Kimberly: The next question we have, this woman says, “I wanted to know, how do I trust my husband again? How do I help him build trust?”
Joe: As we’ve stated many times, when we get a written question we wonder about all the details behind it that would help us know how to answer the question. But of course, when you’re writing questions and we’re giving a answer to it, it’s just almost impossible to do that. So, I have to speak I general terms here because I don’t know what it is that he’s done. I mean, did he gamble away the family retirement? Did he have an affair with somebody? Did he just tell a lot of lies? I mean, I don’t know what he did obviously.
Kimberly: Was it porn, like the issue before?
Joe: You know, was it that you got upset because he was watching pornography or something like that? Whatever the issue, if you’re going to help him rebuild your trust, and you want to know how to trust again, and I’m assuming that’s what you mean by the question, you really want him to help … You want to help him rebuild your trust in him. Then, here’s how you do that. First of all, try not to speak in terms of what he must do, but in terms of what you want. Now, you can actually set some musts, but let me get to that in just a minute.
Rather than saying, oh, let’s just say then that whatever he was doing took a lot of money, and so one way you’re going to help rebuild trust is if you handle the money, where you know where every dollar goes. Rather than saying, “I can’t trust you because of the fact that that cost a lot of money before, and you’re going to wind up spending money like that again. So, I’m going to handle money because you’re not trustworthy.”
Don’t do it that way, because if you do it that way it’s an attack and what people do when they get attacked is they become defensive. They become resentful. Instead, sound like this: “I need some security. Now, you know that what you did before was expensive, and so one way I can get security is if I handle all the money. I’m not saying you’re incompetent. I’m not saying you can’t handle money. I’m saying I need to do this for my security and I want you to agree to it.
Now you’re thinking, “But what if he doesn’t?” Then you can go a step further and say, “If we’re going to put this back together, if we’re going to make this marriage work I’ve got to have security in certain areas, and that’s one of the areas where I have to have it. So, I’m willing to listen to your proposal. I mean, we can compromise on this, but it’s got to be something where I can feel comfortable that you’re not out there doing that anymore.”
So, it can have to do with money. It can have to do with location, for example, a couple of friends I know where that she was doing a lot of things and they straightened it up and put the marriage back together. She just makes herself available to him. “Hey, you can see everybody I’ve talked to, you can look at the GPS and see where I’ve been.” So, ask for whatever it is that you need, but try not to ask for too much. Remember the lady that had set 50 different criteria?
Joe: 50. You can’t do that. That doesn’t work. Pick as few as you can. Two, three at the most, but these are the things that I’m asking of you, and I ask that we do this for blank period of time.
Kimberly: Yeah, and don’t come across. This isn’t your chance to get to control.
Joe: Oh, no.
Kimberly: And that is really a fine line because once we’re presented this option of, well now, he’s done this and so, therefore, I can get him to do whatever I want. That’s not the time for this.
Kimberly: This, like Joe was saying, this is more of what do you need? What is necessarily to rebuilt the trust in this area? It had nothing to do…If he didn’t break your trust because of finances, then you shouldn’t talk about the finances.
Kimberly: It’s not relatable. It’s not related to the issue.
Joe: No, so, for example, if it was the fact that you’re offended because you found he was looking at internet pornography, then you establish rules about that. “Hey, let’s put a keystroke logger on your computer and therefor it sends to me every keystroke that you do, every site that you visit, and I can see that. That helps create accountability for you, and it gives security to me.” Remember you speak in terms of, “I need this for me. If we’re going to have what we need, I need to be able to trust you again.”
Now again, I suggest you put a time limit on it. Now you may wind up doing it a lot longer, but don’t start off with like, “This is going to be for the rest of your life.” Because people, “Oh.” They react to that like, “I’m going to be in jail,” if you were … “It’s going to be like I’m a child.” Say for the next six months and then let’s evaluate it again then. You could even say for the next year. I think six months works even better than that, and then we’ll evaluate it at that point.
“What I’m asking you to do is to do this for me, so that I can feel safe.” There’s your keyword. “I’m asking you to do this for me, so I can feel safe in our relationship.” Don’t attack. Do it that way. Now figure it out, whatever’s in your situation. No more than three, hopefully only a couple, maybe even just one, and you can do this. Just don’t attack.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm and like the question we had earlier, if your spouse is going to be moving towards getting your trust back, then on your part don’t continue to hold it against them.
Kimberly: So, this is both of you moving forward at the same time. You don’t get to … Like the person earlier who said, “They’re holding this card over me, just with me watching … I had watched pornography.” Continue to move forward in forgiving. You don’t want to keep holding it on, onto it. Move forward.
Joe: I agree. I agree.