How to trust his behaviors?

Balancing trust with self-preservation is a very difficult balancing act….If you want to keep your trust on your husband’s intentions to treat you well and always defend your interests, then you can’t be second-guessing if he is doing passive aggression against you, right?

If you decide that is impossible to be for ever watchful, and then give him your best shot at helping you (“I need the car with the full tank of gas tomorrow early, so I can go to this job interview, could you take care of it?”) only to discover that he “forgot to do it,” where that leaves you?

 Frustrated? Yes…
 Scared? Even more!

The first time you discover you can’t count on him solve a need for your very important project, a crack appears in your perception of the trust existent in your relationship. This is a sad discovery: “I can’t trust him.”

This is not easily forgotten. Every time you need to ask him for something be it trivial or important, a nagging question appears in your mind: will he do it in time? Or will I only get a silly excuse for his absence?

This is not easily denied. Now you need double guarantees, to ask and ask again about the fulfillment of the promise, about his delivery of whatever he promised. You are stuck in a no win situation, where, if he is really angry at you, he will play you at his will. You will get lots of stories, little confidence in what he says.

How can you go on? Now you have a double burden: decide if you are going to share the inevitable tasks of married life, (and having to do them anyway later) or doing them before hand and be done with them, and avoid this endless conversation about his duties. Whatever you do, it gives you the lingerig feeling that this is not the life you dreamed of.

Is there a way out? Proceed with caution, and be ready to hear outrageous accusation about being too controlling…

Here are the steps:

Ask for help: “I need you to take the car to the mechanics this week, before Friday 6:00 PM”
Confirm: “I will ask you no later than Wednesday night,”
Say what will happen: “I need you to tell me if you have a problem with this taks. If I don’t deliver my work Friday evening, we will lose the client.”
Alert him: “If you have a problem with this issue, it’s better to share it with me now, so we can make other plans”
Close the deal: “I need to know that I can trust you with this project, very important for me.”
Finally: keep in mind that you need to have also a Plan B, for if he fails to deliver at the last minute.

If things go well, you can praise him and show your happiness. If there is a non-delivery, then you go to Plan B without any warning or other conversation. Be fast, act in a sure way and don’t leave any possibility for him to imagine that his non-delivery will stop you from doing what you need to do.

After several repetitions of this dance, perhaps you can begin again saying: “Now that we both know that certain tasks need to be done regardless what we would like to do, and can’t be stopped, I would like to know if I can trust you with this new task…..”

NoraNora Femenia is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Visit her blog and signup free to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! Go now to
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  1. says

    I married him seven years ago, one month ago I came home from work, as soon as i walk in the door the phone rang and it was him, saying he's left, he took some of his things, he needs time; I put him under to much pressure. I did'nt know at the time or over the past seven years that he was passive aggressive. I've just started reading about this a week ago, although I knew that there was something wrong with him. I could'nt get him to go to counseling or talk about what was wrong with him, or talk about him neglecting our marriage avoiding me. Well he's gone now and I FEEL SORRY FOR HIS NEXT VICTIM.

  2. Dear Katherine,
    I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such an encouraging message….it means a lot to us!
    Did you receive already your free ebook by subscribing?
    Sending you lots of peace and love from here, thanks again for visiting,

  3. Katherine says

    Thank you for this. It really feels good to know that there is someone out there who understands PA and provides us with practical information on overcoming this taxing condition effecting our marriages. The Lord continue to bless you and your ministry.

  4. Nora Femenia says

    Dear Linda,
    nothing wrong with marrying a child, when you don't know who the person is in a deep sense. We all have to help each other by mothering, fathering or marrying other people! that is called life. The sour point is when the other side has not “read the fine line of the marriage contract,” and aspires only to be cared for, obeyed and taken care of, unilaterally, for ever, and doesn't want to grow!
    I strongly suggest that you read our FREE ebook: “Healthy marriage,” so we can share some of the ideas about relationships that we use here. Probably you can find them silly or useless, but they will help start a good discussion about the deeper meaning of relationships as tools for us to grow, learn and develop into the person we need to be.
    Thanks for writing!

  5. You have got to be KIDDING! What kind of marriage is that? What is the point of having a husband, if you have to be his mother? I don't read trust into this scenario. If you trusted him. then you would not feel the need to remind him and have a backup plan. We are all tired of having to be the B.