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To Be Or Not To Be? Regaining Broken Trust
by Cate Russell-Cole
11/02/2015 / Marriage
"If you can not have trust then there is no relationship. Take it from me. I was married for over five years. I found out he had a lot of girls coming on to him and he would blow them off for the longest time. Then I found a number in his wallet. I called and a woman answered it, she was hoping that I was my hubby. To make a long story short...I met her and she told me that he had finally accepted her proposal after two weeks on the job site. Well I asked him and of course he denied it. Then he came home to her in the house talking to me. He passed out cold!!! The next year he wouldn't talk to her or see her and/or anything to do with her. But then I became paranoid. I couldn't let him go anywhere without having him followed or leaving him alone at the house without having the line tapped. So I fell apart. I needed that trust that he stole from me. Now we are friends, and he sees his daughter, but I am a divorced single mother, now, you can take it for what its worth or you can let it kill you." Signed Anonymous
I came across this posting on a message board. It was answering a cry for help from a young woman whose husband was using pornography. It highlights the whole issue of trust in relationships. It is one that has been a challenge for all of us, in some way or other. How do you restore trust when it's lost? Can you restore it? Is it worth restoring, or will there always be an unfillable void in the relationship that has an awesome potential for its destruction? If your loved one betrays you, whether that be a child, parent, sibling or friend, how do you know it is the first time - or is it the first time you have found out? Have they broken your trust repeatedly in the past? Are you an idiot because you didn't see the signs? Will they do it again in the future? Can you trust anything they do? How do you know what they are thinking?
What a minefield of problems any kind of betrayal opens up! I went to our library and searched through books on relationships to try and find out how you rebuild shattered relationships. I found references on how trust is lost in early childhood on, but nothing on rebuilding it. On the surface level, regaining trust seems like a lost cause. A psychologist named Robert Kastenbaum said that trust was whether or not what is said by a person is reliable and matches their actual attitudes and behaviour. A journalist named Adam Sieler defined trusting someone as an assessment of their sincerity, reliability and competence. He goes on to state the blatantly obvious. By your actions you gain trust, and by your actions you lose it. It makes or breaks relationships. So much for the guiding wisdom of those who are supposed to be the experts.
So where does that leave us when we don't know where to turn to for help? A philosophy book said that you don't have to trust someone totally. They don't have to have an excellent degree of integrity, you get by with some wins and some losses. Sometimes they are going to pull a dirty trick on you, but to keep going, you accept it or the relationship dies off. Is that what we want to settle for? Another answer of the message board stated, "I think you will always feel distrustful of him because you will always wonder if he will act out / carry out whatever fantasies or delights he may be getting from porno. So no, I don't think you will trust him, because it will always be in the back of your mind."
Kastenbaum takes us back to the subject of marriage. He says that trust contributes to the love felt by marriage partners. The greater the trust, the greater the love, and thus the greater the intimacy in the marriage. Partners are able to work out how their partner really feels about things, and where their thought patterns genuinely lie. Ultimately God is the only One we can trust when our world caves in, and those closest to us disappoint us. People will always be a source of hurt, intentionally and unintentionally. As King David did, you will find comfort and healing in the One who will never forsake you or betray you for any reason.
"Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of his enemies, and from the hand of Saul [who wanted to kill him.] And he said, "God is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn on my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Saviour, You save me from violence. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies... In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears."" (2 Samuel 22:1-4,7)
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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