What happens when you feel like you can never trust your husband again?
Trust in a relationship takes a lifetime to build, but a moment to break.
Through the years, I have talked to women who are struggling to navigate issues of broken trust in marriage. It’s heartbreaking to discover that the person you gave your heart to been betrayed that trust.
Today I am excited to host Ashley Harris to share her thoughts on what to do when you feel like you never trust your husband again. I love her perspective and I hope it offers encouragement and some concrete next steps for your situation.
What do you do when you feel like you can never trust your husband again?
Maybe there’s been an emotional affair, he has been unfaithful, he’s engaged with pornography or has been keeping secrets from you.
No matter the breach of trust, this kind of discovery can be devastating for any spouse.
First, let me say, if you are reading this post because you’re experiencing this kind of heartbreak, trying to figure out how to move forward, I am so sorry.
I also want you to know you are not alone and you do not have to walk through this by yourself. I remember the heartache of discovering that my husband struggled with pornography addiction in the early years of our marriage.
I was hurt, confused, disgusted, and devastated.
We had issues with our sexual intimacy when we got married and after making this discovery, I assumed it was my fault. But then I learned that his struggled with pornography was not about me.
We worked through that season with a lot of prayer, repentance, and counsel and came out stronger on the other side. I want you to know there is hope, no matter how far gone your situation may seem.
At this moment, you may feel as if your trust can never be mended; like your heart may never be the same. But even in the midst of this grief, as Christians, we can cling to the promise that through Christ and as we do our part, we can be restored.
Now, there are a lot of caveats to these situations and unique factors that make a one-size-fits-all solution impossible. I always recommend couples seek counseling so that someone can walk alongside you in your specific situation.
For a marriage to be fully restoration, both spouses have to be willing and engaged. Sometimes it takes a while for the spouse responsible for the hurt in the marriage to come around.
But eventually they have to make up their mind to change because a healthy marriage takes two. Whether your husband is engaged in the process of restoration or not, there are many things a wife can do to work toward a positive outcome.
We’ll explore some of those in today’s post.
12 things to do when you feel like you can never trust your husband again
1. Let yourself grieve.
Before you do anything else, give yourself a little space to grieve. Especially if you’ve made this discovery accidentally or due to searching for it, there is an added level of betrayal that you need to give yourself time to process.
If you’ve made this discovery because of your husband’s confession, you can ask for that space to grieve.
Communicate that you are not walking away from them, but that you need a little space to grieve, then come back together at an appointed time to start doing the work to heal your marriage.
If you are feeling particularly triggered, make sure to read this post to learn how to navigate triggers in marriage.
2. Give yourself space to think clearly before confronting.
Similarly to giving yourself space to grieve, take time to get into a calmer headspace before you fly off the handle.
While your anger is completely justified, what you do in these moments will still have consequences. It can be easy to approach your spouse with righteous anger in these situations.
It can feel like that kind of catharsis will make you feel better, but it won’t last. That kind of approach will not be productive. Confronting in anger is a reaction that will only make you feel better temporarily, but it will not serve your marriage.
One of the questions you can ask yourself, when you want to fly off the handle is “what is my goal with this conversation?”
If your goal is to actually address the issues, then you’ll allow the necessary space to cultivate the a calmer mindset that will help you achieve your goal.
3. Approach the situation with empathy and humility.
As angry and hurt as you might be, how you react and treat your spouse through this situation will speak to their hearts, whether they admit it or not.
Humility, kindness, and empathy are going to be vital for both you and your spouse as you walk through this season of your marriage. And I’m praying alongside you that it is only a season.
It’s important to remember that your spouse is likely batting something deep within themselves that you cannot see. No one makes these kinds of decisions on accident and there may be a lot of hurt and pain behind their actions.
Additionally, in situations like an emotional or sexual affair, secret-keeping, pornography, or another betrayal of trust, it can be easy to put ourselves on a pedestal.
But it’s important to remember that we are not perfect either.
Certainly, there are levels to sin and failure but the point is as believers, we have all betrayed the trust of our Savior: We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
In moments like this, it is important to remember that and to approach the situation with humility.
Understanding that there are layers to problems and we have needed forgiveness from Christ in other areas of our lives helps us approach the issues with clarity and softness of heart.
4. If you feel like you can never trust your husband again, remember to create boundaries.
Boundaries are so necessary for any healing work to be done. They protect your well being, support your spouse as they seek healing and recovery and protect your marriage in its fragile state.
If you can learn the importance of boundaries in the early years of your marriage, you can save yourself a lot of grief in the later years. Read this post on 5 ways create limits with a difficult spouse.
Further, consider picking up the following resources to help implement firm and loving limits to help facilitate rebuilding trust.
Affiliate links. Read disclosure
- Boundaries in Marriage by John Townsend & Henry Cloud
- When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People by Gary Thomas
5. Seek individual counseling, in addition to marital counseling when you feel like you can never trust your husband again.
When your heart is hurt by something like an affair, that can create trauma and pain that needs to heal. Hurt like that can start to seep into other relationships and can lead to anxiety, depression, and isolation.
While couples need to do the work to rebuild trust in their relationship, you as an individual also need support to heal your own wounds.
You are a distinct individual person with their own faith and relationship with Christ. It is imperative that during this healing time, you take time for yourself.
I also highly advise that whatever counselor(s) you choose is Christ-centered. Secular counseling is just as beneficial, but you’ll want someone who offers wisdom from a Biblical perspective.
6. Cling to hope.
Your pastor, counselors, and friends may give their opinions and encouragement. But they can’t hear from God on your behalf.
They are not walking in your shoes and are not responsible for implementing the Spirit’s guidance in your life. No one has more authority over this situation than God and it’s important for you to stay in tune with His will for You.
