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. If you are single, make sure to read this post 11 Signs of an Untrustworthy Husband because it will help you.
So let’s look at what to do when trust becomes an issue in marriage. We will look at what you should do and what you should not.
My thoughts today are meant to help you process the situation so you can take the next best steps. 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 women, security in marriage is a big deal. When we give our hearts to our guys, we expect them to keep it safe. That’s a good and honorable expectation.
However there’s a dark side to our deep need for security; when our love for peace and stability overcomes our love for a healthy marriage. (A healthy relationship is where both spouses feel cherished and secure.)
When we ignore warning signs and allow our spouse to manipulate and control us to 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 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.
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. Calm down
When you feel like you don’t trust your husband (or suspicion arises), the first instinct is to confront.
Tackling the issue is important but it should not be the first step.
Starting a discussion while feelings are raw and exploding through the roof will likely lead you on a different planet than intended.
Further, you’ll reap the opposite of what you were trying to achieve; you likely want to do more than stir up emotions. You want the truth, healing and a lasting solution.
You cannot get these three things by yourself. You need to talk to the God who designed marriage, the One who knows your husband better than you do.
Prayer is powerful because it helps us tap into a jurisdiction higher than our own. No one knows the heart of your husband as God does. Furthermore, no one understands your hurt as He does.
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.
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; to keep it together when you finally have that talk.
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. That means watching your tone of voice, your words, your body language. Berating, yelling, throwing things will discourage a conversation, not encourage it.
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 side of story? What is your long-term goal? Do you want restoration?
If you want progress, then consider all the things you need to do now in order to nudge your relationship 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.
So work on what you can because you want to have some level of peace about your contribution. You want to be able to say “I am giving it my best”
Also, it might help to remember that no matter what you think you know, you really don’t know what is in your man’s heart. Further, you can’t change him even if you knew.
So do your part and remember God knows more than you do. When you do your part and trust Him to do His, He will lead you.
1 Kings 8:39
then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind.
4. When you don’t trust your husband, consider involving others.
Depending on the situation, you’ll need to bring in trusted 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 biblical counsel and it can be in the form of a Christian counselor, your pastor or mentor. At the very least, talk to someone who is not against the marriage union.
Seek counsel from someone who shares your values, who values marriage as much as you do, one who will root for the health and healing of a marriage, not it’s demise.Seek counsel from someone who shares your values, who values marriage as much as you do, one who will root for the health and healing of a marriage, not it's demise.
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.
Ephesians 5:22 says
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
We partner and submit to each other in marriage out of reverence for Christ. 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 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 most 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 you want to have that access.
(Please note: the purpose of this type of access isn’t stalking and churning emotions. As the wife, you still have 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.)
If you find out there was an affair, asking for time to process the broken trust before sexual intimacy can resume does not mean you have not forgiven.
You want to walk the road to real healing and restoration and that means putting relationship boundaries in place and sticking to those boundaries.
Your husband might not like it but here we are. The restoration process is not all about his wishes, not even the best interest of the marriage. It is also about your best interest.
God wants healthy people, not just the preservation of a marriage. Christ died to save souls, not institutions.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 not 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.
For more support and encouragement for your marriage, my friend Rebekah Hallberg runs an online support group for wives who are standing for their marriage. Learn more here.
Are you wrestling with the overwhelm of new marriage and desperate for a step by step guide on how to end the confusion, fussing and misunderstandings? Want healing and happiness in your marriage? Or maybe you just want to understand marriage so you can love better, create the relationship of your dreams, God’s way. My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years can help! Pick it up Amazon Paperback I Kindle I Nook I PDF