Rebuilding Trust

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

Has your trust been broken? Talk to a mentor today.

One of my clients once asked me what it means to trust another human being. She wanted to know how she should react when a spouse or significant other is dishonest, inconsiderate or having an affair. She wondered if it is possible to rebuild trust in someone who disappoints us greatly.

What does trusting someone signify?

Trust, in a practical sense, means that you place confidence in someone to be honest with you, faithful to you, keep promises, vows and confidences and not abandon you. Here are some factors to consider about trust. Trusting another person requires a realistic perspective about people and an expectation of failure. Trust needs to be combined with a willingness to forgive and grows best in an environment of acceptance and love.

There’s no magic machine, you don’t put in a quarter and out drops a can of trust — trust grows over time. People are complex, broken beings therefore, previous hurts, fears or losses can impede their determination to trust and/or be truthful in a relationship. But, people have the capacity and the ability to change and to grow in trust and truthfulness. You can rebuild trust in broken relationships when you make a choice to do so with the supernatural help of God.

Adjust your expectations

Love & God
A Conversation about Love & God
Has love betrayed you? Is it preventing you from believing that you are a human being who is loved by God? You are intelligent, beautiful, loved, and not alone.

People are human, frail, and sinful. Therefore, you need a realistic type of trust when you choose to trust someone. Trusting grows in relationships over time because as you spend time together with someone you build knowledge, understanding and authenticity. You gain insight into another person’s character, needs, motivations and fears.

Unconditional love develops trust because as you express this kind of love towards someone — generally he or she will sense your acceptance and feel comfortable to be vulnerable and honest about their feelings. Unconditional love actually builds self-esteem in others and alleviates their fears of rejection. People learn that they can be authentic with you about their feelings, opinions, and failures. The result is a growing trust in the other person. Not because that person is perfect but because that person is growing in honesty.

Unconditional love is patient and kind

It is not self-seeking. It does not keep a record of wrongs. When love is not patient or enduring; when love is unforgiving and always disappointed or looking for something to go wrong, it generates fear and looks for imperfections in the other person. Fear-based love is conditional creating an atmosphere of distrust, dishonesty and instability.

You can have a limited trust in people as you grow to know them and they see you really care about them but the fact is that people will let us down. That is reality. Obviously, when someone has broken their vows and been unfaithful, has lied or been dishonest in the relationship, they need to change. You can make some requests for change and take the risk of starting over again. Get counseling and pastoral guidance. You can find a counselor or go to the nearest mental health center. If you are suicidal please contact 911 (in the USA & Canada) or go to a hospital emergency room.

If that person is not sincere about changing and continues to lie or betray you, then, you need to consider whether to end the relationship.

Take a look at yourself as well

You will never be perfect and therefore, you will probably disappoint your loved one as well. You can promise to never say something hurtful or never tell a lie or never exaggerate or always keep your promises or (you name it) but since you are human you will also make mistakes and disappoint that person. The only thing you or your loved one can promise is to grow, to seek God and ask Him for strength to change. Then you and your loved one will become more trustworthy in your relationships, though you will never be perfect.

Every human relationship will suffer hurt. Thus, we all need to become better forgivers and confessors. That ability to reconcile and spirit of humbleness will prove the depth of your love and commitment.

The components of love, forgiveness and commitment are as necessary to trust in a relationship as is honesty. Forgiveness gives you the chance to start over and trust another fallible human being again. Love helps to nourish trust. Commitment and honesty provide accountability to one another.

The ability to forgive is rooted in being forgiven ourselves. In the Bible it says that God loves the world so much that he sent his only son so that we could be forgiven. As people we all make mistakes, not one of us can live up to the standard God set on our own. But God promises that if we accept what Jesus did for us, we can be forgiven. The slate can be wiped clean no matter what has happened in the past. God promises us strength for today and bright hope for the future. Whatever happened in your yesterdays God can take care of all of your tomorrows.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray it right now and Christ will come into your life as He promised. If you invited Jesus Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.


