Rebuilding Trust in Marriage


Honeymoon 2009 – the younger version of us!

Let’s be honest. Marriage is hard work.

We all love the “fall in love” romance, but at some point after the honeymoon (or maybe during it), we’re faced with the reality of making this thing called marriage work beyond the wedding.

For most relationships, past messes, sin, and broken places in our hearts get triggered by our spouse causing misunderstandings. Without proper help, those can lead to situations that make the marriage seem doomed. Maybe we end up in a season of not being able to communicate without hurting each other more deeply. Or perhaps one spouse, or both, have sought other situations or relationships that have broken the trust of their spouse.

No matter what your current situation or how devastated you feel, there is hope for rebuilding.

God is always about reconciliation, redemption, and restoration of relationship. He created that for us through Jesus and will make a way for us in every relationship we have.

When my husband and I separated due to multiple circumstances that led to us inflicting constant pain on each other, God helped us find our way into coming back together in a healthier, stronger way.

Here are some steps that helped us navigate the restoration and supporting verses:

  • Decide on a brand-new start. Start at zero to rebuild trust. Recognize, confess, and address the problems that got you to this place. Nothing hidden, covered over, or minimized. It’s okay if you still need to work through some issues, but be honest about what they are—whether they are seemingly small (little “white” lies) or something significant like addictions or affairs. (Gal.1:1-10 & 6:15; Eph.5:11)
  • Begin rebuilding by renewing your friendship. What is the foundation of your relationship? Sex can’t sustain a relationship. Both of you being committed to Jesus first and then each other will lead to a solid foundation. Look at this time apart as a courtship. (2 Cor.6:14-18; Eph.5:25-27; I Thes.4:3-8)
  • Speak the truth plainly and in love. No distortion or manipulation of words—not your own, each other’s, or God’s. Recognize that the enemy is the accuser and deceiver and choose to take no part in any form of exaggeration, misrepresentation, or deception. (Gal.2:3-5; 2 Cor.4:2; John 5:39-47; Eph. 4:15; Col. 3:9)
  • Each of us are responsible for our own relationship with Christ. That relationship has to be the first priority. Neither one can judge or control the other one in this either. This isn’t a place to try and impress each other with what you aren’t really doing, or decide you know what the other one should be doing. Share only about your journey, and what will bless your spouse. (Gal.1:15-24 & 2:6-10; 2 Cor.5:9-10; 1 John 1:4 & 3:9-10; James 5:16)
  • Confession and forgiveness. We have to own our own mess and be willing to confess it as well as repent of it. Change within us and in our relationships only occurs when we can honestly see the bad and have a sincere desire to turn around and go a different way. We should be quick to apologize to our spouse when we are in the wrong and not wait for them to have to point something out. Not to say that when they or someone else we trust sees something hurting us or others and gently points it out, we shouldn’t be open to receiving their insight. If we are confronted with something, accept it and pray about it. If there is a question about whether our spouse’s perspective is accurate, ask a couple of trusted, objective parties like a pastor or friend to confirm or help us see if there is truth to their perception. When our spouse is the one admitting faults, we should extend forgiveness freely. Jesus has forgiven all of us so we must learn to forgive ourselves and others just as he has done for us. (Col.3:13-14; 2 Cor.10-11; Gal.4:15-16; I John 4:6; Jude 10))
  • Be sincere. When we do something positive with or for our spouse, it has to be from the heart and not simply a way to gain their approval, affection, or reciprocated behavior. (Gal.3:1-4; 4:18 & 5:1-3; Col. 3:17; I Tim.1:5)
  • Use kind, quiet, gentle words. Be respectful of each other, family members, and others. If either of you feel your heart rate increase in frustration, take deep breaths and ask for a few minutes (or as long as it takes) to calm down. Make sure you specify when you think you can continue so as not to leave your spouse hanging and feeling abandoned. You might say something like, “I think I need some time to calm down and sort out my thoughts and feelings. Can you give me fifteen minutes?” Or “Can we try again after dinner?” (Eph.5:19-20; Phil.2:14; I Peter 3:7)
  • Be accountable to someone you both trust outside your marriage so that you each know that another person is on the journey with you and with your spouse. (Col.1:28 & James 5:16)
  • Be partners in action by discussing finances, parenting, household, etc. (Phil.2:2-4)

It might help to repeat the declarations below regarding the process. Good boundaries help both spouses know what to expect for themselves and from the other.

