Right now, you may be grasping for something solid to put your feet on in terms of trusting your spouse.
We usually think of betrayal as a big terrible event, like discovering that your partner is having a sexual affair. But it can be more subtle. It can happen in just one interaction. When a violation of trust, large or small, occurs it’s important to examine the conditions that contributed to the situation and to engage in a healing process that will restore trust and goodwill to the relationship.
Rebuilding trust needs to begin somewhere, so let’s start with you. One practice that is detrimental to any relationship is having a judgmental attitude. Now of course, if your spouse has broken your trust, it’s only natural to want to judge their actions. Successful couples who survive all degrees of conflict and marital distress put into practice the capacity for non-judgment during their communications.
To regain trust, the first thing to do is to let go of any judgment that this person did something “bad” or “wrong”. This kind of judgment only keeps you separate and distrustful. This might be hard for you to even consider doing at first. Hard because most people believe that giving up their judgment of someone is the same thing as condoning what they’ve done. Rest assured, it is not.
“Always” and “never,” polar opposite words, tend to characterize the vocabulary of black and white judgmental thinking. Black and white thinking means seeing the world only in terms of extremes. If things aren’t “perfect,” then they must be “horrible.” In real-life, situations are almost always shades of gray, not black or white. Falling victim to black and white thinking tends to exacerbate depression, marital conflict, anxiety, and a host of other everyday problems.
Next while your partner is working to prove their trustworthiness, you can work on discovering those gray areas where trust still remains. I’ll throw out just one form of trust to you: physical safety. Unless you are in a situation of physical abuse – which you should never stay in – you can trust the fact that you are physically safe with your spouse.
Never thought of trust like that, did you? But this proves there are shades of gray in what is assumed to be the black or white nature of trust. And that’s just the beginning of finding the shades of gray that make up trust in your marriage.
When you learn to recognize the spectrum of gray in the difficult experiences you encounter in your life, you will be better equipped to come out on top. You CAN start to recognize when you are giving-in to black and white thinking, and then make the choice to banish those extreme thoughts in favor of more productive ones.