You can’t have a healthy marriage without trust. It’s comparatively easy to trust each other when the emotions are running high at the start. And you know that having an affair with someone else betrays that trust. But there are a number of other ways you may have broken trust with your spouse.
“I love you, but I can’t trust you with my heart.”
A hurting and tearful wife said that to her devastated husband as she moved out of their home. And that had nothing to do with him having an affair. Breaking trust can inflict damage on a relationship in an instant, and it can take a very long time and extraordinary effort to rebuild.
Two sinful humans getting married is a setup for pain. You will let your partner down, and your partner will let you down. God can heal and restore all of that.
But understanding the ways you may have broken trust with your spouse will allow you to prevent more long-term damage before the wounds get any deeper, and to begin the process of repair.
An Emotional Affair
Who has your heart? There is a place in your heart that only your spouse should fill. If you allow any other human being to enter that place, you are on dangerous ground – and breaking trust with your spouse.
That means you don’t develop significant friendships with members of the opposite sex, or have conversations with them about intimate things. That doesn’t mean you deny problems, or don’t get appropriate professional counsel if you need help for your marriage. It does mean you zealously guard your heart.
Some people don’t think porn is a big deal. It is a big deal! Porn deflects sexual energy away from the only person you can legitimately engage sexually with – your spouse. And your spouse’s response to your sexual advances is no excuse.
Sexual conflict in marriage is common, but that is no excuse to go to porn. Going to porn destroys the connection that must be nurtured between you and your spouse. It pulls your heart away. It breaks trust.
Hiding Spending or Money
Some people call it financial infidelity because it can be so destructive. The only reason to hide spending or hide money from your spouse is if you have decided that God has released you from an irreparably toxic and destructive marriage and you are preparing to leave permanently.
Otherwise, it’s not “his” or “hers”; it’s “ours.” You must jointly agree on how much money each of you can spend without the other’s agreement, whether $50 or $5000 or whatever. And then stick to that. Have the money talks.
Putting Friends or Family Above Marriage
When you say “I do” you are creating a new family. Your spouse is counting on that. Your family of origin was important, but that’s not your family now. When there is a conflict, it must be clear to your spouse and to your parents or anyone else that your spouse comes first.
In part, this means you don’t discuss your spouse’s faults with your parents; you find other godly support. Some parents make this easy; some make it hard. Your spouse must be able to trust that he/she is the #1 person in your life, period. No exceptions. Anything else breaks trust.
Being Hurtful to Your Children
This may be more an issue for wives; if you as a husband are harsh, hurtful, or neglectful with the children, the “mother bear” will come out of your wife and you will get the fallout. She needs to feel her children are safe when in your care. It could be the same damage to trust if you as a mother are hurtful to your children.
Parenting styles differ. Children do best with both a mother and a father. This takes ongoing communication between you. But the point is, you break trust with your spouse if the children are not truly loved and cared for.
Failing to Provide and Protect
This again may be more of an issue for wives. It has nothing to do with how much income each of you makes, or what your career “success” looks like. And family comes before career. But if you as a husband are physically able to work and you aren’t doing so, your wife feels insecure.
This issue goes deep into a man’s sense of identity, and some wives can be cruel in how they respond. But the point is, as a husband you are breaking trust with your wife when you are not exerting your whole self in providing for and protecting her.
Failing to tell the Whole Truth
Half-truths, white lies, shading the truth, withholding information – would you like that from your spouse? Doing any of those things breaks trust.
The issue is complete transparency. It’s not about giving a minute-by-minute rendition of every moment of your day, or sharing receipts for every penny spent – unless you’ve previously broken trust in those areas. But it is about living in the sunlight with each other all the time. There are no walls between. Any question is OK, any time.
Criticizing or Controlling
Your spouse’s heart is the most precious and vulnerable thing they have. How safe is your spouse’s heart in your hands? Can they trust you to treat it with kindness and care? Or are you more likely to ignore, demean, criticize, or micro-manage the very core of who your spouse is?
What’s it like to be married to you? Imagine yourself in your spouse’s shoes. If you wouldn’t feel safe in that position, you’ve broken trust with your spouse.
The only One any of us can trust 100% is God Himself. Thankfully He is worthy of our trust!
But growing in the above areas will make a huge difference in the quality of your marriage relationship. Make sure your spouse can trust you.
Your Turn: If asked, where would your spouse say they cannot trust you completely? What will you do to become trustworthy in that area? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- You don’t have to have an affair to have broken trust with your spouse. There are at least eight other ways you can do so. Here are the things to beware of. Tweet that.
How’s the Communication Between You?
Whether newlywed or married for decades, communication is the key to the quality of your relationship. But most couples feel their communication is less than what they desire.
Understanding your communication style, and that of your spouse, will allow you to take your communication to the next level.