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.

Does your husband watch porn? Read “Hardcore Betrayal.”
Related: Unfaithful Husband: Thrown on a Roller Coaster.

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 a spirit of humility 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 has set. But God promises that if we accept what Jesus did for us, we can be forgiven. The record can be wiped clean no matter what has happened in the past. God promises us strength for today and bright hope for the future.

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 Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person 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 the wonderful plans He has for your life.

603 Responses to “Rebuilding Trust”

  • reffs says:

    I have a 7 year partner, he s not trustworthy, he is unfaithful, a liar, a cheater. every time when we fought is the one with mistakes. I don’t no if must I allow him to marry me or not cause he is abusing me emotionally so that I don’t have self confidence. He s been cheating over and over and he doesn’t show any remorse.

  • Elkay says:

    Jim, you are so right on about being called to love your wife unconditionally even if she is lying and not sincere about changing. God actually goes further than calling a husband to love his wife unconditionally because in Ephesians 5:25, husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for her. This means husbands are in a covenant relationship in which they are called to sacrifice to satisfy their wife’s needs and desires even if their wife does not respond in kind.

    It is this covenant commitment that enables married people to become people who love sacrificially recognizing that God created our spouse specifically for us. This gift may not seem “perfect” in our eyes but we remember that God is at work in their life transforming them as He sees fit. So, hang in there, Jim, because you are doing the “best” thing.

  • Jim says:

    I have a question about something you wrote…….”.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.” What if that relationship is marriage? As a man, I’m called to love my wife unconditionally, regardless of where she is. I am in that situation right now. My wife has been withholding truth and lying to me and does not seem sincere in changing. From what I read, I should be considering ending the marriage?

  • Tom Tom says:

    Dan–
    When I read your post it really concerned me. Unless I misunderstand the wording, you haven’t finalized your legal break from your 5th wife and are already in a relationship with possible number six.

    On the surface it would seem that either you are the most unfortunate man in the neighborhood, or there are unresolved issues that keep surfacing from one marriage to the next that dooms them from the start. If you put yourself in this new woman’s place, you can probably see how intimidating it must be for her.

    Have you carefully considered what may be causing so many relationships to end in divorce? Is it possible it would be better to back off new relationships until you really come to understand why your marriages have gone bad and how that can be precluded in the future? It seems you would be doing yourself, and any future wife, a favor by taking things slow and seeking further guidance.

  • Dan says:

    Here’s my story. I am divorcing for the 5th time and met a wonderful lady that I think the world of. I lied about having a past, she found out and now just wants to stay friends and that is not at all how I feel about her. I have spoken to my accountability partner and a very close friend and they have given me some insight. We have agreed to let God’s plan for our lives be that, God’s plan. I’m struggling because I want to regain her trust…I can’t have instant gratification nor would I want that. I want to build this relationship with this woman and don’t want to lose her. I understand by lying to her about having been married may have undermined our relationship…but I felt that if she knew the toxic relationships I was in, she wouldn’t even consider me as a desirable mate for the future. We had made plans and things were going well until my past come to light. I was attempting to protect her and her family but instead I put her and them in harms way. I pray every day for her, her kids and grand children. I’m taking it slow, I am hurt because I hurt her and I never wanted that to happen.

  • Elkay says:

    Josee, I am so very sorry about the situation with your husband and there really are no easy answers to your plight. Your husband’s lies and unfaithfulness are sinful, against God, you and himself and there is no excuse for this.

    When life brings us trouble, we have to try and see it as God does. Yes, God sees his lies but He also knows this is a chance for you to follow His example of extending grace to all (Eph. 4:32). Since God has pardoned us so generously, we shouldn’t withhold forgiveness from others because neither are we deserving of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

    For our own healing and His glory, He wants us to freely forgive those who hurt us. So, “yes” you do move past the lies and forgive, especially if he doesn’t show emotions or remorse for his actions. Why? Because that will get his attention faster than anything else and prayerfully bring him to faithfulness. The author says, ” You can rebuild trust in broken relationships when you make a choice to do so with the supernatural help of God.” and that is where we begin.

    “Heavenly Father, with You, the Creator and Sustainer of all life in this universe, nothing is impossible. In faith, Josee has asked for prayers so we come to Your gracious throne to find help and mercy in her time of trouble. We thank You that Josee has been able to forgive her husband’s infidelity but he still has an issue with honesty. Our prayer is that You bring her husband to know that You created marriage as a sacred institution in which he and Josee become one in Your eyes, reflect Your image and worship You (Gen 1:27; 2:24). Bring him to realize that dishonesty in marriage is no small matter, that fidelity in all aspects is important to You. Please help him know that his marriage is a commitment to Josee in which unselfish love flows as they receive Your love. May this generate fidelity and complete honesty and overcome all hurtful issues in their relationship. We ask for this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.”

  • Josee says:

    I’m asking for prayers please. My husband has been struggling with many addictions for many years (on and off) – I have shown grace, love, support & forgiveness and now I feel lost. My husband has used my grace of his addictions and had an affair. He’s been having an affair for over 2 years now (as per the woman) he denies that their relationship has been ongoing for that long. He says that most contacts were only done through sexting but he’s lied so many times now I don’t believe him anymore. I have forgiven him for having the affair with God’s help but I can’t seem to be able to move past the lies. I know trust is build with time, but I do I start if he won’t show emotions or remorse for his actions? Any suggestions and prayers would be appreciated. Thank you

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Dear ambitiouslady,
    Thanks for sharing a bit of your story here with us.As the author of this article says, trust isn’t something that just happens but it grows over time. Because your son’s father broke that trust when he left you, he needs to rebuild that trust bank between you in order for you to fully trust him. Have you talked about that with him? That’s probably the place to start. Rebuilding that trust takes time and also continued reliability and trustworthiness on behalf of the other person.Check out this video to learn more about why trust is worth it. http://powertochange.com/itv/why-trust-is-worth-it/

    Another thing that the author mentions is that ‘ You can rebuild trust in broken relationships when you make a choice to do so with the supernatural help of God.’I don’t know if you have a personal faith that you practice, but that is something that has helped me in my relationships with others. Here’s a great article that explains more about that http://powertochange.com/discover/faith/yourspirit/

  • ambitiouslady says:

    My son father left me while I was pregnant and did not show up to the birth of our son. I went to have a paternity test and he started to help me out a little bit. Fast forwarding to now, it’s hard for me to trust him again and whenever we get close I push him away. He always ask me if I could let the past go and I say I try so hard. It seems like I get angry at him some days and shut down

  • Sharon says:

    to KK prayer father God I do pray for KK I pray that this person will give KK money. I pray for reconciliation and forgiveness too on these people. I pray for KKs decision about whether to leave this person or not. I pray for Christians to come along to encourage KK. can I suggest counseling for you and maybe ask this person to come too if not go alone. I am praying for you— sharon

  • kk says:

    My bf always had me ,he shout me does not help me with nothing we have a child ,when I asked money for child he just ignore me or runaway to her mother house.so please what kind of man is he serious or just play, because when I was pregnant he run he come after a get birth but ,he apologies because I love I accept please help me can I leave her or what.

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