

Photo credit: Mr. Thomas licensed under Creative Commons

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