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Build More Trust in
Advice for Building
Trust in Your Marriage
By Susie and Otto Collins
When trust seems weak or has been compromised in
some way in your marriage, if you want to stay
together and move closer to one another again, it's
important to learn new skills and ways of
that will help improve your situation.
Just about any person who's ever been in a love
relationship or marriage has fallen into habits with
his or her partner that create distance and
Nobody means to keep doing or saying things that
cause conflict or take him or her further from a
loved one, it just seems to happen.
But once you realize how much of a wedge has formed
between you and your mate, or after you experience
something that shows how much
mistrust there is in your relationship, you usually
wake up and decide that it's time for a change.
Barb feels like she's been sleep-walking through
life for the past few years. She's been very focused
on trying to balance her growing career with the
needs of her also growing children.
Her marriage to Tom has not been in the forefront of
They try to make time for dates together, but this
never seems to happen. Everything came to a halt
recently after Barb found out about Tom's behavior
with another woman on a recent trip with some
male friends of his.
The wife of one of Tom's friends reported to Barb
that her husband saw Tom dancing intimately with
another woman in the hotel bar.
The wife said that her husband wouldn't say anything
more about the whole incident because he truly
didn't know how far it went.
With this information, Barb is jolted into a state
of fear, anger and mistrust.
She wants to know what happened between Tom and this
other woman and she is trying not to make
assumptions about what may have occurred after the
dance. She also wonders how this man whom
she's trusted for so many years could cheat-- or
even come close to having an affair.
Don't guess, ask.
When it comes to those tricky issues like mistrust,
jealousy and infidelity, it is absolutely essential
that you find out reliable facts and not jump to
You simply cannot build or rebuild trust with your
partner if you are guessing about what he or she
did, said or wants.
Your situation may not involve possible infidelity.
It may be that your spouse seems to be acting
distant or unavailable lately and your mind is
racing with potential reasons why.
In a case like this, you might use words like these
with partner: "I feel distance between us lately
and I'd like to feel close and connected with you.
Do you feel this too? Is there something going on
with you or in our relationship that we could change
in order to move closer together again?"
Own how you are feeling when you communicate with
Resist the urge to assign words or feelings to your
partner. Instead, focus on how you feel and
what you'd like to happen next.
When Barb asks Tom about what happened on his trip
with this other woman, he pauses for a few moments
and then admits that, yes, he did dance in an
intimate way with a woman who was staying at the
He asserts to Barb that he stopped himself after
that dance and that he's never done anything like
this before. The whole incident made him realize how
lonely he's felt in their marriage lately.
Barb and Tom start talking about how distant they
both feel from one another. They agree that they'd
like to rebuild trust and restore their connection.
Communicate with integrity and honesty.
While Barb and Tom are in agreement that they want
to stay together and to improve their marriage,
neither know how to go about doing this.
After Tom's "almost affair," Barb feels wary and
unsure. She believes him, but is worried that
something like this (or worse) could happen again.
As you talk with your partner about what you
perceive is going on in your relationship, speak
with integrity and honesty.
There is a certain amount of vulnerability involved
with opening up and being very honest about what you
want and how you feel.
But the alternative-- to hide or be vague about how
you are feeling-- is not going to move you and your
spouse closer together.
As difficult as it is for you to say what you really
mean, it is worth it.
Barb and Tom know that it will take time and
attention in order for them to rebuild trust in
They have come up with some ideas that they're going
to try and they will also keep checking in with
themselves and each other along the way.
Keep your focus on what you want, how to communicate
that honestly and lovingly with your spouse and then
listen to him or her in return.
These are essential ingredients for a trust-filled