Learning to Trust Again
What is Trust?
Trust lies at the heart of a strong relationship. When trust is lost we feel betrayed, angry and taken for granted. But what is trust? Trust is when we take as fact some belief we have, for which there is only partial evidence. For that very reason there is an element of uncertainty and risk involved. Whoever we are trusting may not always live up to the faith we are putting in them.
We talk of "placing our trust" in someone, which shows that it involves an action rather than just our feelings. Many parents of teenagers will identify with choosing to trust our child to be able to spend the weekend in the house on their own without throwing a wild party. We may feel somewhat anxious as we drive away from the house and have a strong urge to ring up and "check how things are going". There is a risk involved, they may let us down.
Often we place trust in a child according to what we know of their character, gradually giving them a bit more responsibility as we think they are mature enough and trustworthy enough to handle it. We see trust as something that must be earned or negotiated. We may trust other adults according to how much we know of their character, attitudes and behaviour.
Another way to see trust is as something that is inspired in someone when they are trusted. You place the trust, let go, and believe they will rise to the faith put in them. Yet another way is to trust, fully aware of the weakness of human nature and ready to forgive when someone lets us down.
From this we see that people can have different ideas of what it means to trust. Some people believe that they give trust, and it's their choice to give it, while others think it has to be earned, so it is the one who is to be trusted who has the choice. Our ability to trust may be affected by our upbringing and past experiences too. It is very easy within a marriage to assume we view trust in the same way as our partner, but assumptions can be misleading and lead to disappointment and hurt when things go wrong.