Though you are deeply hurting right now, don’t pull away from God. You need His guidance, strength, and healing now more than ever.
7. When you feel like you can never trust your husband again, remember to pray for your marriage.
Fighting for your marriage is as spiritual of a battle is it is an emotional and practical one. And we cannot fight spiritual battles without spiritual weapons.
Especially in the early years of marriage, these disciplines will be crucial in building a strong relationship. Even more so if you’re on rocky ground.
Fasting and prayer are our most formidable weapons in this situation. I cannot encourage you enough to devote yourself to praying fiercely and faithfully for your marriage, your spouse, and your own heart.
Fasting is a powerful way to engage with the spiritual by denying the physical. You can read more about the benefits of fasting for your marriage here.
Alongside engaging in prayer for your marriage, seek allies. It never hurts to have someone you can lean on who will fight on their knees for your marriage with you.
Find a deeply trusted friend, pastor, or mentor who will agree to pray with you and for your marriage.
8. Be careful with what you share with others
It’s important to be careful about what you are sharing with your friends and family about your spouse.
How you paint them to others is what they will see. Long after you have resolved your trust issue, your friends and family will struggle to see your spouse in a different light.
When you don’t trust your husband BUT are working to restore your marriage, there is no need to air every detail of what you’re walking through to others. Instead, talk to your counselor, a trusted friend or pastor.
Your spouse may have broken his vow through breaking your trust but it is important to accord him the honor you would like him to accord you. Just because he failed to respect you doesn’t mean you should not respect him back.
Do your part because that is the only area you have full control over.
9. Encourage him to seek accountability that is not you
You both will need boundaries and accountability within your marriage, but your spouse will also need support that isn’t you.
This could be a pastor, individual counselor, or close friend, but he needs someone else checking on him. He needs someone who isn’t the one he hurt to help keep him accountable.When your spouse has broken trust and to rebuild the marriage, he needs someone who isn’t the one he hurt to help keep him accountable.
Trying to be his accountability partner will add grief to your very full plate.
You certainly need to check-in with each other. You must have those conversations and generally do what is yours to do for the healing of the marriage.
But overall, realize that you cannot be his wife and his accountability partner. Pick your wife-lane and stick with it.
10. Prepare your heart to forgive
If you want to move forward in your marriage, you will have to forgive. There is no way around that truth. You cannot be a partner in rebuilding trust and also a victim.If you want to move forward in your marriage, you will have to forgive. There is no way around that truth. You cannot be a partner in rebuilding trust and also a victim.
And you cannot use your pain and grief as a weapon against your spouse to punish them if you intend to work to rebuild your marriage.
It’s important to remember that forgiveness does not mean what your spouse did was okay. It doesn’t mean trusting them immediately.
Your husband still has to work to earn back your trust. The reason we forgive is because 1) we too have been forgiven ourselves Colossians 3:13 2) it frees us to love and heal.
Like we said earlier, take time to grieve and work through the emotional and mental trauma that comes with broken trust in marriage. You don’t need to hurry that season.
But also remember that grief, when allowed, can lead to acceptance, lament and the ability to take ownership of our side of the broken story.
So allow grief to lead you to forgiveness, instead of keeping you chained to the past. None of the healing work you do will be fruitful if you hold onto anger, resentment, or holding it over your spouse’s head.
Forgiveness is a powerful agent of change. You cannot change your husband’s heart. Only God can do that, but He can certainly use your obedience to soften the heart of another.
11. Prepare yourself for difficult decision-making
One person can only do so much for a marriage relationship. While the Lord grieves at divorce, He also grieves at abuse, adultery and abandonment.
Much of this article assumes that your spouse is repentant and also seeking to restore your marriage, or is at least amenable to taking the steps with you.
If your spouse is unrepentant or chooses not to take steps toward restoration or openly chooses to leave, make sure to read this post Christian marriage and divorce.
There is not cut and dry time frame or formula for when a spouse has done all they can and they are free to leave. That is why listening to God’s leading, seeking wise counsel and doing your own growth are so important.
12. Remember it’s not your fault
Taking responsibility for your part in your marriage is not the same as being responsible for your husband’s actions.
One of the biggest lessons in boundary work is understanding where you end and where your husband begins. Accepting that you are not responsible for the actions of other people, and that includes your husband.
Even if there are things you’ve done or are not doing that are affecting your marriage, your husband made his own decisions. This was not your fault and you are right to expect changed behavior.
There is nothing easy when you are thinking you can never trust your husband again.
There is nothing easy about what you are walking through. I am praying with you for the restoration of your marriage, but most importantly, I’m praying for this season to draw you close to Christ.
While marriage is honorable and a wonderful human relationship, it is not to be put above the Lord in your life. Our ultimate goal and purpose should be to glorify the Lord in all we do.
Perhaps the answer to the question “what if I can never trust my husband again?” isn’t what your heart hopes for.
Sometimes people make destructive choices and refuse to change. Your husband is as responsible for his decisions as much as you are responsible for yours.
He is responsible to earn back your trust, no matter how long that takes. And you are responsible for giving him the opportunity to.
Praying with you as you walk this road, friend.
Now tell me, have you walked through this difficult road? What did you do that made the biggest difference in your marriage? What would you advice someone who is worried that they can never trust their husband again? Let’s talk in Comments.
About Writer: Ashley Nicole Harris of Faithfully Planted is a writer and Bible teacher, whose mission is to see women’s lives changed by learning to know God intimately through His Word. She enjoys writing, reading while sipping a La Croix, and enjoying God’s beautiful creation with her husband of 7 years, Mark.