If you’re facing the difficult challenge of rebuilding trust in your relationship after a betrayal, “Worthy of Her Trust” by Stephen Arterburn and Jason B. Martinkus offers the guidance and practical steps you need. This book provides the insights and tools to help you restore trust, foster emotional intimacy, and create a more loving, transparent, and accountable partnership. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to rebuild the trust you thought was lost forever.
Worth of Her Trust (2014) is a guide for men looking to restore trust in a marriage damaged by infidelity. With exercises and tools based on counseling techniques, it offers practical advice for rebuilding connection and intimacy – and hope that, with sincere effort, even the most difficult challenges can be overcome.
Introduction: Learn how to rebuild trust after infidelity
Table of Contents
Jason B. Martinkus knows a thing or two about regaining trust. He was first introduced to pornography as a child while playing war games with friends. This sparked an addiction that continued through his teenage years and college, despite him becoming a Christian.
After college, Martinkus married his girlfriend, Shelley – but he was still addicted to pornography and chat rooms. His addiction escalated after marriage, costing him jobs and leading him to have multiple affairs. After almost driving off a highway in despair, Martinkus had an epiphany about his brokenness and cried out to God for help.
Soon after, Shelley uncovered evidence of her husband’s lies and affairs. After a painful confrontation, the couple sought counseling and Martinkus confessed the full extent of his sex addiction. What followed was a grueling journey of healing their marriage, with Shelley struggling to rebuild trust and grant forgiveness.
Through counseling, accountability, and effort, Martinkus eventually found freedom from addiction – and redemption in his marriage. A decade later, the couple’s relationship has been restored. But it’s still a daily choice to lean into conflict and earn trust.
Martinkus wrote Worthy of Her Trust so others wouldn’t make the same mistakes he did – and to provide hope for broken marriages. In this Blink, you’ll learn eight myths that need to be debunked, nine nonnegotiable truths about regaining trust, and seven steps toward healing.
Eight myths about trust that need to be dispelled
There are eight common myths about building trust. When you know what to look for, you’re more likely to be able to manage your expectations – and less likely to be thrown off course in restoring your relationship. So let’s take a look at each one.
Myth #1: Time heals everything and rebuilds trust.
This simply isn’t true. Time may result in faded or fuzzy memories. But the memory isn’t gone, nor is the hurt associated with the event. All it needs is a trigger, and the memory will come flooding back in full detail. So how can you overcome this? Try looking at every morning as a new opportunity to foster trust. As you slowly rebuild your foundation, your wounds will heal.
Myth #2: To rebuild trust, all you need to do is stop repeating the behavior that caused the mistrust.
This is important, of course, but won’t resolve trust issues alone. What’s needed is actively healthy behavior, which will lead to redemption. And that healthy behavior needs to be in abundance. What does this mean? For example, you could shower your wife with compliments – then she wouldn’t feel the need to constantly seek approval from you, other men, your kids, or even the TV. Start thinking about creating more abundance: ask yourself how you can engage more in the relationship, how you can talk about your feelings, and how you can be responsible for things like budgeting.
Myth #3: Trust has been restored when she becomes less controlling.
Some of us are control freaks. You or your wife, or both, might be too. When you’ve broken the trust, your wife may feel an even greater need to control things. This might include checking your phone, your wallet, your email, or even tracking your movements using GPS. But some of this behavior is totally appropriate in light of the situation.
Myth #4: He doesn’t really love me – otherwise he wouldn’t do this.
It’s rare for infidelity to result because a man has fallen out of love with his wife, even if he professes this to be the case. More often, this is an easier explanation than admitting to the mean, destructive nature of the sinful act. Martinkus says authentic behavioral change only comes about through a “mysterious, dynamic interaction between our soul and the triune God.” The sinner has to accept that they can’t go on living that way; the pain of remaining as they are must become greater than the pain of change. Love is not the issue.
Myth #5: More sex will stop a man from acting out.
More sex and more exciting sex is likely to make matters worse rather than resolve the issue. The man might come to see his wife as an object rather than a companion and a “beautiful child of God.” When a wife agrees to change sexual habits, she merely becomes the husband’s “personal prostitute.” This will prolong the husband’s problems and delay healing.
Myth #6: Prayer builds trust.
Although prayer is important, you need a concrete plan to restore trust. With a plan and prayer, you’ll set the stage to win your wife back. So yes, pray for redemption and healing and pray for your wife’s forgiveness, but also remember to pray for the power to consistently work on your plan to rebuild trust.
Myth #7: Forgiveness rebuilds trust.
Forgiveness is necessary for true healing, but it’s not the be all and end all. It won’t rebuild trust alone – and to think that it will is lazy, selfish thinking. Forgiveness is something that’ll benefit your wife, not you. Your focus needs to be on becoming someone who’s worthy of forgiveness. How can you do that? Become someone who communicates softly and gently. Become humble and tender. Make the whole journey easier for your wife by empathizing with her pain.
Myth #8: God will save your marriage by delivering you from your sexual misdemeanors.
