It is a known fact that successful relationships are built on the foundation of trust; trust between husband and wife, parents and children, siblings, friends, relations, church leaders and their followers, political leaders and the masses and the list goes on and on. However, in this day and age a lot of people have lost the value for trust or have never embraced it in the first instance. Trust has therefore been relegated to something that we practice and promote out of convenience. For a variety of reasons, a lot of marriages are facing a crisis of trust, a crisis that can destroy the marriage relationship if proper care isn’t taken. So what is trust? Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something and the state of being responsible for someone or something.

“Whilst deep trust is earned over time, we sometimes give the credit of trust to others the first time we become acquainted with   them or begin a marriage relationship with the hope that they will not abuse our trust and that it will continue to deepen.”

As a Christian, my relationship with an unseen God is based on Trust and I had to first trust Him the first time I confessed my belief in him. Since then, He has proved Himself to be trustworthy and therefore it makes it easier for me to trust, obey and follow him. However a lot of people have been hurt deeply by someone in a position of trust and therefore have found it really difficult to trust them or others from then on. Sometimes, people will not leave their spouses or conclude their relationship with the person who has breached their trust. However they will close their hearts to them for fear of being taken for granted again. This is not a good place to be and is dangerous to a relationship. Rather than being care-less in the relationship because they know they are safe with the person, they become very care-ful and on guard all the time.

Trust, once breached is hard to re-build and where a spouse or anyone may have given trust initially upfront, it becomes difficult for them to continue to do so once there’s been a breach of that trust. Their ability to trust thereafter will depend on the condition that their spouse or the particular person is trustworthy and will continue to earn the trust. I am reminded of a popular saying which states that it takes years to build trust but seconds to shatter it.

If you expect others to trust you, you will need to be trustworthy and likewise you will need to be able to trust others also. I have seen relationships where each person is filled with suspicion about the other person. The fact that someone you trusted before let you down does not mean that others cannot be trusted. This does not suggest that you leave yourself open, but if you continue to struggle with trusting your spouse, and are always suspicious of their motives, I will suggest that you both sit down and openly confront the issues that are causing the distrust in your relationship. It may be that you need to seek further counsel or help on these issues. Sometimes it may just be that you are clinging to false opinion of the other person or outdated opinion of them. The way we perceive people is really key to our ability to build trust with them and therefore it is important that we have the right perception of others.

Moreover, every responsible person wants to be respected and trusted and where they find that this is not the case in their relationships, it may cause some difficulties in their ability to foster a thriving relationship as they will feel that they are being watched at every move they make. I have found that people who trust themselves find it easier to trust others and those who do not find it difficult because guilt breeds suspicion. If you have a failing in one area, there is also a tendency to see others’ actions and behavior through the filters of your experiences when this may not be the case.

In the context of marriage, we often associate trust with how faithful a spouse is sexually but infidelity is not the only area where trust can be breached. A spouse needs to be able to trust that their mate will be faithful to them sexually but much more than this, they need to be able to have a firm belief in the reliability and truth of their mate. Behaviours such as withholding important information from one’s spouse lying about one’s whereabouts and the people we are with when our spouses are not there, making derogatory comments about our spouse to others or in public, deception, suspicion etc. are all trust killers. Even simple things such as not doing what you say you will do, being a different person in public and behind closed doors and being unreliable can erode trust in a relationship.

However regardless of what’s happened in the past, trust can be built and rebuilt. When we feel trusted by our spouse, we are free to be who we are without hiding or self-protecting ourselves. The same thing happens when we trust them, they are free to be who they are. If your spouse or loved ones have breached your trust but they are willing to make the required changes and have shown remorse for their behavior, you should endeavour to give love a chance and give them the chance to earn your trust again. Using what your spouse has told you in the past against them is not a good way to build trust and so if your spouse decides to show his/her vulnerability and shares an indiscretion with you, provided they have repented and made the necessary changes, please do not use this against them.

You may consider yourself to be in a trusting relationship if you can put a tick to each of the sentences below. If not, why don’t you make a commitment to start to build 2-way trust in these areas?

  1. You trust that your spouse will stay committed to you and your wedding vows in difficult times
  2. You trust that your mate’s love for you is unconditional
  3. You can vouch that you and your kids if you have any take priority in your spouse’s life and are at the top of his list of important people
  4. You can say with definite assurance that your partner is faithful to you
  5. You trust your partner not to harm, control or abuse you. He protects you and does not cause you any physical harm