Trust CAN Be Rebuilt
You would have heard the saying, “Once the trust is gone you can never get it back.” Sounds very final doesn't it? You can understand how someone whose spouse has cheated on them and therefore destroying the trust they had, would absolutely agree to that. The thought of ever being able to trust this person with your heart, emotions and body again seems impossible, even with all the will in the world.
But what if the statement was fundamentally inaccurate and that the very nature of trust means that it is not only possible for someone to regain trust, but for them to build a trust that is even stronger than before the affair, Sounds crazy right?
Well, let us talk about the nature of trust.
The Nature of Trust
Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. The nature of trust is that it is not acquired, nor is it exhaustive. It can start off minimal and grow over time. We can trust someone in one area of our lives and two in others. But the key thing to remember here is that trust is BUILT or GAINED. The measure at which is it built or gained is dependent on the three elements of the trust-building formula - ‘Benefit of the Doubt’, ‘Evidence’ and ‘Education’
Let me explain.
The Benefit of the Doubt: Most relationships will start at the point where there may be no evidence or conviction to think that the person, we are giving our trust to will betray us. We have no choice but to give them the benefit of the doubt and trust them at a low level to begin growing any form of relationship. We may have had previous experiences in relationships where our trust has been broken. This combined with stories we may have heard can cause us to be hesitant in our trust. However, if we are willing and the relationship looks hopeful, we will apply the ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ in order to move further. The trust then grows through the next 2 elements of the formula.
Evidence: We need to see evidence of trustworthiness. We tend to trust the people who have actively shown us time and time again that they can be trusted. As we move through the relationship, we are presented with lots of opportunities to observe behaviours and grow in our trust in the person.
Education: The person we trust has taught us to trust them through their consistent actions. So, we have grown in trust as education is continually backed up by evidence. It becomes knowledge. A firm belief. We open up more, give more of our emotions and expect more.
When that trust is broken in the relationship through infidelity, the betrayed person has been given a new education backed up by evidence. The cheating spouse has now taught the betrayed spouse that they are capable of hurting them on such a deep and devastating level. That education has been backed up with evidence.
How Do I Rebuild Trust in My Marriage?
To turn this around you must go through the same stages as you did when you were first getting to know each other and establishing your trustworthiness. The difference this time is that you are not starting from the ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ position because the evidence and education are already there.
So, what needs to happen now is that the betrayer must proceed in a program of re-educating their spouse. He or she needs to be taught that they can trust you again. How can they be taught that? Through consistent, relentless evidence.
Consider all the areas that your spouse may need to trust you outside of fidelity and ensure that your actions line up with your words. Be trustworthy, even in small things. This means that even what would have previously been considered insignificant white lies can no longer feature in your relationship. The betrayed spouse can only receive the re-education of your trustworthiness through the evidence of you being trustworthy.
With your consistent openness, truthfulness, and faithfulness in all things, he or she will, over time, learn to trust you again. Because trust is built. And anything that is built can be re-built when the intention backed by action is there.
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