Although this might happen, Martinkus says it happens rarely – if at all. Sexual addiction is more akin to a food addiction than it is to drug or alcohol abuse. With substance abuse, you have to stop using the substance to find a remedy. But that’s not the case with a food or sex addiction – in these cases, you need to stop the abuse and engage more healthily while honoring God.
Although there may be some truth in these myths, know that if you rely on them alone, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Nine nonnegotiable truths about trust-building
With the eight myths dispelled, are you ready to start working on rebuilding trust? Let’s dive right in with these nine nonnegotiable truths – without which you’re unlikely to restore your relationship.
Truth #1: Commit spiritually.
What is God to you right now? Have you been more passionate about your spiritual life in the past? If you’re pursuing God, you won’t act out sexually – you can’t do both. If your energy is directed toward God, then your wife can see you’re not spending it elsewhere. So commit yourself to God. Come to understand him better through reading the Bible and other religious books. Share what you learn about yourself and God with your spouse.
Truth #2: Be honest.
Let the words “I’d rather lose you than lie to you” become your daily mantra. Don’t hide the truth by telling little white lies to avoid hurting her feelings, either. For example, she might ask, “Do I look good in this?” If you don’t think so, tell her exactly what you think. It’s a slippery slope if you lie about the small things – where do you draw the line? Try using active truth-telling too. In other words, don’t wait to be asked.
Truth #3: Practice transparency, not translucency.
This ties into being honest. Don’t hide anything, don’t be vague, don’t keep secrets. Give your wife access to everything. Your wife knows when you’re not telling the whole story. Even if she can’t quite figure out what’s missing, she’ll know something’s amiss. If you blur the details, your wife will simply fill in the gaps with suspicions that are far worse than the truth.
Truth #4: Work toward true intimacy.
What does intimacy mean to you? Sex? Closeness? Vulnerability? To many, the word has come to be associated with only sex. But to regain trust, you need to broaden this meaning. Martinkus describes true intimacy as “a state of honesty, openness, vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity with oneself, God, and/or another person.” Practicing true intimacy comes with a raft of benefits including feeling loved, accepted, comforted, and forgiven. If your wife is to trust you again, she has to know you intimately, warts and all – heart, mind, body, and soul.
Truth #5: Become accountable.
This means working with others who are walking the walk with you. When your wife knows you’re surrounded by honorable men, she can relax a little – she knows she’s not the only one holding you accountable. Try to find at least three men to become your accountability partners. Choose your partners wisely – men whose lives you aspire to lead. Meet once per week. Don’t skip sessions.
Truth #6: Provide access to every part of your life.
When it comes to technology, this means your computer, cell phone, iPad, bank accounts, email, and computer files. Offline it means your gym locker, toiletry bag, office, diaries, and so on – essentially, everything that might normally be considered private. If it seems like a total loss of privacy, that’s because it is. Don’t be afraid of losing your privacy – after all, if you’ve got nothing to hide from your wife, you don’t have anything you need to keep private from her, right? And this will definitely rebuild trust.
Truth #7: Set boundaries at work.
This is especially important if you had an affair with a work colleague. Your wife is likely to think that every woman at work is a potential target for you. So set boundaries. If there’s a culture of hugging or shoulder massages at work, stop that. Handshakes should be the only appropriate touching. Keep your distance from anyone who’s touchy-feely. Similarly, don’t have lunch, work late, or get in an elevator alone with female colleagues. You might wonder, What if I’ve got female clients? Well, if you can’t perform your job without situations where you’ll be alone with them, it might be time to find a new job!
Truth #8: Find restitution.
What does that look like? Basically, restitution is the idea that righting a wrong will cost you something. In terms of your relationship, you’re going to have to find a way to compensate your wife to make up for the injury you’ve incurred. That might start with giving up your freedom and privacy. At the same time, grant your wife the right to freely ask any questions, feel any emotions, be cynical and skeptical, and withhold forgiveness.
Truth #9: Keep your word.
After damaging your relationship, your word probably doesn’t count for much with your wife; after all, you’ve already broken your wedding vows. To rebuild your wife’s confidence, only commit to what you’re sure you can achieve – and tell your wife what that is. For instance, if she asks you to be home at 5:30 p.m. and you know you can’t do that, don’t be afraid to say no. Then, give her a realistic time that you can be home.
After working on these truths, it’s good to focus on your humility too. Avoid bragging about your progress – let your deeds and actions speak for themselves.
Seven steps to mending wounds
The past can be a barrier to building trust, so it’s vitally important to make the past the past. Doing this can lead to more intimacy and aid the process of healing, even if the past can’t ever be fully forgotten.
Martinkus offers seven steps to achieving this goal. So grab a pen and notepad – you’ll need to complete each of the seven steps before you approach your wife. When you’re done, you can speak from the heart or read aloud what you’ve written.
The first step is to ask yourself, What present events connect to past pains or disappointments? Look for touch points. These are current situations that have associations with past pains and could trigger those pains again. It could be something like driving by a restaurant or hotel where you used to meet your mistress. Or buying flowers – maybe now you’re getting them out of love, but you used to get them to relieve your guilt.
