How to Restore Trust in a Relationship

January 31, 2013

in Relationships

relationship problemsSean broke our wedding vows recently. The fact we aren’t married yet is just a technical detail. What is important is the commitment he made, to uphold five promises, now and when he is my husband.

I have happily embraced my current marital status, writing articles espousing the benefits of singledom. When we first started dating, I even explained to Sean I would likely never remarry. But I also told him on the off chance I would  remarry, there were five requirements a potential spouse needed to meet. So my expectations, at all times in our relationship, have been patently clear.

While each vow is a significant promise, Sean reneged on the one I find to be most important: Christmas lights. To quote what I specifically expected in a spouse:

“The single most hideous experience each year is taking down Christmas lights. The ones on the dead Christmas tree means being poked by prickly needles while trying to remove the strands. Freezing in January as I stand on a ladder removing outdoor lights is the only thing worse than wrestling with a dead pine tree.”

What happened, you might ask? How could we go from the giddy newly-engaged couple in love to him breaking what I find to be the most significant vow a mere eight weeks after promising to marry him? I am still reeling, trying to figure this out.

When the tree became a fire hazard and I had to remove it for the safety of my children, Sean was busy doing something else. He claims he was visiting his children in another state. But of course, there is no proof.

After recovering from the countless puncture wounds on my body from wrestling the big, dead tree, I worked on removing the giant Christmas balls and swaths of garland throughout the yard and porch. Where was Sean? This time he says he was on a business trip to Richmond. Was there proof of this trip? Of course not.

I provided a very clear understanding of my must-have marriage promises to agree to marry him. I became, as a result of that pre-wedding marriage pact, betrothed. The faith I have in him, us, and that forever is possible is still intact. I am clinging tightly to these beliefs while coming to terms with my disappointment, and working towards restoring my trust in him again. Ever the researcher, I have spent time looking online for tips to restore faith in a relationship once it has been broken. While I work on allowing forgiveness in my heart, here are things Sean and I can do to restore trust again:

5 Ways to Restore Trust in a Relationship

  • Commit to working together to discover the root cause of the problem.
  • Come up with a plan that is designed to prevent it from happening again.
  • Be understanding that the spouse injured by the break in trust should have the time necessary to heal without pressure to move on before he/she is ready.
  • Letting go of unhealthy anger, and finding a way towards forgiveness.
  • Working together actively to rebuild the the relationship.

While my physical wounds (giant pine tree puncture marks) have healed, I continue to work with Sean to address the emotional ones. It will be a slow process, one day at a time, but our date night planned for tonight is a good start towards healing and trust being restored.

Have you had your spouse break wedding vows?

How did you recover from it?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Vinny C January 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I didn’t realize how much he was in for until I got to the part where you compiled a list of things needed to be done to repair the emotional damage. As a married man, myself, I recommend he get some flowers (STAT!) and maybe pull double duty on other requirements, like Home Repaire & Lawn Care, for while to make up for the damage.
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Oh, Vinny, you are a great influence on Sean! Hopefully he will heed your advice.


Louise Ducote January 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Y’all are so funny! I avoid this problem by not having a tree in the first place. Hope Sean finds his way out of the dog house soon!
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Thanks, Louise. He might get one paw out tonight. We will see.


Charlotte January 31, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Dear God! You scared me with this post :)

Glad you are both well on your way to amending this. While he may not have proof he was out of state on both occasions, I can’t say I necessarily blame him. I would “be out of state” for this, too.

Hope he makes it up to you soon :) XOXO
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Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I hope he does as well. A Tiffany catalog happened to arrive today and our mutual friend Nicole believes Sean shopping in that catalog is the answer. :)


SeanD January 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I’ve instructed my dear fiancé to simply send in the Tiffany catalog with a sharpie’d YES on the order form. I hope you can all see it in your hearts to write me in jail for tax evasion.


Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I love my readers’ comments on Facebook. The mention you can make this up to me with cupcakes and Tiffany jewelry is brilliant.


Maryjo January 31, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Oh, sweetie! This is only the beginning….;)


Naked Girl in a Dress February 1, 2013 at 11:41 am

You make me laugh Maryjo!


lisa thomson January 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I like the ‘business trip’ alibi! Your 5 ways to recover are good ones and i’m sure he’ll pull through. :)
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

I hope so, Lisa. Readers told Sean cupcakes and jewelry was a good start at fixing the problem.


Joe January 31, 2013 at 9:03 pm

How… HOW did I not know from the picture exactly what his faux pas was??

Anyway, good luck with the relationship rehabilitation. It’s sure to be a long road. :)
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thanks Joe!


Alexa January 31, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Or you could just burn something he loves. That usually makes you feel alot better! LOL.
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

What a great idea, Alexa! For him it would be to break his XBox. 41, but still a boy at heart. :)


Punky Coletta February 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Ouch, getting stabbed with those dried needles sounds painful! Glad you guys are working things out. When I first started reading this, I thought you were going to say that he slept with someone else! Yikes! Glad it went to a different place!
Good luck to y’all.
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

I think a few were concerned for me as they started reading this one. I had fun with it. Thanks for visiting!


Kimberly February 2, 2013 at 7:39 am

I think you ought to start a company that takes care of dead Christmas trees. Hire the peeps to do the work and turn this into a money maker. Sure you’ll be busy only for 3 weeks out of the year, but imagine the possibilities for future growth: in the spring, you could send someone to a client’s house to remove all dog doo from the yard right before the Easter Bunny arrives…at the 4th of July, clients could hire your staff to clear the driveway of all the firework trash (safely and quietly in the night)…in the fall, they could be in charge of disposing of the rotten jack o’lanterns on the porch.

You’re an entrepreneur at heart…what do you think?
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Naked Girl in a Dress February 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

You are hilarious! This sounds like a great idea.


Caitlin February 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

hahah hilarious! thank god i only got a mini-tree this year!


Classic NYer February 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Convert to Judaism and light candles instead of erecting trees. Problem solved. ;-)
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