Doing Life Together

unhappy coupleYou’ve heard the saying, trust is easy to break, hard to repair.

How do you go about building trust with someone you’ve hurt! The key is to know the other person’s world and reliably respond to it. Do what you say. Keep your promises. Empathize with the other person’s issue and try to see the problem from both sides.

When differences emerge and pain is associated with those differences, don’t dismiss the pain. Acknowledge it, empathize, and be there for that person. This is how you create a safe haven to work through differences.

When differences are expressed and that expression is negative, stay calm and listen to those feelings. Do not get defensive, turn away, or decide to avoid or make excuses. Stay in it. The person who has the conflict is trying to connect with you. When you stay in the conflict, trust builds. The person learns that they can have issues and that you will stay in the relationship and work through those issues with them. This is what creates safety and a secure attachment.

An important part in building trust is not turning conflict into a win-lose argument or debate. American Idol’s Randy Jackson’s sentiment “He’s in it to win it” doesn’t fly with conflict. Disagreements aren’t about winning; they are about understanding. We aren’t in conflict to win it. Our aim is to understand the other, consider our part, and take responsibility where necessary. This is what creates a win-win outcome.

Finally, when trust is broken, repair is needed. Repair begins with forgiveness. Forgiveness is so important and necessary to move forward. In my opinion, people deserve a second chance and a right to win back trust. We all make mistakes and need a little grace in our lives.


Adapted from We Need To Talk by Linda Mintle, (Baker, 2015)

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