How To Rebuild Trust In A Marriage


We hope you enjoy this excerpt from chapter 5 of our new Christian marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another. It not only shows couples how to rebuild trust in a marriage, but it also teaches a very valuable lesson that many husbands will be wise to learn.


Marriage Is Like A Bridge To A Woman


For a woman, marriage is a bridge upon which she desires to safely walk. If that bridge has ever fallen through, she thinks twice before bearing all her weight on it again.

Most women simply want to know that their relationship with their husband is stable in the areas of unconditional love, commitment, emotional intimacy, and finances. Deep down, they desire to know that this bridge called marriage will hold up their sense of self worth as well as their expectations. When it shows signs of weakness, they tend to test its strength by doing what I call jumping up and down. This is usually done in one or more of the following ways:


1. A wife may withhold her love for her husband until she sees that he truly cares about her and not merely himself.

2. She may show hesitancy to act like everything is fine in the marriage.

3. Some act cold or indifferent about the marriage until they see viable change.

4. A wife might question her husband’s motives for making changes for the better.

5. A woman could display a lack of willingness to participate in physical intimacy.

6. She could be curt, and, at times, rude toward her husband.


These are all natural tendencies for a wife that feels insecure about her relationship with her husband. This, of course, does not condone this type of behavior, but it certainly explains why some wives are tempted to act in such a way. I often say that though this describes a woman’s behavior, it does not necessarily prescribe what should happen in a marriage.


Wooing Your Wife On That Bridge


Many a man has found himself standing on a broken down, dilapidated bridge called marriage, trying to encourage his wife to follow. While he stands wooing, begging, and, sometimes, pleading with his wife to trust him once more, she often reacts with reluctance. It is not so much her reluctance or lack thereof that will determine their success, as much as his reaction to her reluctance that will be key.

Some men, while standing on that bridge, feel either afraid or overwhelmed by the task. Others feel incapable. Either way, they will do well not to run and hide from their God-given responsibility to promote an atmosphere of safety in their marriage through sacrificial service and safe conversation.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words


Other men err in that they focus on their wife’s reluctance rather than their responsibility to strengthen the bridge with the planks of unconditional love and biblical character. This is a crucial mistake that many, if not most, men make as they work at rebuilding trust in a marriage.

Early in our marriage, I was guilty of such behavior. Rather than rebuilding the bridge of trust through unconditional love and kindness, I was more focused on the thought of my wife jumping up and down. This only served to delay any type of substantial success.

As a young married man, I would try to use my carefully constructed arguments and long lectures to reassure my wife, Melody, that the bridge would never fall through again. Looking back, I could have avoided countless one-sided discussions by doing more to repair the bridge than trying to sell her on the state of it.

When women show hesitancy to trust their husbands, men often become defensive. Although this is a natural reaction for most men, it will do little to boost a woman’s level of confidence. Men that are prone to such behavior will be wise to understand that there is a formula for rebuilding trust in a marriage. I call it change over time.

Men usually do not mind the numerator of my formula. Change is sometimes easy. It is the denominator of the equation that causes men to struggle.

When men repent or change their minds, they often change on the spot by making an about-face turn. Women, on the other hand, are vastly different in that they reverse directions by making a very slow 180 degree turn. This is often a tremendous source of frustration to men trying to woo their wives.


A Castle Around Her Heart


As we saw in the last chapter, when a woman is hurt, she will often build a castle around her heart and shut the door tight. As she hides out for safety, it is vital that the man patiently serve as he waits for her to open that door. Any signs of impatience will send out a resounding message that he is serving his fears rather than her needs. She will also be prone to perceive that he is simply using date nights, flowers, and charitable acts of kindness as a form of control to get her to conform to his wishes.


– Dr. Raymond Force III


For Individual Study Or Use As A Couples Devotional


Our marriage book, How to Fight For Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, has been designed for individual study as well as a couples devotional. With thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter, couples find our book a helpful resource to encourage healthy, forward-thinking conversation. For ordering information, visit our online resource center.

Prefer listening rather than reading? Check out our audio book or listen to a live recording of one of our How to Fight for Your Marriage – Marriage Conferences. These are great options for the non-reader in your life.

Oops! Almost forgot. There is a that Amazon option also available to you.


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Posted in Marriage Advice

57 comments on “How To Rebuild Trust In A Marriage
  1. Jami Johnson says:

    What about this scenario: after dating for just over a year, man wants to get married. Woman is unsure. Man continues to pursue woman not accepting a no or an I’m not yet sure. Woman agrees to marriage. Upon spending more and more time together, woman is more and more convinced that she does not want to get married nor continue to even see the man. She’s tried to break things off before, never successfully. He refuses to accept a rejection and increases pursuit at any mention of backing off or slowing down. Woman is fragile having experienced three divorces, one involving repeat infidelity after 14 years married, one involving abuse (in every form) for two long and painful years. She also lost her seven year old son in a tragic car accident. How can she firmly explain that she does not want this relationship with kindness and compassion? Please help!

    • Merindy says:

      At this point I think you are beyond kindness and compassion. He is being exceedingly disrespectful in not accepting your “no” for an answer. He is not your boss. He is not in charge of you. Only God can tell you what you should and shouldn’t do and it sounds like He is sending you very clear signals that this is not the one. Do not let yourself be bullied into marriage. Change the locks, change your phone, get a restraining order, tell your boss you do not want to see him and ask that he not be allowed into your workplace. Change your address if you have to. This behavior will lead to an abusive relationship. I don’t mean to be bossy, but these are very concerning signs to me.
      At the bare minimum, he clearly doesn’t respect you and those are very poor grounds on which to build a marriage.

  2. SpoiledPink7 says:

    I was married for 5 years. I would have said the marriage was wonderful. We were teammates, we did all the “right” things together. He took to a porn addiction, which led to dating sites which turned him to extramarital activities with at least 5 other women. And, before you assume, it’s not as if anything was ever withheld from him at home. We did 3 half attempts at Christian marital counseling, always dropping out Bc he wasn’t interested in sticking with it. He was never repentant. I left him two years ago. Recently, he has apologized, repeatedly. Takes full blame for everything, he always did. He’s begging for me to return. He speaks of a grand future and says he wants to provide for me in ways he did not (could not) before. (Financially, etc) I don’t know what to think. It was very hard for me as a Christian woman to walk away from my marriage. But, he’d stonewall and show no interest in working on anything. Please advise.

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