“Man, why won’t my wife trust me? Why can’t she just forgive me? Why won’t she let bygones be bygones?” We’ve all been there—when we made a mistake, messed up, said something we wish we hadn’t, or did something we shouldn’t have done. And what it was will determine how difficult it will be to rebuild trust with your wife.
But your wife’s greatest love need is to feel safe and secure in her relationship with you. She needs to trust you. If she doesn’t, it’s because you haven’t overcome these 4 hurdles, which we all need to overcome if we want our wives to trust us.
Hurdle 1: “Will you confess your wrong?”
In other words, will you own it and take responsibility for what you did to break the trust? Or will you try to hide it or blame somebody or something else? Are you going to deflect responsibility or accept it? In real life, taking responsibility sounds like this:
“Honey, I’m so sorry lied to you. There’s no excuse for it, and there’s nobody to blame but myself. I responded out of fear, and now I’ve given you a reason to doubt my word. And that’s on me. Please forgive me for breaking your trust by not telling you the truth.”
If you really want to rebuild trust with your wife after you’ve blown it, start by confessing and owning your stuff—and not blaming others (including her) for it.
Hurdle 2: “Are you really sorry for what you’ve done?”
Yeah, you’ve confessed and taken responsibility after you’ve messed up, but your wife wants to know: Do you really mean it? Do you really understand what you’ve done and how much it hurt her? Or are you just sorry because you got caught? This is important for the man who thinks he can rebuild trust by just admitting his guilt once and buying his wife a gift or doing something nice for her. Yes, that may help a little, but it doesn’t heal the hurt she still feels.
Overcoming this trust hurdle sounds like this: “I’m really sorry I lied to you. I can’t begin to understand how much this hurt you, but I want to understand. So, can you help me? Tell me what you felt. I really want to know so I won’t ever forget.”
Hurdle 3: “Will you ever change?”Confession is admitting; repentance is changing.
Yes, you admitted what you did wrong and that it was your fault. You even did it with a tear in your eye, showing remorse and empathy. But your wife also wants to know: What’s next? Will you do it again? Is this just a confession or are you really going to change? Confession is admitting; repentance is changing. To rebuild trust, you have to change your heart, change your mind, and ultimately, change your behavior toward her. She won’t trust you unless you do.
What are you willing to do differently to make things right? If you don’t know, simply ask her: “What do I need to do to make things right with you? What can I do to start rebuilding your trust in me? I just want to do whatever it takes to show you I’m serious about repairing what I’ve broken between us.”
Hurdle 4: “How long will this last?”
After you’ve humbly confessed your wrong, expressed sincere sorrow and empathy for it, and even sought to change it, your wife wants to know one more thing: Will you sustain the change? In other words, how long will this change last? She wants to know if you will continue in this new direction or just repeat the same cycle after a day, a week, a month, or even a year. Is this a temporary or permanent change?
The truth is your wife needs you to speak every woman’s love language—the one Gary Chapman failed to mention in his bestselling book: consistency. Consistency holds all the other love languages together.
And when we understand that rebuilding trust is a journey, not a destination, we will learn to be more patient with our wives during the process.
Sound off: What do you think it takes to rebuild trust?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it takes to earn trust?”