Your marriage is as strong as your trust in one another. Once that trust has been broken, your marriage too will form cracks. Trust is one of the most important aspects of a marriage. Trust is difficult to gain, easy to lose, and nearly impossible to gain back once it has been broken.
it won’t be easy, but trust can be rebuilt. Whether the affair was an affair of the heart or a physical, encounter, betrayal cuts deep. If you have been through infidelity in the marriage you no doubt know the heartache that follows. It seems even if you’ve been able to forgive your partner, learning to trust them is no easy process.
Both the unfaithful spouse and the wounded partner need to know how to move forward after an affair. Here are the 10 steps to healing and rebuilding trust in a broken marriage.
1. Take Responsibility
If you are the one who was unfaithful, you no doubt feel terrible and guilty for what your action has done to your partner and desire to fix things in your marriage. To do this you must take responsibility for your actions. Do not deny what happened. Instead, admit to it.
Acting as though the accusations are not true will only hurt your spouse further. Come clean and tactfully answer any questions your spouse has. Acknowledge the hurt and pain you have caused your partner and apologize from the heart. Pledge your commitment to fixing the marriage.
It also goes without saying that in order to take full responsibility for your actions you must end your affair and cut off all communication with this person.
Communication is essential in order for a marriage to survive an infidelity. You and your spouse need to work on communicating regularly about topics both big and small. Many couples seek marriage counseling after an affair to get to the root of their problems and learn how to communicate effectively.
3. Show Courtesy
Are you going to be late coming home from work? Call. Are you headed out for a social visit with someone? Invite your partner. Is your partner calling you? Answer the phone or call back as soon as possible. After trust has been broken you need to remind your partner that there is nothing you wouldn’t do to regain that trust, and no one else more important in your life.
4. Be Consistent
In order to be seen as trustworthy once more, you need to be consistent with your actions. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you will be somewhere at a certain time, you’d best move mountains to make sure you follow through. Do not make your partner guess about your whereabouts or whether you will do what you claim.
5. Be Transparent
After there has been infidelity in the marriage, your privacy is no longer your own. In order to regain your partner’s trust, you must be transparent in everything.
Smartphones and other devices make it easy to be unfaithful to your partner. Therefore, it is best for your partner to have full access to your phone. That means social media and email passwords and the ability to check your apps and text messages on a moment’s notice.
Your work schedule and other activities should be an open book to your partner. Do not lock doors behind you, do not look up things in secret, don’t delete your internet history, and do not shut down when your partner asks for your thoughts. In order to truly fix your marriage, you must be open.
As the affected party, if you truly want to strengthen your marriage and move on from this heartbreak, there comes a time when you will need to forgive your partner. Do this only when you feel they have honestly re-committed themselves to your marriage.
Is it possible to forgive an action without restoring trust? Know also that trust and forgiveness are very different things. You can forgive your partner, showing grace and love, but that does not mean you trust them. Trust cannot be given, it can only be earned at this point.
7. Restore Intimacy
Now that you have both decided to work on your marriage, it’s time to restore the emotional and physical intimacy in your marriage. Emotional intimacy and the willingness to be vulnerable with one another is what bonds you and helps restore trust.
When you are intimate with your spouse your body produces oxytocin, which is responsible for feelings of attachment and trust. It is difficult to think about being physically intimate with a partner who has broken your trust, especially if they have been with someone else during the affair, but this act can be beneficial for rebuilding trust.
8. Use Common Sense
Don’t do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing in front of your mate. This goes for both the spouse who was betrayed and the partner who was unfaithful. For the unfaithful spouse, use common sense before you make decisions. Act as though your partner were in the room with you.
Would you still be typing that search into the internet, talking to this person over social media, or heading out for this work party? Do not do anything alone that you wouldn’t want your spouse to find out about.
As for the partner whose trust was broken, once the trust has been broken, there can be a tendency to seek revenge, especially in women. This makes one partner seek an affair in order to hurt their partner, spend money they don’t have, or drag their partner’s reputation through the mud.
If you feel inclined to seek revenge, remember that you have also re-committed yourself to your marriage. Do not do anything that would ruin the bond that you are trying to re-establish with your partner.
Trust is a difficult thing to gain back after there has been infidelity in the marriage, but it is not impossible to restore your relationship to a healthy place. Work on being transparent, building communication, and being consistent in your behavior. These will take you down the road to recovery after infidelity.