- June 2, 2017
- Posted by: Dale W. Vernon
- Category: Communication, Marriage
Since the launch of How Imperfect Parents Lead Great Families, the No. 1 thing I’ve heard from fellow parents — both moms and dads – is, “my spouse isn’t joining me.”
I don’t say it, but I immediately think, “Did you read the book?!” I don’t know what’s going on in other people’s marriages, and, quite honestly, before I set off on my path towards ‘a better me for a better we,’ I didn’t know what was going on in my own marriage! But one thing I do know is that marriages must be built on a foundation of trust.
In fact, trust plays a significant role in all relationships, both personal and professional. And even in the best relationships, there’s likely been some times when that trust has been strained or broken. Whether it’s small white lies or something bigger, trust is tested on a daily basis.
Marriage Takes Time, Love, and Trust. What Are You Willing to Give?
The bigger and the more fractured the trust is around a particular issue, the longer it’s going to take to fix that issue and get your spouse’s buy-in. Therefore, your commitment to patiently forging ahead is critical to effecting change in your family. During this process, we have to appreciate that our partner may not be really sharing where, how, and/or when that trust was broken. But over time, they will either forgive and let it go, or flat out tell you. Either way, with patience and persistence, trust can be rebuilt. But you’ve got to put the work in.
This means that you may have to change your approach. I recently heard from a friend of mine who read our book, and The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Dr. Gary Chapman, which I recommended to him. He said that he tried to get his wife to read those books as well, but after of a month him not being able to convince her to do so, he was lost and completely frustrated. As we talked, we realized that during his 20-year marriage, he’s asked his wife to do many things to improve, but he’s never done anything to improve himself. My friend had instant guilt about this realization — that he had fractured that trust with his wife.
So what did he do? He used what he learned from those books to tell his wife that he wanted to spend more time “filling her love tank” (click here and you’ll see what I mean). He explained what he was, and shared with her what he felt she was (thank goodness he got that right!). From there, he said he immediately started to see a change. After a few weeks of intentionally trying to focus on her love language, she started to read those books. Their journey continues.
Again, marriage takes time, love, and trust. Easily said is not easily done. But, if it’s important enough to you, you need to be flexible, open-minded, and ready to put in the work. The road to rebuilding trust is long, but it can be navigated.