Trust is Different than Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not mean that all trust has been restored in our relationship. Forgiveness and trust are not the same. Trust requires evidence, forgiveness does not. We might forgive our spouse for past transgressions, but we may still wonder if we trust him when he says, “I need to work late tonight at the office.” Trusting our loved ones may take more time than forgiving them.

Trust Requires Evidence

 It might be easier to think of forgiveness in terms of a measuring cup. We can forgive 1/4 of a cup right now, and we will continue to work on forgiving more. Maybe months later, after more trust has developed, we might be able to forgive 1/2 of a cup. We should realize that it is okay to be where we are on the forgiveness measurement scale, keeping in mind that it is okay if we never completely get to a full cup. Trust is different than forgiveness since we need evidence that our loved one is changing and attempting to do life differently.

Building Trust Requires Honesty

Building trust requires honesty from our loved ones. We can actually work with our loved ones when they are honest, because we have needed information, even though it is difficult. With honesty we know where they are in their recovery. We know the emotions they are experiencing and feeling because they are sharing. Emotional honesty from loved ones builds trust because it creates emotional safety even though it may be difficult to hear about their behaviors. When loved ones share emotions voluntarily, we don’t have to ask as many questions, pull information out, or feel like we are begging for a relationship. One wife said, “It is so hard to hear that my husband has acted out again, but I would rather hear and know what I am dealing with rather than be blindsided later on.”

© 2005 Rod W. Jeppsen