What do you do when you don’t trust your husband?
Maybe he did something that chipped (or stripped) away your trust.
Or perhaps you are suspicious of something but don’t know how to bring it up.
I receive so many emails from wives who don’t trust their husbands anymore. I also hear from single women who are dating men who are untrustworthy.
Today’s post is meant to affirm and offer some next-step thoughts for the wife experiencing broken trust in marriage. Make sure to also read these two posts because they will help you:
- 11 Signs of an Untrustworthy Husband
- When You Feel Like You Can Never Trust Your Husband Again
- When Trust is Missing in Marriage: How Do You Love?
So let’s look at what to do when trust becomes an issue in marriage.
My thoughts today are meant to help you process the situation so you can take the next best steps. Your healthy and safety are of utmost importance. At the end of the post, I’ll have a ton of links for further reading.
5 things to remember when you don’t trust your husband
1. Remember trust is earned, not automatically given
For spouses, security in marriage is a big deal. When we give our hearts to our mates, we expect them to keep it safe. That’s how it should be.
However there’s another side to our deep need for security; when our love for peace and stability overcomes our love for a healthy relationship. (A healthy relationship is where both spouses feel cherished and secure.)
When we ignore warning signs and we sit in silence, we set ourselves up for even more trouble because we can’t resolve what we don’t confront. And what stays unaddressed only gets worse, not better.
If you are in a situation where your husband is subtly or not-so-subtly blaming, shaming, manipulating, controlling you to keep things under wraps, I want you to know that that is not okay. Think about it this way.
Your husband did not fall into your life with an all-access pass.
He had to woo you, pursue you and prove himself before you gave him your heart.
If on your first date your beloved had declared “I am a nice guy, I work hard. Just trust me. Marry me. I am telling the truth”, chances are you might not be together today.
No matter how awesome and great he thought he was, he had to prove it to you. He had to build trust.
Both of you came into marriage with positive expectations and vows.
When these things are broken (or suspicion arises), you have a right to stop, talk and evaluate what is going on.
You have a right to hold each other accountable, to walk it out together until trust is rebuilt.He can’t say “But I told you I changed, why don’t you trust me?” It takes more than words.
Trust is not earned by words only, but by consistent deed and action.
If you are flustered about confronting your husband, I want to affirm you; you are well within your rights to speak up and check behavior that makes you uncomfortable. If you’re afraid to confront him alone, please involve a safe third party. (If fear is a hallmark of your marriage, you might be in an abusive marriage. Please check out this page for resources that might help.)
In the end, there’s a process to rebuilding trust but that process doesn’t begin until you draw the line in the sand and take action.When trust is broken in marriage, there's a process to rebuilding trust but that process doesn't begin until spouses draw the line in the sand and take action.
2. It’s okay to seek peace
When you feel like you don’t trust your husband (or suspicion first arises), the first instinct might be to confront.
Tackling the issue is important but perhaps there’s another step before confrontation.
This is the “get your thoughts and emotions together” or “what’s the plan?” step. You want to sit with your emotions for a minute. You want to think. You want to grieve. You want a little space between “discovery” and “action.”
Starting a discussion while feelings are exploding through the roof, while valid, might lead to a different planet than intended. You want the truth and a way forward and that means first gathering yourself.
Peace in the middle of a storm is not easy to come by. I want you to know that you can call on God ask for peace, courage and insight. Talk to your Creator, the One who designed relationships, the One who knows your hurt and confusion.
So talk to God before you talk to your husband. Ask for wisdom, for ideas on how to handle the concern or crisis.
Ask for help with your emotions and thoughts: You want to be able to separate truth from worst-case imaginations. Even if your worst fears are confirmed, you want to win the war for your soul and your confidence.
Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.
3. Talk to your husband
This is likely one of the hardest things you will have to do.
But it’s important to still try because it’s not enough to have inner peace and calmness, you need to bring that peace in to your conversation with your husband.
As you talk about your discovery and concern, keep a steely determination on your goal. Maybe it might help to think about what you really want out of that conversation.
Do you want to start a mind-numbing soul-crashing fight that leaves you worse-off than before?
Or would you like to get to the bottom of things? Hear his explanation? Explore if there are patterns? What is your goal?
If you want progress, then consider all the things you need to do now in order to nudge yourself towards the desired goal.
You might not have control over your husband or his desires or even the final outcome, but you have control over yourself. (You might not have control right now and that’s okay. But think longer-term. Please don’t beat up on yourself if you lose control. That is normal. Just pick up and keep moving.)
4. When you don’t trust your husband, consider involving safe outside support.
Depending on the situation, you might need to bring in healthy safe counsel.
Proverbs 11:14 says
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
The key is trusted counsel and it can be in the form of a licensed counselor, a safe pastor or mentor. At the very least, talk to someone who values individual safety, not just the marriage union.
What if you need counseling but your husband does not want to involve outside help, even forbids you to seek it?
Well, as a wife who has first and foremost sought the Lord, who is working on herself and doing her part in making the marriage whole, you will do exactly what the Bible instructs us to.
We partner and submit to each other in marriage out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5) Where the reverence and desire for Christ and His principles is absent, we are to draw a line.
God wants your marriage whole and healthy but more than a healthy marriage, He wants the people in the marriage safe, whole and restored.
So whenever your husband’s will and the Lord’s will collide, you obey the Lord first.
If your husband won’t seek help, seek it for yourself. Talk to someone. At the end of this post, I’ll have a link to a blog post with details on how to create boundaries with a difficult spouse.
Please note; if you feel unsafe bringing up these conversations with your spouse, only do so in the presence of someone safe.
5. When you don’t trust your husband, remember forgiveness and trust are two different things
One of the reasons people have a hard time forgiving is because they think forgiving someone means accepting the person back into their lives. Or it means overlooking the transgression.
But here’s what it means.
Trust is earned. It’s not something you hand over freely because “I forgave you.”
However, forgiveness is not earned. It might be hard to hear but your husband doesn’t have to prove himself to earn your forgiveness. He has to prove himself to earn back your trust.
In simple terms, forgiveness is lightening of your load, deciding that what your husband has done is not bigger than what Christ already did.
Ephesians 4:31 – 32 says
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
We forgive freely because because Christ forgave us.
Now let’s talk about earning trust.
Putting boundaries in place, to foster and help rebuild trust does not mean you have not forgiven.
For example, if it’s financial mismanagement, handing over all the financial decisions to him “because I forgave him” is unwise.
If he’s breaking boundaries with the opposite sex, having access to his social media, emails, internet use is important for the restoration process. You don’t have to be his chief accountability partner but if you want the access, you should be able to have it. No secrets.
(Please note: the purpose of this type of access isn’t stalking and churning emotions. You might still want to exercise caution so you don’t end up breaking that which you are trying to rebuild. Talk to a counselor/mentor on how to go about this, including your limits.)
You want to walk the road to real healing and that means putting relationship boundaries in place and sticking to those boundaries.
Your husband might not like it but here we are. Cultivating safety and stability is not about his wishes. It’s not even about the interest for the marriage. It is also about your best interest as the spouse that has been wounded.
God wants healthy people, not just the preservation of a marriage. Christ died to save souls, not institutions.
When you don’t trust your husband, there is no easy road
There is no easy process to confronting trust issues in marriage. My quick thoughts today are meant to affirm you and point you in the right direction.
But I have written a ton on related issues and you can click the links below to read.
Also make sure to check out this page for resources for more information.