What can be done when trust is broken?
Trust is defined as a firm belief in the reliability of someone or something. The hebrew word for trust is batach, meaning to put confidence in. The greek translation for trust is even stronger, meaning to be persuaded of.In relationships, trust is a necessary part if the relationship is to be strong and long. When two people stand at the altar declaring their vows, there is a trust that this relationship is permanent. When one visits their doctor not knowing what to do, there is a trust that the physician will lead them with the best advice. When one shares intimate information with a best and close friend, there is a trust that the information will go no further.
Trust is at the core of every strong and healthy relationship. When you trust someone, you have peace of mind, knowing that your emotions and the very best part of yourself is safe. When you trust someone, your fears and worries are greatly reduced if not even eliminated. But trust is a fragile thing. When broken, it causes the greatest pain. And none of us are immune to it and probably, all of us have felt the sting of broken trust.
I remember vividly sharing in confidence some information with a friend that I intended to go no further. It was work related information that could cause someone to lose their job and I was uncertain as to what I should do with that information. So I spoke with my friend asking him to keep this information between the two of us. He promised me that he would and I trusted him. As you can already guess, he didn’t. He shared the information with just one person but that person shared it with many and before long, there was deep and unresolved pain for several people, all because I trusted my friend. I didn’t speak to him for over a year. One day he called me and asked me to forgive him and hopefully restore our friendship. I told him that I had already forgiven him but I would never trust him again. We haven’t spoken since then and that’s ok.
Trust is a wonderful but fragile thing. It must be handled with the utmost of care because when it is broken, there is a strong possibility it will never be put together again. Some of you have been there before. Perhaps in a marriage or a relationship with a best friend. Perhaps at work or even at church. You, too, trusted someone and they broke your trust and things have never been the same. That doesn’t mean that things can’t be the same, maybe even better; but the chances are not very good. So what do we do when trust is broken? How do we put things back together again?
First of all, I think you must decide if you want things to be put back together. You have to think long term and are you willing to put yourself out there again at the risk of the same thing happening again? In my case with my friend, I was not. I didn’t think the risk was worth the possibility of further pain. For the sake of family unity, perhaps one should try again for the sake of others who are hurting. I’ve been through a divorce as well and know the pain that it causes. Divorce is never fair to anyone; everyone gets hurt. When one has been cheated on, it will be extremely difficult to build that trust up again but it can and does sometimes happen. After much prayer and talking with people who know you best, make a decision if you want to work at restoring the relationship or not.
Secondly, if you want to repair a broken relationship, go extremely slow and be very patient. If it’s meant to be, it will work out over the long days ahead. Think of trust as a bridge that has been destroyed. The results are that things can not be the same for the time being but that doesn’t mean another bridge can’t be built. But it will take a lot of time and the road traveled over that bridge will have to take a detour until it is repaired. If you want to repair that bridge and start over, just know that it will take a lot of time and you will have to be patient.
Lastly, be willing to admit to your own faults. Nobody in a relationship is perfect, there is always room for improvement on both parts. If you want the relationship to be restored, I would suggest that you may want to seek professional counseling in order for both of you to be heard from an outside source. As the offended person in the relationship, be willing to look at your faults and admit that you could have done better. That doesn’t relinquish the guilt of the other person but it does admit that you are willing to work on the relationship. As both parties work towards resolving the issues, the hopes are that trust can be reestablished and the relationship can be restored. Sacrifices will have to be made but if you want it bad enough, it can be done and will be worth it in the long run.
I am not a professional counselor and these are simply my suggestions. I don’t even know how to dance! But I do know that it takes two for the dance to work and and it takes a lot of work learning the dance. Here is hoping that trust is restored and forgiveness is granted in your relationships.
Might I add a significant scripture to help you along the way? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” (Prov 3:5,6) The good news is that God will never break your trust.
Trust is a fragile thing. If someone has given it to you, treat it as a million dollar gift and do everything you can to protect it.