468 Responses to “Rebuilding Trust”

  • Kate Kate says:

    I have experienced forgiveness as a process. I have had to affirm my forgiveness again and again, trusting God for the results when my heart didn’t feel it yet.

  • Celeste65 says:

    I agree with Claire.
    Forgiveness has been difficult for me, but I’m
    working on it.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Jake, I was surprised to see you write that forgiveness is easy and simple. That has not been my experience. It’s necessary, but rarely easy.

  • Jake says:

    Forgiveness is easy and simple to see. For example, look at Charles Manson? Do you feel hatred for this man? I am pretty sure everyone just looks at him when he is speaking and thinks, “thank god that man is locked up so he cant hurt any more people. He is insane or if you prefer to see it that he has been taken by the devil. I want my children to see what happens to a man when he is taken by the devil. And also thank God I live in a state who does not condemn a man to execution, who does not murder charles manson as punishment for judgement is God’s and Christ reminded us AGAIN that we must not murder.”

    Remember also the pure perfection of God is so apparent in everything Christ said. The Bible even warns that you must not take pleasure in knowing that God will punish someone who has trespassed against you.
    Christ was perfect.
    My friend has fallen in lust with a married woman he works with, and was searching for me to somehow be an ear to him when he knows what I also know but is looking for someone to give him permission to sleep with her.
    I told him he knows he must not touch her or do this. And then he said to me, “You are right, I can not touch her. I need to go do anything else, I need to go masturbate about her instead”.
    And then I reminded him, “No you must not masturbate about her. Don’t you remember what Christ said in the testimony of Matthew? That even if you look at her with lust you have sinned. She is married. You know the law.”
    Obedience to God is the most beautiful thing in the world.

  • Shannon says:

    Claire I actually had a counseling session today and I had told her. And no he hasn’t done anything to earn trust back. I actually have not seen him for many months. My in laws watch my son when I work so I pretty much only see them. Like I was telling my counselor I am afraid of starting to look not work out..and then I’m back into the whole of depression. I don’t know if I could overcome all of the pain again. She also brought to my attention that anytime I think abt reconciling my anxiety shoots up and and I feel sick. I actually have him my counselors number today and said he could call her if he wanted. I really don’t know tho. I don’t want to see or talk to him over the phone cuz I still feel pain.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Shannon, I was reading over your comments – it looks like you had a lot to say last night. Have you read Lynette Hoy’s article on forgiveness and consequences? She writes about how forgiving someone does not automatically cancel out the consequences of their actions. Rather, forgiveness open a door to the possibility of beginning to rebuild trust. You mentioned that you were in counselling and that is an incredible healthy step. I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing that. It sounds like there has been a total break of trust between you and your husband. I do believe that God can work miracles and that marriages that seem broken beyond repair can be brought back to wholeness but it is rarely something that happens overnight. Have you talked to your counsellor about your husband’s desire to come back? Have you thought about a set of rules or boundaries that would need to be in place before you could let him back in to your life? What sort of things has he done lately to start to re-earn your trust? Is he safe for you to be around?

  • Johnson says:

    ” No matter how bad u want something to work out doesn’t mean it will. I can’t even describe to you the emotional pain to where I would have wanted to not be alive. ”

    yeh it kind of hurts pretty bad that one. Then you resent yourself for having been a fool to think you could fall your heart onto another. is one of the Big 5 hurts you will ever know in your life that one.

  • Celeste65 says:

    Shannon :
    I am more at peace now than I have been in years.

    I’m still working on it. My children bring much joy to
    my life. I’m working at becoming financially self-sufficient .
    God bless you Shannon. You are in my prayers.

  • Shannon says:

    I am starting to go and got my son into it also. We had tried marriage counseling a year ago but just once. The thing is tho he left four! Times In a year. I think I hav had a history w depression also. And when someone doesn’t understand and puts you down it makes it that much worse. Do you feel happy and at peace with your life now?

