Steps to rebuild trust – Betrayed :Part 2
by Dr. Dave Currie
Last month, in Part 1 of Betrayed, I laid out the challenges facing our generation regarding the breaking of trust. In it I detailed the 12 steps that the offending partner should take to seek to rebuild trust with their mate. If you haven’t read Part 1, you can view it on my website at DoingFamilyRight.com or on the Light Magazine website lightmagazine.ca/2017/03/betrayed-the-challenge-of-rebuilding-trust.
Now, in Part 2 of Betrayed, I want to address those who were cheated on, lied to and left deeply hurt as a result. They are the wounded. These are their steps to reconnecting after a betrayal. How can you rebuild trust? What role does the wounded spouse play in bringing a relational turnaround? While the onus for a rebuild lies primarily on the offender, the betrayed partner has some real work to do too.
The Wounded: Steps to Reconnecting After Being Betrayed
1. Look for God-honouring, real changes. While they, the offender, do the initial groundwork toward the rebuilding of the relationship, you, much like a building inspector, will scrutinize their efforts in the re-construction, and the quality of the work. You are looking to see if their steps are real and sincere. Their decisions and the resulting directions they take have to be more than managing “fall out” of the betrayal, or creating the optics of recovery. You are watching for consistency of behaviour in a good direction. Keep observing them in a variety of circumstances for greater indication that their change is genuine. Don’t live to trap them. Just ask the honest questions and listen to their heart in the answer.
2. Let God anchor you through restoration. He is our hope. He can give strength and perspective when we cannot find any. The Lord, more than anyone else knows the hurt and confusion you are going through. Listen to His prompting. Stay in His Word. Get some good people around you praying for you, your heart, your responses and your healing. Ask God daily to help bring healing to you both as you move toward integrity and recovery in the relationship.
3. Learn to walk in forgiveness. Bitterness will kill you and any chance at a recovered relationship in the future. If you are governed by resentment, you will have a hard time even seeing positive signs of real change if they are there. It takes great strength to reconcile. Ask God to help you move toward forgiveness. You know you will have to get there some day – it’s His plan for us all. Forgiveness is a gift to your own soul; it’s part of your healing too. When you do forgive, it doesn’t remove the need for boundaries and accountability. It just begins the journey toward well being between you and your spouse again.
4. Risk loving again. Make room in your heart for your mate. Act out your recommitment to the marriage. Give genuine reassurance that you are trying when you can. It will seem like a long road for them to regain your trust. It is. Commitment in marriage always has its risks. Recommitment after betrayal is even harder. Be calculated and intentional with eyes-wide open as you look for genuine changes in them. Yet you must at some point go beyond your fear and insecurity and start loving in return. Deeply seek the Lord in the matter. Even as trust is regained over time, reconnection and closeness is equally a journey.
5. Face your own baggage. Be sure you have looked in the mirror and began facing any of your issues. What are the problems within the marriage that you are responsible for? What shortcomings may have (sorry to be so direct) contributed to any void or vulnerability in your mate’s life? This doesn’t give any justification for the betrayal, but it needs to be considered.
6. Agree to go for help. Whether it’s the initial third party mediator, a counsellor or a pastor in days following, agree to seek balanced and God-honouring guidance from a trusted source. Work through both the betrayal and the struggles in the marriage that are also there. Be sure to go for help if you can’t get to forgiveness or if the inability to trust persists.
There you have it. As clear as these steps may be and as constructive as they are for rebuilding trust, there is a lot of hard work ahead of you. Braid God into the recovery at every turn.
Someone you know is stuck in a state of broken trust. Love them enough to pass this along to them. If you are in this journey, share with me where things are breaking down for you in the recovery. Contact me with your questions or comments or let me connect you to one of our counseling staff to help you in rebuilding trust. Go to doingfamilyright.com for all the help you will need.