Re-building trust


This is a long story, but I’ll try to be brief, and I’d like advice (and prayer) from whoever is out there. Since being married 22 years ago, I have never cheated on my husband, nor have I ever wanted to. Still, because I’m a fairly bad communicator, some things in our marriage have looked “secret.” My husband really loves me, but he has a hard time trusting me. Moreover, I sometimes speak to him in unkind ways - making him feel like I don’t care for him. I’m SO frustrated with myself. I want so badly for him to feel loved by me as I feel loved by him. I know there has to be more to it than just “not doing” the things I’ve done in the past. There has to be a way to PROACTIVELY help him rebuild his trust and get back his confidence. Most advice I’ve seen is for stay-at-home wives. My husband is disabled, and I’ve alway been the primary income, so our situation is reversed. When I try to say or do kind things, they sound/look hollow or artificial (to both of us.) I’m so lost and confused. I’ve been reading the Bible, which has been hugely helpful, but I need some practical advice. Thanks in advance.


Hi Ruby! Welcome to the forum, I see you are new here.

First…hugs to you and your husband. I’m sorry that he is disabled–that is probably difficult for him to have you as the primary bread winner. So, let’s start there. I used to be a SAHM, but for the past several years, I’ve worked in the business world–and my husband has had some ups and downs with his career. He used to feel down about himself–I think that men in particular feel a sense of identity connected with their career. That being said, he might be feeling like he is not contributing enough–and this makes him feel insecure, or down. Combine that with you mention you are sometimes speaking unkindly to him–and it all just confirms what he’s already feeling. I think it is really refreshing to see that you want to change, and you’re seeking advice.

You are on the right track with reading the Bible, and also pray (if you can) every day, the Rosary. And during it, give up the Rosary for your husband, and for your marriage. For God to strengthen your marriage–to help you to love your husband the way Christ loved the Church. (this is a common prayer I do) Over time, you will completely stop saying negative things to your husband, and he might gain trust back in believing that you care for him. You do care for him, so now you just have to show that caring through words…through a touch…through a smile. I would also try writing down your thoughts and feelings–maybe start off with a heartfelt love letter to your husband. Apologizing for some behaviors that you might regret, and telling him that you love him. Men like love letters too.:o I have done that in my marriage–when it was hard to communicate verbally, or express what I fully wanted to say.

Maybe try that soon…and see where it leads. And every week, leave him little love notes…on the mirror…in unexpected places of the house that you know he’ll see. Then, you might soon be able to verbalize those things–and it won’t sound artificial.

You’re in my prayers. :hug3:


Thanks, whatevergirl. I was hoping to ge more suggestions, but I appreciate yours. I will try what you suggest. There is so much hurt between my husband and I. I have said some ugly things in the past when I felt defensive and cornered. I’ve always been a very independent person, and that just won’t fly in this relationship, and it’s been hard for me to get free from it. When I try to tell my husband that I’m struggling with it, all he hears is “I want my independence”, which means to him that I want to go out and find another man. The LAST THING I want in this world is another man. If I had more independence, I sure wouldn’t use it for that. He keeps telling me that - based on some things I’ve hidden in the past and haven’t told him about - he’s sure I’ve cheated on him. I haven’t, but I can’t make him believe it. I guess only God can do that. I’ve prayed and prayed that God will convince his mind. Nothing seems to work. Thanks for your suggestions. There are so few good role models out there. All the interaction I see around me is women criticizing or acting snippy to their husbands. Sarcasm is everywhere, and I tend to pick up phrases and mannerisms from others VERY quickly. I need somem positive examples.


I once read that if you tell someone “I love you” everyday…you start feeling and thinking loving thoughts toward that person.


Yes–I know what you mean. I grew up in a household where my sister (who is now divorced) was very negative towards her husband, and eventually, he started taking on the traits she projected onto him. :blush: I never really had a strong role model when it comes to marriage. My dad and mom would be married to this day, I’m convinced, had they not died in their 50’s, when I was a kid. But, I didn’t have anyone to look up to in my formative years–teen/young adult years.

I think that the lack of trust on your husband’s part is also not helpful to the marriage, as you already know. Is there any way to look into counseling? Sometimes, a completely objective party can help matters significantly…because that person is not taking sides. I think you should also write your husband a letter–and sit there while he reads it. Have him do the same. It may sound simple–but it’s not as simple as it appears. I would seek a good counselor though–because that I can see helping for the long term. Blessings and hugs to you. Hang in there…things will get better if you are both rowing the boat in the same direction.:o


Well, this one might be hard for you to do. Because it might entail you swallowing your pride and giving up some control of the situation and putting herself at his mercy. But I suggest you sit down with him tonight after dinner and apologize to him for all the things you have said that have hurt him. And tell him exactly what you told us… that you love him and only him and never have wanted anyone else. And it grieves you that he is suspicious of you and lacks trust. And you aren’t good at communicating. And you want him to trust you.

Then give him a pad of paper and have him write down what HE needs you to do to regain his trust. Things HE doesnt’ ever want to hear you say again. HIS suggestions on ways you can communicate better with him. Don’t ask us. Ask HIM. What makes me trust someone might not be what will make him trust you. But your asking him and then posting those sheets on the fridge door and looking at them every day and making them a part of your life might help. Good luck.

God can’t convince him of anything if your own words and actions get in the way.


If you’re having communication issues, you need to go to Retrouvaille. It is a program for troubled marriages, and it teaches new methods of communication. It really works, it literally saved our family. I’ll be praying for you!


I just wanted to let you all know that I have apologized many times. He always says that “Sorry doesn’t help.” When I promise to change, he always says “It’s too late.” I’ve also tried saying “I love you,” but he responds that I don’t know what love is.

