How does one build trust? Better yet, How does one re-build trust?
What is trust? It seems that in the world we live in, trust is little more than a clever quote or cute icon to be posted on websites. Much like everything else, the word and it’s meaning seem to have been simplified as if we’re trying to take away the weight of the meaning.
The Bible tells us not to trust in other people, but doesn’t trust have to play a role in a marriage?
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” – Psalms 118:8
Trust is a very easy thing to lose. I know from experience that once it’s gone, it is very difficult to get back. I tend to consider myself a trusting person by default. I generally will automatically trust anybody as soon as I meet them, unless they give me a reason not to. Now I have to wonder though, am I really “trusting” them? It seems to me that there is always a concern that I shouldn’t be trusting them. I often find myself questioning their motives or sincerity. Is that really trust?
About one year into our marriage, my husband broke my trust in him. He was (poorly) hiding an addiction to pornography. It started out as something that I was fully aware of, and it didn’t bother me. Actually, in the beginning, I was perfectly fine with it. He was open about it, and there was no need to hide it.
When we decided to switch roles in our relationship and see what things would be like if he stayed home and I was the one working, it began to bother me. I was ok with it when I was around and knew what he was looking at and when, but now that he was doing it while I was gone, I was developing a problem with it. I didn’t dive directly into attack mode. I began by talking to him about my feelings, to which he responded well. We agreed that he would no longer look at pornography while I was at work and things were fine.
It wasn’t long before I started to notice that he was acting different. Anytime that I would try to talk to him about it, he said that everything was fine and nothing was wrong, but I remained suspicious due to his attitude. I began checking the history on the computer everyday when I got home from work, and was finding the proof of all of the sites that he had been on while I was gone. I kept trying to talk to him about it, but he always denied it. He insisted that he wasn’t looking at anything and that those sites were all from pop-ups while he was on other sites. I tried to believe him for a while, but it didn’t take long to become clear that I was being lied to. He soon started getting angry with me for finding out what he was up to. He flat-out denied that he was doing anything wrong, and began trying to turn the tables on me for not believing him.
Eventually-I don’t even remember how-he came clean about everything, but the damage was done. The porn went away, but the pain didn’t. This one seemingly small thing completely destroyed all of the trust that I had in him. I felt crushed and as if he weren’t the same person that I had married. It took us a long time to get to a place that felt safe again-to get to a place where I didn’t feel the need to ask him everyday if he had looked, or to check the computer as soon as I got home from work, or to try to sneak up on him while he was online, or even where I just didn’t have to doubt his honesty anymore.
It’s been two years since all of that actually happened, but everything still feels so fresh to both of us. He still tells people often about the mistakes that he’s made and what it cost him. He is a new man since then but still finds himself questioning whether or not he has truly gained my trust back, and he asks me about it now and then.
He asked me tonight. To be honest, I’m still not sure what the answer is. I think that I trust him… I trust him not to go back to the pornography again. Some things are still hard though and sometimes it gets sort of scary in a way. I just have to stay strong and keep my faith in God, and not give up on Him or on my husband. I know that since his addiction, we’ve both began a new walk with God and that we see life and love with new eyes. I know that just as I am trusting in God to keep me strong, my husband is also trusting in Him to show him what is right and learning to walk with Him.
I must remember that as God has forgiven, so must I.
While the information came too late to help us, we were later introduced to some Accountability Software that would have come in handy, along with a study that we have both learned from and that helped encourage us both and remember what we’ve been fighting against ever since.