Many of you were able to attend the SAL Conference on November 11th. There was a Q&A session at the end of the evening, and many questions were left unanswered due to time. We will use some of these questions to start our discussion here.
“What is the best thing a husband can do to rebuild trust in marriage?”
This is a great question. Rebuilding trust is a long, complicated process. At least, it has been for us. It turns out that trust isn’t something that happens overnight or that can materialize as a result of some grand gesture. Rather, trust is more like filling a jar with marbles, one small offering at a time.
Social scientist Brene Brown has discovered through her research,
“It’s very clear. Trust is built in very small moments.”
In my marriage, we are trying to rebuild trust one marble at a time.
- Seeing my husband doing dailies, attending meetings, calling his sponsor, and staying sober are fundamental to my marble jar.
- Seeing my husband participate in family activities and carry the burden of helping in family chores adds marbles as I see him engage instead of check out.
- Nightly check-ins add important marbles to my jar as he shares his inner world and helps me see his heart.
- Seeing his efforts to treat our children, especially our oldest son, with respect helps add marbles to our jar.
- Seeing him take accountability for his actions, attitudes, and the pain he has brought into our home adds marbles that heal my heart.
- But perhaps, the most important marbles to me at this point are when he shows patience and empathy when I am struggling with triggers or overwhelming sadness due to my trauma. When he gives me space, shows empathy, and waits without complaint for me to work my recovery, this adds some serious marbles to my jar.
As for me, I also have a responsibility to add marbles to our jar. Although it is often difficult to want to connect, choosing to let him in instead of close him out can put marbles in his jar.
In regards to relationships, Brene Brown has also said,
“To choose not to connect when the opportunity is there is a moment of betrayal.”
Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to open up and take that opportunity again, but if I want our marriage to work, I have to take the chance.
When I am working my recovery and he is working his, we both have the opportunity to give and accept marbles in our trust jar. Over time, I believe we can fill it back up.
I don’t know how long this will take, but here’s a hint, we are almost 3 years into recovery.
We’re still working, one marble at a time, to fill that jar, patiently working our program and expecting all the gifts of the program to be ours. We know, however, that we wait on His timing, and we trust the process.
What are things your husband is doing that help you rebuild trust?
What are things you are doing to rebuild the trust in your marriage?
I look forward to hearing what is working for you!