The next step is to ask, What was the past event exactly? This might seem like dredging up buried pains, but they’re already dug up! You’re bringing attention to them to help the healing process. Make sure you’re specific. Replay what you did. For example, you might recall, I purchased flowers out of guilt after I’d been chatting online to another woman.
For the third step, ask yourself, Why did I behave that way? Yes, you might have been acting selfish or like a jerk, but that’s too simple. Take responsibility for your actions. What were you thinking and feeling? Were you reacting to something? What did you experience? Continuing with the flower example, perhaps you bought them to make yourself feel acceptable in some way.
The next question is a biggy: How do I think she felt? Don’t think about how you would have felt if it had happened to you – rather, what did your wife feel? Try to experience true empathy with her and see the situation through her eyes. When you sent her flowers recently, did she think you were sincere or was she skeptical? Does she question your integrity when you make those kinds of gestures?
For the fifth step, ask yourself, How do I feel knowing she felt that way? Like the previous step, you’re engaging your empathy here. Remember to respect your wife’s pain and experience, even if it doesn’t match yours. Don’t indulge in self-pity; this isn’t helpful. Sincerely apologize, and change your behavior accordingly.
Now ask yourself, How do I want her to feel now? Think about the positive emotions you’d like your wife to experience. This can be a simple list, but avoid being robotic – otherwise you’ll just end up sounding insincere and insensitive. Think about why you’ve identified those emotions. Again, take the flowers example: you might want your wife to feel honored, trusting, special, and significant. But why?
For the seventh and final step, ask yourself, What do I want the future to be like for us? This is your North Star – what you’re aiming for in the long term. Just as Steve Jobs created a successful and compelling vision for Apple, you need to create a vision for your relationship and the steps required to get there. Paint the picture. Your wife may not buy into it at first, but it’ll give her hope.
Be prepared to use these seven steps on the same issue several times. Each time, the pain will reduce a little. Eventually, you’ll build deeper intimacy – which will lead to more healing and extensive heartfelt communication between the two of you.
Before you start winning back your wife’s trust, you need to get acquainted with the myths surrounding trust-building so that you aren’t sidetracked in your quest.
Next, study the nonnegotiable truths vital to restoring your relationship. These concern your spiritual commitment and honesty; transparency, intimacy, and accountability; your use of devices and the internet; your workplace interactions; finding restitution; and keeping your word.
Once you have these factors in place, work on ensuring the past remains in the past. To aid the healing process, use the seven steps for achieving greater intimacy.
Remember, rebuilding trust in your relationship won’t ever end. But when you continually work at it, you’ll change. Trust will become part of who you are. And you’ll become worthy of her trust once more.
About the Author
Stephen Arterburn and Jason B. Martinkus
Health, Nutrition, Sex, Relationships, Personal Development
“Worthy of Her Trust: What You Need to Do to Rebuild Sexual Integrity and Win Her Back” by Stephen Arterburn and Jason B. Martinkus is a powerful and insightful book that delves into the complexities of rebuilding trust in a relationship after a betrayal. The book primarily focuses on helping men who have damaged their partners’ trust due to sexual indiscretions, but the principles discussed can apply to anyone seeking to rebuild trust in a relationship.
The authors provide a comprehensive guide on how to restore trust and rebuild a loving and committed partnership. They emphasize the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and understanding the profound impact of betrayal on a partner. Throughout the book, they offer practical advice and strategies to help individuals regain trust, foster emotional intimacy, and work toward a healthier, more transparent relationship.
The book is divided into three parts, each addressing a different aspect of the healing process. Part one deals with understanding the depth of betrayal and the impact it has on both partners. Part two focuses on the necessary steps to rebuild trust, including empathy, transparency, and accountability. Part three explores the path to restoring emotional intimacy and rediscovering love.
“Worthy of Her Trust” is a remarkable resource for anyone seeking to repair a relationship shattered by betrayal. The authors, Arterburn and Martinkus, bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to the subject, making the book an invaluable guide for those who have broken trust and want to make amends.
One of the book’s strengths is its emphasis on the importance of empathy and understanding the emotional devastation caused by betrayal. The authors stress the need for the betrayer to genuinely grasp the pain their actions have caused, and they provide practical exercises to help in this process. This approach sets the book apart, as it doesn’t just focus on the act of betrayal but on the emotional journey of both partners.
The practical advice and action steps presented throughout the book are highly valuable. The authors provide clear and actionable guidance on how to regain trust through honesty, transparency, and accountability. They also address the importance of patience and perseverance, recognizing that trust takes time to rebuild.
Overall, “Worthy of Her Trust” is a compassionate, insightful, and practical guide for individuals looking to restore trust and rebuild a stronger, healthier relationship. It’s a must-read for anyone who has experienced or caused a breach of trust in a romantic partnership.
In conclusion, “Worthy of Her Trust” is an essential resource for anyone dealing with the aftermath of a breach of trust in their relationship. This book provides a roadmap to healing and rebuilding a loving, trust-based partnership. If you’re seeking guidance on how to repair trust and create a stronger, more resilient relationship, this book is a valuable tool.