“I am willing to pursue a friendship and see where it goes. I am willing to spend ______ time with you each day/week. I am willing to get outside help from our pastor or a counselor. I am willing to encourage you, pray for you, and seek God’s direction for our relationship. I will obey whatever God directs or instructs. I am willing to implement these actions and read the accompanying verses.”

You can add or take out whatever works for you and your spouse. Make it your own personal declaration based on the areas you need to outline.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve separated, you can use these tips to grow and strengthen your marriage every day. Soon, you’ll be reveling in the romance once again.

That was then, this is now. 2022

Coming Soon…

Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Collides with Reality

Thirteen years after the miracle meeting, courtship, and fairy tale wedding of the author and her husband, Laura Bennet shares the raw story of the unforeseen and sometimes devastating trials they experienced and how God used those challenges to heal and grow each of them and their marriage. Heartfelt encouragement and caution for couples ready to tie the knot or for those who have come undone and wonder if there is hope. The miracles don’t end when you say “I do,” but they may not look like what you expected.

How Do I Forgive??


DSC_0005Last week we looked at repentance and forgiveness.

I shared how God showed me every detail of things I had done that needed His forgiveness which led me to godly sorrow. And how God has already forgiven us so all we need to do is acknowledge our need.

But what about me forgiving?

I’ve found three areas in which I need to forgive: God, others and myself. Believe it or not, our forgiving isn’t about the other person. Our lack of forgiveness towards others ends up hurting us, not them. We become resentful and bitter, and it carries over into anger at everything in life. That is not the abundance that God has for us.

Often, we don’t even realize we are unforgiving.

This happened to me with the Lord. Through a series of circumstances, God arranged for me to attend an event in which a particular man who has a ministry of speaking prophetically to people was to be sharing. I didn’t want to be there, but it was a required activity because of something I was involved in so there I sat.

Arms crossed, I was convinced this man was a liar and would mislead people. You see, he had given my ex-husband and me a prophetic word exactly six years to the day prior to this event. He claimed that God would be offering us a “turnaround time” in our lives. I had copied the verse he provided and slipped it into my Bible. I read that promise every day for years. But, shortly after that night, our business failed, we lost our home and within a couple of years we were separated. Again.

I felt angry thinking about this man speaking to us.

The circumstances I lived through weren’t my idea of a turnaround! I took notes of each scripture to prove my point, but I knew our pastor would never subject us to someone who would hurt his congregation. The conflict in me grew.

At the end of the service, I couldn’t get to my car before tears began to fall.

I don’t understand, Lord. How could you speak through a man who lies?”

Driving to a nearby cliff overlooking the ocean, I sobbed my heart out without knowing why.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Pigeon Point Lighthouse

I parked and wailed some more, throwing all that had happened to me at God with whatever verbal force I had. Confusion, anger and despair swirled through my head and heart.

When my emotions abated, I heard a whisper in my mind.

Your life did turn around.

I thought about that. It was true. As a result of those awful circumstances, I had finally chosen to get out of a bad situation. I lived in a beautiful place. My children and I were happy. Our church family was safe, and we were all healing. My life had completely turned around. The situation was simply different than I had expected. I thought my business would thrive, the mortgage company would deal honestly with me and my marriage would be saved.

Suddenly I realized I had been angry with God for those six years.

Tears began again as I faced my anger at God and told Him how sorry I was. He hadn’t betrayed me. The prophetic man hadn’t lied. I had misunderstood and harbored bitterness in some closed off place in my heart. I forgave God and the man. And I asked Jesus to forgive me.

God is so good.

Peace washed over me and filled my car. God knew I needed to forgive Him. He orchestrated circumstances so I would be in that meeting. I hadn’t been happy about that initially, but now that I realized it had been for my good, to bring healing and freedom, my anger turned to gratitude.

Sometimes we need to forgive God.

While it’s natural and even okay to ask God “Where were you when____ happened to me?” or “How could you let___ happen?” or “Why have you done this or that?” we can get stuck in the questions. Sometimes God gives us answers now. Sometimes later. Often, not at all. But if we pit our understanding against his wisdom, we may land in a place of anger. And He knows that in the end, our lack of forgiveness will hurt us more than it hurts Him.

Is there something you need to forgive God for?