Trust is the key component to a successful marriage and especially in a remarriage. You have to be able to trust each other in order to present a united front to your children. If you don’t trust your spouse, you won’t feel comfortable allowing him or her to be your co-parent with your children. You won’t feel comfortable allowing him or her to solely handle decision making with their ex-spouse and overall, you won’t be an effective team and life partners. That being said, remarried partners who bring children into the marriage, are also presented with more opportunities to break trust just due to the complex family dynamic. If you and your spouse are trying to rebuild or maintain trust in your marriage, consider the following helpful tips.
Do What You Say You’re Going to Do – When trust has been broken by one or both parties in the marriage, remember it’s the little things you do that will help to rebuild it. Think about it this way – when you are trying to build and maintain trust with your child of divorce, it’s important to be on time for visitation, keep communication open and honest, and overall, do what you say you’re going to do, right? Well, it’s no different when you’re trying to rebuild trust in your marriage. Do what you say you’re going to do; even regarding the simplest things such as bringing sugar home on your way from work. If you’re consistent over time, even when it comes to the little things, you will start to rebuild trust in your relationship.
Safe Communication – it’s important to feel safe enough to communicate in your relationship to rebuild trust. Pick a spot in your home and label it the no judgment zone. In this zone, you are both free to communicate how you feel without judgment. BUT, use “I” instead of “you” statements. “You did this, or always do that” are statements that put people on the defensive. Instead say “I feel this way when you do this.”
Don’t Continuously Bring Up the Past – Even when you are both working hard to rebuild trust, be advised that there are still times when you are going to disagree/fight/argue. When this happens, remember to fight fair. Don’t bring up old issues , if you have already resolved them.
Sticks and Stones Can Break Your Bones and Words CAN Hurt – Words that are spoken in the heat of the moment when you are both very angry can knock you three steps back when you are trying to build trust. So if you and your spouse are arguing and are boiling mad, take a breather. Step away from the discussion, collect yourself and remind yourself that you are having an argument WITH YOUR SPOUSE; not a co-worker or a stranger off the street – YOUR SPOUSE. Don’t say things that you might regret or that won’t be easily forgiven or forgotten.
No Instant Fix – You have to gradually rebuild trust over a period of time. Be patient with each other as you both work to regain that trust you lost and find happiness again.