Building Trust In Marriage

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Couples who focus on building trust in marriage are less likely to divorce. Husbands and wives who practice being open and transparent, accountable, and faithful may avoid some of the problems that plague troubled relationships. The key is to begin practicing the art of transparency and accountability early in the union, and waging a consistent and continual battle against deception in any form. Couples who are more committed to making wedlock work will find building trust in marriage an easy task. Trust, or placing one's confidence in another individual, first requires faith and trust in God. Christians who develop a personal and enduring relationship with the Lord can rely on His ability to preserve the marriage and keep a spouse honest. A complete reliance on the Lord's power to preserve the vow of fidelity is crucial to maintaining the sanctity of a holy union between two people. The Author of holy wedlock is well able to meld two hearts and give husbands and wives the willingness to entreat one another with love and consideration. A godly man, though tempted to err, will also be more apt to abide by the Word of God and avoid the entanglements of an illicit affair. "In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge" (Proverbs 14:26).

The process of building trust in marriage actually begins at courtship and deepens as the relationship grows. During the dating phase, men and women are not only seeking to find compatibility and compassion, but also discovering a mate's ability to be faithful. A potential mate with wandering eyes may make a poor husband. Similarly, women who frequently make and break promises or appear to have more than one suitor may not be suitable for the permanency of holy matrimony. Each date, every telephone call, or every visit is an opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness to a potential life partner. While an individual's independence is also important, when a couple decides to marry, accountability becomes more significant. Engaged couples who are secretive about where they work, who their friends are, or how and with whom their time is spent may have something to hide. If a prospective spouse cannot share intimate details while dating, they may not be so forthcoming after the wedding.

Because holy matrimony is a melding of two distinctly different personalities, building trust in marriage requires sharing one's innermost feelings, emotions, and faith. Couples who are transparent and honest with one another will begin to develop an impenetrable bond that is not easily broken. Husbands and wives who share the same bed, eat the same food, and live in the same house should not live separate and secretive lives. A wife should be her husband's chief confidante, sharing his hopes and fears, trials and triumphs! Building trust in marriage becomes a natural result of constant communication and intimacy shared between two individuals who rely on each other for emotional support, comfort, and companionship. "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?" (Proverbs 5:15-20).

Spouses who are willing to become accountable may also be less likely to cheat. A husband who shares constant communication and companionship with his wife will have little opportunity to engage in an extramarital affair. Couples concerned about building trust in marriage should be willing to keep each other informed about personal and work schedules or any alterations to regular routines. There is no harm in telephoning the wife at home if there is a delay in leaving work or an unscheduled stop at the hardware store. Similarly, wives should feel an obligation to let husbands know when a girls' night out will last longer than expected. Closing gaps and doors to opportunities to commit adultery or have illicit liaisons is a safeguard against infidelity and extremely helpful in building trust in marriage. Remember: harboring secrets paves the way to sin. Secret bank accounts; covert conversations, especially with someone of the opposite sex; online innuendos; or clandestine companionship is the best way to sabotage a successful marriage.

Being faithful to one's spouse is crucial to building trust in marriage. While being trustworthy in intimate relations is vitally important, fidelity extends to every area of married life. Can a wife trust her husband not to divulge intimate confidences with a close friend or business associate? Can a man rely on a wife not to make him the brunt of a bridge club's jokes? Or can a husband trust a wife not to overspend or max out the credit cards when the family finances are tight? Keeping confidences, presenting a spouse in the best possible light before others, and becoming a mate's personal cheerleader or exhorter are vital to building confidence. No married man or woman should ever be made to feel insecure, fearful, or betrayed by a spouse's lack of sensitivity or concern. As husbands and wives strive to become more transparent, accountable, and faithful, a mutually satisfying lifelong partnership is highly possible.

Rebuilding Trust In Marriage

Although the road to rebuilding trust in marriage requires careful maneuvering, couples can find their way back to a happy home. When a husband or wife has an extramarital affair, it may take years to mend broken hearts and reconcile severed emotions. The offended spouse experiences feelings of betrayal; and the loss of trust can set off an avalanche of emotions that could very well end up in divorce. Whether a couple has been married for two years or twenty, the end of infidelity is the same: the offended and the offender suffer pain, anguish, guilt and shame. "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). There is judgment for those who commit adultery, but God also offers second chances. The love between a husband and wife can quench the fire of infidelity, if they choose to forgive, let go and let God repair the breach.

Couples can begin rebuilding trust in marriage by applying biblical principles, especially forgiveness. Seeking the aid of an impartial marriage or spiritual counselor to help guide them through the process of reconciliation is also a viable option. Counselors help partners alienated by adultery discuss innermost feelings and determine whether the marriage can be saved. In spite of wounded hearts, both parties must examine what is at stake should they ultimately divorce. Are young children or teens involved? Who would get custody? Can the two afford to live separately in an uncertain economy? Is this the first transgression or has infidelity been a pattern throughout the marriage? And finally, is there enough love left to continue working towards reconciliation? If the couple decides to reconcile, rebuilding trust in marriage requires that the victim forgive and strive to forget. While the adulterer must be willing to refrain from activities that eventually led to the affair. The Book of Proverbs offers a wealth of counsel for those struggling with the sin of adultery:

"My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth." (Proverbs 5:1-18).

Crucial to rebuilding trust in marriage is for the unfaithful spouse to completely separate from the person they were involved with. If it is a coworker, changing jobs or departments may be the only option. Avoiding all contact via telephone, email or in person helps brings closure to an illicit affair, while ensuring the husband or wife that the unfaithful spouse can be trusted again. Ending an online extramarital affair may involve unsubscribing from social networking sites, blocking instant messages and inboxes from cyberspace lovers, or using a home computer only if their spouse is present.

As the offender makes a sincere attempt to separate from any third party, they should also make an effort toward rebuilding trust in marriage by becoming more accountable. Calling a husband or wife before leaving work, avoiding long periods away from home, curtailing overnight travel for business or pleasure, or inviting the spouse to come along whenever possible will help alleviate a partner's fear of future infidelity. Establishing a pattern of accountability and increasingly constant companionship also helps husbands and wives refrain from straying outside the home.

Rebuilding trust in marriage also involves rebuilding an intimate relationship and closing doors to opportunities to cheat again. Couples in marital crisis must examine why the affair happened in the first place. What doors were opened that need to be closed? Were there too many hours spent alone? Had they grown apart due to career challenges, chronic illness, or personality differences? Were there casual relationships with the opposite sex that met emotional needs? Whatever the case, doors opened to unfaithfulness must be closed, and new doors opened to rediscover intimacy solely with the husband or wife.

Couples seeking methods of rebuilding trust in marriage may consider attending weekend retreats designed to rekindle emotional ties. Many secular and Christian organizations and churches sponsor two- to three-day events designed to provide counseling and support for struggling partners. During these kinds of retreats, ministers and counselors are on hand to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation. Detailed information, including registration, accommodations, and fees, are included on organization websites. Partners may find that spending time and money toward rebuilding trust in marriage is an invaluable investment and an effective safeguard against future infidelity.

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