By Michael Fehlauer
The fundamental importance of trust in relationships, and the destruction that happens when that trust is violated became a reality to me several years ago. It’s still a vivid memory; ugly and detailed accusations, followed by denials from me. I lied, got caught and our world crashed.
At this point the details aren’t important. What’s important is I had betrayed the trust of my wife, my family and my friends; as well as the trust of thousands who had put their trust in me. So much was lost. My reputation, my credibility, the vision I believe God had for our lives, and not the least of all, trust. The American Heritage Dictionary defines trust as: Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person.
I had compromised my integrity for selfish pleasure! The question is, what is necessary in restoring trust in relationships, more specifically trust in marriage? want to share just a few behaviors that help to re-establish trust. I am in no way an expert; I’m still working all of this out.
1. Talk straight. Tell the truth and leave the right impression. This involves not only being truthful about the facts, but making sure we leave a truthful impression. In other words, living in the “no spin zone.”
2. Right wrongs. Not every wrong can always be “righted”, but the ones that can, need to be.
3. Own it. Restoring trust in relationships requires both taking responsibility for our actions as well as the consequences. The temptation is to own up to what we did, but not take responsibility for the consequences of our actions. Even if the consequences are unfair, they’re still a result of our failure.
4. Give it plenty of time. Even though it takes only minutes to violate trust, it takes years to rebuild it. It is unfair to those we have hurt to try to speed up the process.
Some will never trust me again, no matter how I live the rest of my life. That’s my fault. But, to live out the rest of our lives in an honorable way has its own eternal rewards.
Michael Fehlauer has been married to Bonnie over 30 years. They have experienced both the height of success and the devastation of failure. As a result, Michael Fehlauer and Bonnie Fehlauer have a strong desire to see the same healing they have experienced happen in the lives of others.