Trust within a marriage is the most fundamental ingredient necessary for two people to live together with assurance and commitment. Just as trust is the foundation of your relationship with God, you must also have trust for the person that you are committed to in your earthly life.
When trust has been violated in a marriage, you begin to question the basis of your partner’s commitment and their promises to you on every level. Without a dramatic change in this trend the entire relationship is in jeopardy.
There are many behaviors that can destroy trust in a marriage relationship. A breach of trust can result from being caught in a lie or a series of deceptive actions, by breaking commitments, flirting with another person, or from engaging in an adulterous relationship.
If any of these offenses have occurred in your marriage the confidence between you and your spouse will be shattered. When the Jews went after other gods, our heavenly Father described a similar sense of heartache and betrayal.
God said, “I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols” (Ezekiel 6:9). Clearly, God knows the pain you feel when violations of trust break your heart. He understands the sense of betrayal and your reservations about the future of your relationship.
If your marriage is to survive, trust must be restored, and a new relationship must be established. But you may be wondering, Is this realistically possible?
Is it possible to restore trust once it has been violated?
The answer to this question is yes! Scripture reveals many such examples of restoration of relationship and trust after serious offenses have occurred. Consider the enormity of the cold and heartless act of Peter’s denial of Jesus. Peter had been granted intimate access to Jesus as his disciple and friend. He had made public confessions of undying faithfulness to Jesus.
Yet, when given the opportunity to save himself, Peter denied Christ not once, but three times. In spite of Peter’s betrayal, Jesus personally sought to find Peter after the resurrection in order that He might reconcile with him. What a display of the mercy and grace of God toward this broken and condemned man!
After Jesus reconciled with Peter, he went on to restore him to full usefulness in the work of the ministry. Obviously, reconciliation and the restoration of trust within a relationship are quite possible.
I would encourage you to consider the many examples you will find throughout Scripture on this subject. Other examples that will be very enlightening are:
(1) God’s restoring of His adulterous people, Israel (Jer. 30:17; Joel 2:25).
(2) The restoration of the relationship between Paul and John Mark after the later had a serious failure of commitment (Acts 15:36-41; 2 Tim 4:11).
(3) The tearful reconciliation between Jacob and Esau after years of separation caused by Jacob’s deception (Gen. 27:41; Gen. 33:4).
(4) The heartfelt reconciliation between the prodigal son and his father (Luke 15:11-32).
However, do not assume that just because people in history have been able to restore their relationship that it will be easy to do. Solomon declared that “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Prov. 18:19).
Therefore, be assured that there will be hard work ahead for both parties in this relationship. The bars that separate you and your spouse must be removed if fellowship and trusting companionship are to be restored.
How can you begin to re-establish trust?
1. Honest Confession. The first step in restoring trust must be honest confession by the offending spouse concerning the failure that has occurred. Truthfulness is always the first step in all reconciliation.
Scripture clearly states that if anyone wants to abide in God’s house and have fellowship with Him, he or she must “speak truth in his heart” (Ps. 15:2). King David also found that an honest heart was the first step on the road to reconciliation with God after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.
David understood what God truly wanted: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Ps. 51:6).
If you want God’s wisdom and help in reconciling your marriage then truth is where you must begin. Remember, the only thing that the Holy Spirit can bless is truth, because He is called the “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17). Only when a person becomes completely honest about the facts of an offense will the confession be treated as sincere.
Solomon declares, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (Prov. 24:26 NIV). However, continued deceit is like slapping your spouse in the face. It hurts deeply.
If you tell half-truths or doctor information to make yourself appear innocent, and your spouse finds out later that you’ve lied, it will be as if you had done the same sin all over again. Therefore, you must be truthful to God and your mate.
This does not mean that you have to reveal all the details of your sin, especially if you have committed adultery. Remember, the specific details of the sinful action should not be mentioned. When Paul refers to such sinful acts he explicitly declares, “It is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret” (Eph. 5:12). Remember, all we know about King David’s adultery is that it occurred.
COVENANT KEEPERS © 2013
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please visit us on the Internet at www.covenantkeepers.org