Trust is one of the foundational blocks of any given relationship, however this element is often more emphasized in marriage due to the close bond people tend to develop in an intimate partnership. When two people take vows with one another, they usually take this step with the expectation of sharing information with each other and a feeling there will be overall honest behavior. When those expectations aren't met, the marriage is negatively affected and can lead to serious issues.
If secretive behavior such as lies, cheating or other evasive actions enters the marriage, the relationship is often forever changed and seeds of doubt are planted. Even hiding money issues can create problems with trust.
A lack of trust in marriage, regardless of the root cause, can result in disaster because after the faith in one another is compromised, this creates a crack in the marriage's foundation which can cripple and subsequently spread. This can lead to other problems, and, unfortunately, even result in leaving permanent damage to the relationship.
When shadows of doubt creep in, a marriage can suffer.
Some ways a lack of trust can affect a marriage includes:
Creates Ongoing Mistrust
After one, or both, partners either lie, cheat or behave in a fashion that is not aligned with trust, this can quickly plant additional seeds of doubt in the relationship. Consider behaviors such as financial secrecy, infidelity, or untruthfulness about other aspects of life, this is going to result in one or both spouses become constantly suspicious of one another; if this suspicion dominates the marriage, it becomes detrimental to the relationship's foundation.
For instance, ABC News reported a story on a couple in 2008. The husband man neglected to tell his wife about financial changes he was making that affected the family. This almost led to divorce in their 32-year-long marriage. 1 While this couple eventually worked out their problems, "financial infidelity" can lead to divorce.
While some level of trust can be recouped and problems are healed, it is possible the marriage will never be the same again. Another example is cheating. If a husband and wife work through one partner's physical or emotional infidelity, can trust truly ever be restored? A marriage may or may not heal, but it's highly possible lingering doubts or suspicions will arise, even if just from time-to-time.
A strong and solid bond needs trust to blossom, and when this factor is broken, it is not typically easy to repair. Over time these feelings of mistrust towards a partner can eventually filter into other areas of marriage and leave other collateral damage to the relationship. It is difficult to maintain a strong and healthy marriage if the relationship is riddled with mistrust.
When a lack of trust exists, the injured partner is likely to experience feelings of hurt, betrayal and anger. Over time these emotions can take over and overshadow other feelings such as love, compassion and concern. A marriage that lacks in these fundamentals will have a difficult time surviving if spouses are constantly feeling negative towards one another.
Loss of Communication
Ultimately without trust, it is more difficult to preserve the level of closeness most individuals desire in a marriage. As a result, another important foundational block in a relationship, communication, can falter as well, leading to further breakdown in the partnership. Couples who no longer trust one another are likely to spend less time communicating openly. This is another form of collateral damage that accompanies mistrust. Partners are less willing to talk things out and/or share feelings with a person they do not trust.
"Blowing smoke" at a spouse in order to deceive him or her can create significant damage in the relationship. Honesty is truly the best policy in marriage.
If a person is hurt enough emotionally, they may begin to feel the need to withhold information, and what should be a two-way street becomes a dead-end barrier in terms of communication. Honesty and open dialogue is an important ingredient in marriage, and without it, the relationship will suffer. In this circumstance the relationship will have difficulty thriving, and as a result, a loss of intimacy often occurs.
Lack of Intimacy
Without the presence of trust, loving feelings and the ever-important ability to communicate honestly and effectively, a lack of intimacy is the result. This loss of both emotional and physical intimacy -- further deteriorating a marriage's foundation.
Suspicious behavior can easily ruin a marriage, especially if these actions are persistent. In many instances the extent of a lie will make a difference (i.e. a white lie vs. a huge lie), however for many individuals, deceitful behavior may be a marriage deal-breaker. If trust levels crumble to the point of a shattered relationship with no presence of trust, at this point the marriage can begin to weaken to the point of one or both mates wanting a divorce. When people get married, generally it is to demonstrate a solid commitment to the one they've pledged themselves to in an official ceremony. It is hard to believe such a commitment could crumble, but unfortunately this often happens. Divorce statistics are hard to pin down, due to several variables, however, it is often cited roughly 50 percent of marriages do not last.
Betrayal of any form is one of the largest impediments to fight to overcome in a marriage. Many partnerships experience ups and downs over the course of time, but distrust is often a difficult problem to work through unless the deceitful spouse can and is willing to work hard to turn things around and change his or her behaviors.
Surviving trust issues in marriage can happen, but it is not always easy. Often a regimen of long-term trust building must consistently occur in order for the injured partner to begin to trust the (formerly) deceitful partner again. Transparency, remorse, and constant open and honest dialogue are some of the ways a trust situation can be mended.
[ Related reading: Building Trust in a Love Relationship]