This week on #MarriageMonday, we’re following-up on our post last month all about the power of our words. But this time, we’re talking about the one scenario where words really aren’t the most important thing!
Jill: Ask any marriage expert about the most important element of a healthy relationship and they’ll tell you communication ranks right up there at the top. Words matter. The way we say our words matters.
Mark: However, there’s one circumstance in marriage when words don’t matter…and that’s when you’re rebuilding trust.
Jill: Yep! When we’re rebuilding trust, the words we say don’t matter—it’s the actions we do that support the words that make all the difference in the world.
Mark: The formula for rebuilding trust is Consistent Changed Behavior Over Time = Trust. Notice it doesn’t say Consistent Words Over Time = Trust. Nope. It’s the actions that make all the difference in the world.
Jill: When we were rebuilding trust from Mark’s infidelity, he wasn’t the only one who needed to rebuild trust, however. I also had contributed to the dysfunction in our marriage so I also had some trust rebuilding to do.
Mark: I had been deceptive and unfaithful. I had to rebuild Jill’s trust that I was now honest and faithful. There’s no way to shortcut that process. I had to do that one honest conversation at a time. One act of protecting my marriage at a time. One non-defensive response at a time. One question answered in a kind, humble, loving way at a time.
Jill: I had been critical of Mark and minimized his concerns in our marriage. I had to rebuild Mark’s trust by holding my tongue. I had to be affirming of him daily. Each time I listened well—listened to understand and not to argue or defend or debate—I rebuilt just a little bit of trust. Each time I was patient and kind, I became a safer person to be in a relationship. Trust was rebuilt one baby step at a time.
Mark: You can recommit using words but it’s only your actions that back up those words that will actually do the work of rebuilding trust. In fact, we found that the trust-breaker has to be the trust-maker. The more you actively do trust-building activities, the more you are creating trust.
Jill: If trust has been broken in your marriage, it can be rebuilt!
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