Fortunately, I’ve been able to help many of these folks regain their trust and actually discover a wonderful marriage. It ain’t easy, but it can be done. The road to healing is littered with minefields, though, and things can easily blow up if we aren’t careful. It’s hard to explain in a few paragraphs, but take my word for it, that most couples cannot survive trust issues without a little outside guidance. Look at all the possibilities:
- Both Spouse A and B are trustable and both trust each other.
- Both Spouse A and B are trustable, but A doesn’t trust B or B doesn’t trust A.
- Spouse B is not trustable and Spouse A is trustable and A doesn’t trust B or B doesn’t trust A.
- Spouse A is not trustable and Spouse B is trustable and A doesn’t trust B or B doesn’t trust A.
- Either Spouse A or B are not trustable, but both trust each other.
- Either Spouse A or B are not trustable, but one trusts the other and one doesn’t.
- Either Spouse A or B are not trustable and neither trusts the other.
- Both Spouse A or Spouse B are not trustable and neither trusts each other.
- Both Spouse A or B are not trustable and both trust each other.
- Both Spouse A or B are not trustable, but one trusts the other and the other doesn’t.
So, ahhh, which option above means we should divorce? That’s a rhetorical question to illustrate that trust is very tender, it is easy to lose and it is difficult to gain back. I hope you can also see, the only option that works above is #1: if both are trustable and both trust each other. Every other scenario is fraught with difficulty and fear and anxiety and worry and doubt (the one who doesn’t trust) and feelings of being controlled and attacked (the person who wasn’t trustable or isn’t trustable or is trustable and is attacked for being untrustable) or my spouse is a crazy person or I’m being taken for a fool (either the non-trusting or the untrustable spouse).
Consider: A couple might not trust each other for a lot of reasons: One of A or B’s parents or both A and B’s parents might have cheated and either divorced the other or they stayed married with a lot of pain. A or B or A and B might have had a boy or girlfriend cheat on A or B or A and B in high school or college or in a previous cohabiting situation or marriage. A or B or A and B might have done the cheating and now A or B or A and B have a difficult time believing anyone is trustable and now A or B or A and B see ghosts in the night when there are none there.
Or to say it another way: it is difficult to trust anyone if anyone else in your past has cheated on you or if you have cheated on anyone.
I wrote it’s difficult. I didn’t write it’s impossible. Basically, you shouldn’t trust someone if they are not trustable. The burden is on the untrustable person to be trustable. Basically, you should trust someone if they are trustable and the burden is on the person who doesn’t trust to learn to trust the trustable person. I hope you can see usually both parties (the one who doesn’t trust and the one who isn’t trustable) have work to do to bring healing to the relationship (where both are trustable and both trust each other).
Or to say it another way: the waters of trust are difficult to navigate. Having a guide is helpful. That’s where we come in. Let us help you be a couple where both are trustable and both are trusting. It’s actually a wonderful way to live. We can’t undo the past, but we can heal and learn from the past and we can be trustable and have integrity going forward and learn again be trusting. As Proverbs 10:9 says, “He who walks in integrity, walks securely.” I highly recommend integrity for both parties as a lifestyle (see my series on Integrity).
And no, just because you don’t trust your spouse, it doesn’t mean you should divorce. It means you both are going to have some work to do and it’ll take some time. A little patience might be good. Love is patient, after all.
But if you divorce, you haven’t learned to be trusting or trustable and you bring your trust problem into your next relationship, only the next time it’ll all be multiplied in intensity. You may as well figure it out now instead of borrowing trouble. Usually divorce is borrowing trouble for the future. Divorce freezes your personal shortcomings and creates just one more problem of trust to be overcome