I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who went into their marriage thinking, “Yeah maybe this will work, but if it doesn’t, no big deal.” All of us go in hoping and desiring the best for our life ahead with our partner.
If you had to guess what is the number one marriage destroyer, what would you guess? You may be thinking of specifics like, hiding money, cheating with another, displaying a volatile temper, or some other horrific experience. All of those experiences have one thing in common: broken trust.
But guess what the number one marriage destroyer is?
Not broken trust, but the ability and willingness to restore and rebuild trust.
Every marriage will experience broken trust along the way. Why? Because we are all broken people, fallible and imperfect.
The one key ingredient in a healthy, life-giving, lifelong marriage is the ability to restore trust in what I call the “family trust fund.”
Here are three “T’s” to practice which will help you restore and rebuild trust
The biggest roadblock to restoring and rebuilding trust is a lack of humility. No one has much compassion or desire to reconnect with someone who is basically trying to blame shift their mistake or fault. A humble heart is the essential first step that must be present. Otherwise, you end up torturing one another, because one or both parties refuse to be humble toward the other.
Help yourself out if you would like to feel closer to your marriage partner. Practice humility. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
When trust has been broken, the best way forward is to be as accountable as you can be to your partner. Let them give some guidance to help you provide what would help them the most in accepting the trust deposits that you make in your efforts to reconnect and restore. Yes, this will require humility. Please refer to the points above.
Some great ways of accountability are sharing passwords, looking over bank accounts together, sharing your social media contacts, and taking time together to make sure the other is comfortable with our circle of friends and acquaintances. Anything or anyone in your life that comes across as secretive to your spouse will likely trigger them to withdraw from you and not be willing to rebuild and restore with you. Because you said “yes” to your spouse on your wedding day that you wanted to enjoy the best life together, why would you choose to hold another relationship closer, no matter who they are and how long you have known them? Making your spouse a priority is another quantum leap forward toward a more enjoyable and life-giving marriage.
Most marriage vows today still include that phrase, “forsaking all others”. That does not just refer to other people, but to all other priorities. Regardless as to whether that was part of your spoken vows, that’s what you signed up for. Remember, these encouragements are to help you experience the greatest joy in your marriage.
One of my bosses from years past had a great saying, “Exploit the inevitable.” That means if you know the other person is going to ask about it, address it before they can ask. If you are going through a season of broken trust, simply letting your spouse know where you were going and where you are before they ask at the end of the day will likely help more than you can imagine. I think a great marriage includes each partner checking in throughout the day (or the week if one is traveling) to let the other know where they are, and who they’re with, and what they’re doing. Being proactive will require humility. (Do you sense a theme in this post?)
I don’t know of anyone who wants a marriage that is less than it could be. By practicing the three “T’s” of humility, accountability, and proactivity, I’m confident you will create a bond of trust with your partner that together you can get through most anything. The more times you can rebuild and restore trust, the more confident you will be that you can handle the next breach.
Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.