There are some people you should not trust: Those who don’t like pizza. People who don’t find puppies cute. Those who laugh way too loud or for no apparent reason.
Your spouse shouldn’t be someone you can’t trust. Marriage is built (at least in part) on a foundation of trust. And trust is meant to grow over time.
And yet, it’s not uncommon to find marriages with trouble in the trust department. Somewhere in the journey, one person lost the confidence to see the other as reliable. Trust issues hijack the process of growing together, causing discord and disunity rather than closeness and connection. Trust issues drive a wedge in the intimacy shared between two people.
How do you know you have trust issues in your marriage? And if you do, what can you do about it?
Here are seven signs you have trust issues in your marriage:
- You assume your spouse is going to let you down. It’s just inevitable and a matter of time. They’re gonna disappoint you.
- You hold your spouse at arm’s length. You want them close, but not really and you find it difficult to be emotionally or physically vulnerable with your spouse.
- Maybe you feel the need to hold the remote control in the relationship. You need to know where your spouse is, what they are doing, who they’re with. Every. Single. Moment.
- You feel alone, even when you’re with your spouse. Your lack of trust keeps you from feeling connected.
- You have a hard time forgiving genuine mistakes. Those little things we do because we’re human — you take them as a personal attack and surefire evidence of how unreliable they are.
- You had a really bad experience in a former relationship. After all, if it happened once, it’s bound to happen again, right? This experience has made you self-protective to a fault.
- You see signs of trust issues in other current relationships. If you experience these trust issues with friends or other family members, you could very well have trust issues with your spouse.
Do any of these sound familiar? Is there a chance you are dealing with trust issues toward your spouse? You are not alone. And trust issues can certainly be overcome when you begin to consider why you struggle with trust in the first place.
Three things could be happening if you have trust issues in your marriage.
You have trust issues because of…
- Something that happened between you and your spouse.
- Something that happened before you and your spouse were married.
None of these situations are hopeless. Each may require a slightly different approach to overcome trust issues. Regardless, working through the problems will most certainly require honest conversations with your spouse and will take time.
I’ve seen couples become impatient with this process. They expected instant results. The healing or forgiveness offered was usually shallow at best (since forgiveness is itself a process). The marriage was in worse shape than before.
But the couples I have seen who come out stronger on the other side of trust issues are the ones who kept putting one foot in front of the other. They recognized this kind of thing takes time. And they kept at it. I encourage you to do the same.
- Honest and respectful conversation is vital. Using “I” statements helps your partner be a much better listener and focuses on your own feelings and behavior: I am having a hard time with trust because… I have a hard time being vulnerable because… I think this part of my past has caused me to…
- Working toward building trust may require moving toward healing and forgiveness rather than placing blame. You cannot reestablish trust if you continue to hold your spouse in contempt.
- Practicing vulnerability with your spouse helps locate the source of trust issues. What may have been the trigger that began your trust issues? Your family upbringing? A bad experience with a former romance? An experience with abuse? Opening up to your spouse about these issues can be difficult. But doing so can begin to reverse the lack of trust, which divides your relationship.
- Consider seeking the help of a trusted professional. Counselors can help resolve trust conflicts between you and your spouse or help you work through prior life events, which contributed to your trust issues.
Related: How to Rebuild Trust in Marriage
Building trust with your spouse is vital to your healthy marriage. The good news is there is hope in working through trust issues. Begin the conversation with your spouse. Put one foot in front of the other. Don’t get in a hurry, and seek help where needed. What lies on the other side is a stronger marriage and a deeper connection with your spouse.
★ Working through trust issues in marriage will require healthy communication. Build better communication in your marriage with these tools!
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***