Neither of us like the idea of counseling, although we’ve talked about it some. He’s afraid the counselor will say that “she (me) is obviously trying to send you a signal that she doesn’t want to stay with you.” I don’t think so, but I’m always skeptical of counselors.

I am in the midst of writing a letter, as suggested by whatevergirl. I will try the Retrouvaille site.

Thanks to all.


O mine, this is so familiar for me. Independent woman who doesn’t say everything. Your case is further compounded with the fact that you are the primary source of income. Right now he 0feels inadequate. Men get fufilment in knowing that you need them, in feeling relevant. Left to them, they wish you can’t breath without them. Since you seem to be self sufficient, your husband is not secured. What you need to do now is to make him feel relevant to your existence. I will continue later, something needs my attention now


After some moments of relative improvement, I find myself (and my husband) back at sqare one. I tried the love letter approach and poured out my heart and wishes to him in a card, but it made him afraid that it was artificial and it revived the past, he says.

On this: "Then give him a pad of paper and have him write down what HE needs you to do to regain his trust. Things HE doesnt’ ever want to hear you say again. HIS suggestions on ways you can communicate better with him. Don’t ask us. Ask HIM. What makes me trust someone might not be what will make him trust you. But your asking him and then posting those sheets on the fridge door and looking at them every day and making them a part of your life might help. "…
He won’t write anything down. I can ask him the questions, but I’ve tried before and he’s said “I shouldn’t have to tell you this. You should know it yourself.” or he’ll say that he’s been telling me this for 22 years, and I haven’t listened until now, and that it’s too late.

I am convinced it is NEVER too late for hope. Yes, it is too late to go back and undo the pain and doubt I’ve caused in the past.



Take the above advice.

Another source is


In addition to the Bible, pick up The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

If he really has felt that you have been mean or neglectful of him for 22 years, he may be past the point where he can forgive. Though it seems from your posts that he’s not willing to really try anymore. But that’s what happens when something gets irritated over and over again… it builds up a callus to protect from irritation. It can take a LONG time to soften it up and get back down to the sensitive part, the part that can feel, once that happens.

But, it’s kinda hard to ignore a wife who is acting like she REALLY wants you all the time, every day. You have to do that, and make it genuine. Remind yourself of all the things you love about him, all the things you are grateful for, each time you want to lash out. You have to choose to change your behavior. You say you keep ending up “back at square one.” That’s because you choose to go there. There is a moment before you speak, where you know you are choosing to say or do the mean thing instead of the loving thing. You have to learn to catch yourself in that moment, before it comes out of your mouth, and choose differently. Trust me… I have learned alot about how to use that moment. I got into some really inexcusable behaviors with my children when they would start driving me nuts. But I knew I was choosing to scream or say mean, angry things. I had to learn to choose the other path.


I have had difficulties in my marriage that have the similar repetitive failure type of aspect to them. My wife and I have been to 3 counselors together (Catholic) and my wife has gone to two on her own – I simply refused to go to those because they were baited hand picked for proving a “premeditated” conclusion. The best counselor was recommended universally by priests at different parishes – who unfortunately because of her own habits and partial knowledge, my wife refuses to see anymore.

I don’t know what your relationship/fight is – but I do know that my wife was unable to follow any of the counselor’s advice, and eventually the limit was reached where my health suffered from the continuous antagonism – and all the sudden “magic” healing happened in my wife. Which is why I too feel unreal about trusting her – but unlike you – I have hard evidence of what my wife was doing, (and still does) not “cheating” but emotional manipulation by using third parties to “fix” our marriage. Please don’t be upset that I don’t 100% believe any woman anymore, but after watching really good emotional manipulation cycles over and over – I am unable. I hope for you, and for your husband, because I have no way of telling where the problem really lies.

The problem is in my relation with my wife – not the counselors – and I suspect it resides in you two also. My wife is the primary breadwinner, now, not because I can’t make an income – there was an Engineering opening in St. Louis I would have dearly loved to take – but because my wife threw a tantrum in public + humiliation for three years solid, finally led to depression so deep I gave up.

From the disabled perspective, your husband may already have reason for depression independent of you. There may be things to say, but I would probably come of as “lecturing” and the only way to really know how to approach the problem is to know specifics of how you two interact – and this can’t happen if you are the only one talking about it, and not him. There is a blind spot somewhere, and with as many planks as there are in people eyes – I would be afraid to remove the sliver.

If you are able to objectively relate a scenario without defending yourself, or incriminating your husband – the odds of understanding the problem are better. Otherwise, all I can offer you – is the same I offer my wife – just sympathy for the ills. But I didn’t break my wife – and I can’t fix her, so I have to stop being destroyed by the friction and move on somehow.


I identify with your situation greatly. We are currently involved in a marriage program that doesn’t really seem to be doing much.

What I have found helpful is realizing what I can control and what I can’t. I can’t control whether or not he trusts me. I can make sure I always behave in a trustworthy manner.

I can’t control what he says to me but I can control how I choose to react.

I can also control what I say to him. One particular exercise I have found helpful is saying the Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.) whenever I say or do something on impulse that was wrong. I say it to myself and not out loud. It has helped immensely.

Get the book called Divine Intimacy and read it every day. It has an introduction to Lectio Divina at the beginning. I read the entries and then journal in prayer form to apply it to my life.

Finally I remember that Jesus too was rejected and unjustly accused. If it wasn’t below him to suffer this was it certainly isn’t below me. I have many other blessings in my life for which I am thankful. I offer my suffering for my family and for women and children who are in desperate situations.

God bless you. Remember He is always with you and is your true Spouse. You made a vow before him when you were married and he will honor you for keeping it.


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