Your spouse has blown it. You don’t trust him/her anymore. But you want to save your marriage. How can you learn to trust again? You’re going to need to rebuild your marriage from the bottom up.
This is the stage when you both put your hands up and surrender. This is where there are tears of anguish over the offense caused and tears of relief that it has been confessed and admitted. Actual tears or just tears of the heart say very loudly the two words that the person who was hurt wants to be convinced of, “I’m sorry.” This is where you get on your knees and say, “I can’t do this, Lord, I need your help to trust again.”
With that prayer comes the admission that you need God to help you in the rebuilding process. When forced to start at the bottom and work to rebuild, many times the spouse who has been hurt will do one of three things: run from it, deny it’s happening, or collapse into overwhelming fear and be unable to cope. If you get stuck in one or all of these, it gets you nowhere in the rebuilding process because you’re trusting in yourself to be in control.
Problem is, you are never in control. Unfortunately it may take a wake-up call to remind you of that. What you can know is that God is in control. When things get bad, you are called to turn your eyes off yourself and turn to him. Rather than depending on your own strength, which will only fail you, ask God for the strength to trust and love again.
You may have no hope that such huge problems can be solved. But when pain happens, you need to make a team. This is when you and your spouse join together and join God as you work through restoration. A counselor could be a part of the team as well in helping you work through the rebuilding process.
Next, you and your spouse need to start talking. Pray before communicating. If you’ve depended on God for strength to trust, you can also depend on God to help you communicate what’s really going on so that the other person will best understand. Be honest and yet speak the truth in love. This is when you both communicate your needs and your pain while working to regain trust.
As you talk to each other, don’t be talking to everyone else. While there is a time for your Christian friends to be involved in helping you through the difficult times of your life, this is not one of those where they need to hear all the details. This is between you and your spouse. As you work to rebuild your marriage, hold each other in respect enough to keep your mouths shut around your friends.
Be prepared for attacks. Remember, when you start to rebuild your marriage, the enemy will do all he can to tear it down. The last thing Satan wants is for you to be reconciled. He loves to put isolation and distrust into a relationship and drive people apart. When you seek to restore a relationship, the enemy gets busy and starts to throw doubts at you from within and attacks you from the outside. No matter who wants you to stay apart, God wants you to reconcile. Be aware and be ready for resistance!
Finally, don’t rush this process. It’s going to take time. This is going to be a journey. The element of time plays two roles in the rebuilding process. First, it takes time to heal the pain. Second, you also need time to add some positive experiences to a relationship that’s accustomed to pain. As two people spend time nurturing the relationship and storing up positive memories, the healing process is encouraged. Be willing to persevere.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It’s available in our online bookstore!