  • Celeste65 says:

    Shannon :
    I just read your reply.
    I have a history of depression.
    My ex became verbally abusive after our
    son was born and I returned to work.
    I struggled with postpartum depression alone.
    He didn’t want to hear my problems.
    Have you gone to a counselor? I would never tell you
    to get a divorce, because every situation is different .

  • Shannon says:

    Celeste I just read what u posted abt your situation. Sounds exactly! Like mine. Life is all abt my husband and what makes him happy. And he would put me down and not b around for my son and I. I felt soooo alone and depressed but I felt like I still loved him. Eventually I lost myself all together and had depression and severe anxiety which I am on medal for. It was a sad lonely life…he even stopped sleeping in the same bed. All I wanted was a family made no sense. But the issue is more him as I realized I hadn’t done anything horribly wrong and didn’t rebound like he would.

  • Celeste65 says:

    Shannon ..
    We divorced 3 years ago. (I filed.)
    Trust and respect were lost on both sides.
    I lived with emotional and verbal abuse from my husband
    for over 10 years. He behaved one way around others
    and the opposite behind closed doors.
    I didn’t speak of the abuse to anyone.
    I am not blameless.
    I had an affair. I deeply regret it. My actions were
    selfish and cowardly.
    I knew that my husband wouldn’t be able to forgive
    me, and feared that he would use the affair to justify
    his abuse.

  • Shannon says:

    Celeste did u end up divorcing. He wants to go to counseling but I just don’t know. And It really is a miracle how ppl get thru that kind of horrendous pain. Pain isn’t even the word to use

  • Celeste65 says:

    Good point Shannon.
    I know all too well the emotional pain
    of which you speak.
    I wished I were dead many times during my marriage .
    I prayed daily but saw no way out of my emotionally abusive marriage .

  • Shannon says:

    You may feel that god will heal the marriage but that is not always the case. I thought god was healing mine also but my husband lefte four times in a year..had an affair.. And now wants to work it out. No matter how bad u want something to work out doesn’t mean it will. I can’t even describe to you the emotional pain to where I would have wanted to not be alive. You have to trust god that things will go the way that’s best for you. In my case we r going thru a divorce and I’m a single mom now. I don’t know if I will ever trust him again. Not sure what will happen just keeping my guard up.

  • FIFI says:

    Hello Jake, It is so nice to hear that God answers all your prayers. I hope Neel really takes comfort in that but don’t you think you got the story of women a little twisted. It is satans plan to cause division between male and female. I know its difficult for men but it is also difficult for women too. It is God plan for both male and female Believers to overule the world. In Genesis, it states that God gave them, (plural), dominion over everything apart from God of course. Christ Jesus, the second Adam came to give us what Adam lost when he fell and Eve.

    The real problem is theis, God put before us, death and life, blessings and cursings; but he said to choose life that we may live. Now, it is up to every individual, male and female. many regect him, and here goes the problem. That is the real problem. If the whole world accepted him today, the world would change even better in a day.

    God bless

  • Celeste1965 says:

    Woah. The comment from Jake hit me.
    Sounds like he was wronged by some women in his life.
    He is entitled to his opinion.
    When I was married, I did not but all of the blame for anything on my husband. He wasn’t always wrong.
    He didn’t have all of the responsibility of family life and work, either. I worked full time for most of the marriage, and provided us with healthcare and was responsible for everything involving the upkeep of our home. The only chore I didn’t have was mowing the lawn.

  • Jake says:

    Neel, it is really important to be humilitated before greater power than yourself but a power which is pure and good. The government is evil and tyrannical. Men are lost in the tricks of satan. God is pure and good and his message was delivered properly from Christ and that is why the jews killed Him. Because he spoke Truth. Look at what Christ says of how men should treat each other.
    When you pray you are recognising your humility. It is really important you find this. It takes a massive load from your shoulders. Especially men in this world Neel is very difficult for them. We have all the responsibility put on us, all the blame put on us. We are always wrong and the women have taken control of society and are making a mess of it. All these wars today we see are caused by women. You think I am joking? I am not joking.

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