Worthy of Her Trust
by Stephen Arterburn
– Once you have lost your wife’s trust, you can gain it back, but it will be difficult and you must be open and accountable.
– There is no specific structure for building trust back with your wife, but it can’t happen as you consistently and methodically work at it.
– Myths that many people use and believe about rebuilding trust:
1. Time heals all wounds and heals trust. Time does not remove the memory and/or fade the heart. Time alone is not the answer.
2. Not acting out again will build the trust. Not repeating bad behavior will help you and your spouse, but by itself will not build the trust. Stopping the bad behavior is not enough, you have to replace it with good behavior. Ephesians 4:28
3. Trust will be restored when your wife discontinues being a control freak. This is just shifting the blame instead of dealing with your own issues. Where there is a wife deeply controlling, there is usually insecurity and fear on their behalf. If you feel like your wife is trying to control you, you need to do 2 things:
A. Not be controlling yourself — It’s amazing that we don’t want someone else to control us so we become controlling. Don’t use the “I am the head of this house” card, because you relinquished that when you were not acting like the man you should be.
B. Focus on security, or providing your wife security.
4. He wouldn’t do this if he really loved me. Until someone admits that they are done living a life of sin, nothing will change and their behavior will continue the same. You can blame it on your wife, your background or society, but they are not the problem. It is too easier to say you have fallen out of love instead of admitting your own wicked sin.
5. Having more or different sex will fix it. Transforming your wife to an object for your sexual gratification is a slap both in her face and God’s. If you have been unfaithful or addicted to porn, you are only damaging your relationship and mind by having your wife play out old thoughts. If we are immoral, we are wrong no matter how much excuse we think we might have — the wife did not initiate or have enough sex. There is no excuse! You you have to surrender every day to God, both your will and the rights you believe you have. Submitting yourself to God is the only way to get over things.
6. Prayer alone or only prayer will rebuild the trust. Prayer is very important, but prayer without a plan will not rebuild the trust. You cannot pray yourself out of something that you behaved yourself into; prayer without action will not get you anywhere.
7. Trust will be restored when she decides to forgive. Forgiveness is important, but it does not rebuild trust. Your wife’s forgiveness is for her, not you. Be forgivable — put yourself in her shoes; ask yourself if you would forgive you if you were in her shoes.
8. God will miraculously deliver you from the sexual trouble and your marriage will be saved. Recovery is not about a body but about sanctification. Temptation is not a sin rather what we do with the temptation. God may not remove all the temptations, because maybe He is making us better and stronger in those temptations.
– Do not use spirituality as a smokescreen to make your wife trust you.
– If your wife does not trust you but trust God, something is not good or right.
– If you will actively pursue the heart of God, you can know that you will be right with your wife in the area of sexual purity. You cannot walk with God as well as in sinful, sexual sins.
– Are you trying to change yourself for your wife or for God – one is temporary and one is permanent. If you change for God, other things will fall into place.
– Where are you and your relationship with God? Is He just the Creator of the universe God or your personal Heavenly Father God? Your relationship with God will determine almost everything.
– Commit to passionately deepening your relationship with God.
– There’s nothing greater for a wife as when her husband is passionately in love and dedicated to God.
– You must learn to be transparent and accountable in every area if you are going to gain back your wife’s trust.
– If you feel like your wife is nagging you with questions, it is very likely because she realizes that she is not getting the whole truth from you.
– If you have lacked sexual integrity with your wife, you must understand that sharing details with your wife is not determined by you but by her. In her mind, the lack of details might make her assume the worst.
– It is recommended that you have 2-3 accountability partners and you meet weekly. If you only have one accountability partner, he might not be able to meet for some reason because of family, sickness, etc. Having multiple people will be helpful.
– Your accountability partners should have lives that you want to emulate. If they as well have problems with addictions and sexual integrity, they should not be considered to be an accountability partner. Find people who are at least as spiritually mature as you, if not more mature. It is better that they are not family members of either you or your wife. Remember that it is not their responsibility to keep you accountable, it is your responsibility to be accountable to them.
– If you are afraid of your wife calling and asking your accountability partners how you’re doing, you probably need to have a self examination.
– Your wife should have access to absolutely everything in your life – this means email accounts, checking accounts, safes, lockers, gym bags, office space, wallets, iPads, phones, computers, etc. Allowing nothing to be private from your wife is crucial in building trust with you.
– Why do you need privacy from your wife? What are you hiding? What is so important that she cannot see it?
– Remember that secrets equal setbacks when you’re trying to build trust.