Are you always on guard because you don’t trust your spouse? Have you been repeatedly deceived? What can you do rather than just being patient and forgiving?
As trust decreases, we enjoy each other less, then our loving feelings for each other decrease. The result? Loveless, sexless, business style marriages.
This article will help you to end this cycle so that you can have a closer marriage and trust your spouse more.
To improve your relationship, you must be willing to change what you do–even if your spouse is to blame
Trust is essential to having a close relationship. We need to trust our spouses and our spouses need to trust us. When we don’t trust our spouses, we will tend to behave in needy ways that damage our relationship. Complaints and arguments, for example, never make a relationship better. It just creates a vicious cycle. You complain and your spouse gets worse. So, you complain more and your spouse gets even worse, and so on.
Either one of you has the power to stop this cycle. Blaming is easy, but not effective. Start with yourself first. By focusing on what you can do, you can be empowered and more effective.
Does your mindset cause you to not trust your spouse?
With a deceptive spouse, it could be easy to develop one. Or, it could be partly because you have a history of being deceived by others. What I mean by guarding mindset is often thinking about how your spouse may deceive you. This can lead to often looking for signs of deception. It can also lead to your asking your spouse questions designed to detect deception.
It doesn’t really matter if the deception is about words, money, another man or woman, or anything else. If you do these things, your spouse will sense your distrust. To have someone habitually doubt our love and faithfulness is enough to make us begin to lose attraction.
Guarding mindsets are characteristic of insecure people. Insecure people believe that they will not be able to handle problems when they happen (“I would be devastated”), so a lot of their thinking goes into watching for any signs of danger. As a result, they have a hard time relaxing and just enjoying their relationships.
Guarding mindsets do not protect relationships. People with a guarding mindset are much more likely to experience conflict and divorce. Rather than protecting their relationships, their anxiety causes them to interrogate, argue, and control.
Developing a secure mindset
Secure people believe in their ability to deal with problems. So, rather than live in a constant state of anxiety, they take life as it comes. They believe that if their spouse does betray them, that they will be able to deal with it at that time.
As a result, they won’t behave as though they are suspicious. They also won’t interrogate their spouse. Their controlling behavior drops to zero when their partner wants to do things without them. And, they have activities and friends of their own and will have their turn at going out.
A secure mindset also means taking your spouse’s expressions of love toward you at face value. These behaviors strengthen your marriage, making it better for both of you. No behaviors will guarantee that you spouse will not cheat. However, a secure mindset and loving behaviors make it much less likely.
A secure mindset example
Let’s suppose that a relationship is like a house. Insecure people may always worry that their house will burn down. Such people may repeatedly check to make sure that no appliances are left on. They may avoid going away from their houses for extended periods. And, they will worry about their houses when they are away. Their constant anxiety will take away from their being able to enjoy their home.
Secure people, on the other hand, will buy fire insurance and take reasonable precautions (smoke detectors, deadbolts, etc.). Then, they will not worry about it. They know that if something did happen to their house, that that they would be able to recover from it. Without fearfulness, they enjoy their house more. They can also enjoy getting away for holiday.
“What if my spouse has cheated on/deceived me before?”
If your spouse has deceived you before, being on guard is not going to prevent it happening again. Being on guard will make it more likely to happen again. Continuing to talk about it would also increase the chances of it happening again. That is because these behaviors increase emotional distance, making your spouse care less.
If you want to decrease the chance of a repeat deception/affair, the best thing that you can do is to strengthen your relationship. You can also make an action plan in case you are deceived again. These two things would make you more secure and make your spouse care more about your relationship.
If you use good boundaries with your spouse, your spouse will also realize deception will have more consequences than you just getting angry. Your being secure and loving, coupled with your spouse’s sense of your good boundaries are what will really help to prevent repeat affairs and other kinds of deception.
“How do I become more secure?”
Security does not come from being on guard. Nor does it come from self-reassurance that nothing will go wrong. Even very secure people know that bad things will happen from time to time. Being secure has to do with improving skills, having a good support system, and improving our relationship with God.
No matter what happens to us, “…we know that in all things God works works for the good of those who love him….” (Romans 8:28, NIV)
The skills that lead to relational security
Being secure is more attractive, reduces conflicts, and promotes relationships. But, what are the skills that you can learn to become this way?
- Connection skills–what makes other people enjoy talking to you and being with you (featured in the Re-Connections Coaching Package)
- Boundaries–what makes others respect you and stop any damage they are doing (featured in the Difficult Spouses Coaching Package)
- Attractiveness–what makes you more desirable than other people, even if they have good connection skills and boundaries (featured in the Ending a Spouse’s Affair Coaching Package)
If you are good at all three of these skills, your spouse is far less likely to cheat on you, or do other damaging things. Then, not only can you trust your spouse more, you will become the kind of spouse that your spouse would regret losing. You would also bring out the best in your spouse. This is because you could do very well without your spouse, but you also make your spouse feel lucky to have you.