Is Forgiveness Synonymous With Trust?

Is Forgiveness Synonymous with Trust?

When someone you love or care about has deeply hurt you, it can be a complicated process restoring everything you once had back to what it used to be. Contrary to what many people think, complete reconciliation doesn’t come with these three words: I forgive you. Forgiveness is but a step in the process of restoring a relationship that has been broken by betrayal. Forgiving someone does not mean you immediately need to completely trust him or forget what happened. Here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between trust and forgiveness:

Forgiveness and Trust Are NOT One and the Same

Simply put, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It sets you free from the bitterness and hurt you’re feeling inside. All the pain you keep in your heart that almost feels tangible will be lifted and will evaporate once you decide to forgive.  

Forgiveness is a solo endeavor. It’s something you have to work through independent of the other party. For instance, you can forgive someone who you may never see again or someone who has passed away. While a genuine apology can make forgiveness easier, your choice to forgive should not be predicated on what the other person does or does not do.

Trust is not the same as forgiveness. Trust requires consistent trustworthy action in order for trust  to be restored. While forgiveness is a part of that rebuilding process, granting forgiveness does not mean you’re granting trust, too.

If you’re the person who broke the trust, you may think that once you’ve been forgiven, things can go back to the way they were. This is not true and you should not expect this, as doing so will prolong the reconciliation process. The person who chooses to forgive you gets to set boundaries and then decide when to grant trust based on your consequent actions and if you prove you’re trustworthy.

Forgiveness is Given Freely While Trust Has to Be Earned

When you decide to forgive, you’re not letting the offender off the hook. You’re not all of a sudden alleviating the person of his accountability and responsibility toward the situation. Once again, forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person. It shouldn’t even be based on the other person’s actions. You can still choose to forgive even if the person who hurt you is not remorseful or does not want to change.

However, if you’re offering forgiveness and want to reconcile (and therefore offer trust) as the next step, you should expect the other person to show that he’s worthy of trust and reconciliation. Forgiving shouldn’t change anything when it comes to the behavior you now expect from the offender. It’s just as important for the forgiver to understand this as for the person you’re forgiving, so that more misunderstandings (like the offender thinking he doesn’t need to follow boundaries because he’s been forgiven) don’t take place.

Reconciling with someone, which is completely separate from forgiving someone, is a much more complicated and grueling process. Why? It requires participation and a willingness to change on the part of the offender. Earning trust moves beyond forgiveness. It’s an interpersonal process—a joint venture that requires the offender to apologize, to show he’s sorry, and to offer hope that there can be a future for both of you again. Sometimes, however, trust and reconciliation aren’t possible. If the two of you can’t find a way to work through the hurt and betrayal and simply can’t get along, you may have to accept that reconciliation won’t happen. But remember that forgiveness is always, always possible.

Forgiveness and Trust Are Both Processes that Take Time

Forgiveness is an internal and unilateral process that will be successful as you seek to do the following:

  • Gain a clear understanding of what happened
  • Seek to understand the perspective of the other person
  • Be open to the possibility of shared accountability for the painful incident
  • Work through the hurt and anger
  • Learn how to feel safe again
  • Let go of the grudge and let the memory heal
  • Be willing to remember the past with compassion and hope instead of with a sense of injustice

This is not always an easy process, and the timeline for forgiveness can vary. It helps to remember that forgiveness is not generally an event that happens at one time, in one place, or in one moment. Forgiveness is a process, which means you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you can’t forgive someone right away, even if you want to.

One key to remember: A willingness to forgive is enough in the beginning. Cultivate that willingness and desire and forgiveness will come.

Once again, forgiveness should not be based on the offender’s actions but on your own attitude and your willingness to see that forgiveness will set you free. Holding onto the grudge isn’t punishing the offender, even though it may feel like being mad at him is a sort of revenge. “Getting back” at someone by refusing to forgive does nothing to set things right. It only makes life harder for you.

While forgiveness should be offered freely, trust might be offered at a more measured pace. Rebuilding trust, which is a part of the reconciliation process, takes the two of you. You need to talk about what happened, listen to one another’s perspectives, express your feelings, be willing to commit to find trust and trustworthiness again. It’s a process that can take some time, but that time can be filled with joy and learning. You can still love one-another and find mutual support and connection together. And even though trust has been violated in one area does not mean you can’t find other areas where trust remains strong. Celebrate those things even as you work on restoring the other.

Never withhold trust inapporpriately. Recognize the growth of your partner, don’t hold them in their smallness. Seek to trust sooner rather than later. Show that you’ve truly forgiven him by not throwing what happened back in his face every time you’re feeling hurt. You need to let yourself create a new way of remembering what happened—a way that allows you to change the memory of the past into a hope for the future that has both of you in it.

Here is the true payoff: Research by Doctor Robert Enright shows that as we find forgiveness for our partner (and they for us) true love and care grows stronger than it was before the offense occurred. This is how we refine ourselves and our marriages into gold.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201303/forgiveness-vs-reconciliation

http://refineus.org/forgiveness-and-trust/

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

https://internationalforgiveness.com/

 

Learning to Validate and Support

LMR8At a LIFE couples retreat you learn to love your spouse better. Two of the best ways to show love to your spouse and create a healthy relationship is to validate and support them.

Validating and supporting does not necessarily mean agreeing with or conceding to him or her, but it does mean trying to understand why your partner feels and acts a certain way.

Validation is often verbally communicated. For example, if you have just arrived late and your partner is upset, you should verbally admit that you were late, apologize, and recognize his or her anxiety or feelings about the situation. This shows that you care about your partner’s feelings and time.

Physically, validation can be communicated through intimacy or a reassuring touch. Repeatedly rejecting your partner’s physical advances actually affects you chemically, causing distancing and sometimes resentment. Instead, validate your partner’s physical needs and presence by responding happily and encouraging your physical connection.

Support has similar verbal and physical cues that make a big difference. Frequently tell your partner how much his or her efforts mean to you, congratulate accomplishments, and stand up for him or her in front of family or friends.

To physically show support you might hold hands in distressing (or normal) situations. You might also keep a hand on your partner’s back or arm while in public.

All relationships require encouragement and time to make progress. And like anything worth having, good marriages don’t just happen.

When you attend a LIFE small group Marriage Retreat or a LIFE private Marriage Retreat you will learn skills like validation and support to grow in your marriage. A couples retreat is one of many marriage retreat ideas that can rekindle romance and interest in your marriage.

Even if you think there is little hope for your marriage, you can find lasting change, peace, and growth that will help you and your partner feel accepted and worthy of trust, love, loyalty, and time. Contact us today to schedule a LIFE Marriage Retreat.

Rediscover the Magic with LIFE Marriage Retreats

LMR7On your wedding day, you walked down that aisle with a rosy vision of your future together. But somewhere along the way, that vision seemed to get a little lost. Are you and your spouse ready to rediscover the magic you once had?

There are many marriage retreats in San Antonio, but it is important to choose the right one for your marriage. No matter where your relationship is today, it is the perfect place to begin a new journey toward lasting, positive change — LIFE Marriage Retreats can guide the way.

At a LIFE marriage retreat, couples find healing, renewed trust, and the highest level of communication they have ever experienced. Any committed couple looking to take their marriage to a higher level of love, trust, and effectiveness can benefit from a LIFE Training Retreat.

If you’re ready to feel more connected to your partner, develop trust and communication, or simply want to be happier in your relationship, LIFE Marriage Retreats can help.

While all of the Retreats we offer are in beautiful locations, LIFE Marriage Retreats in Texas have a specific ambiance. The lake setting in the Texas Hill Country is more than just a beautiful geographic location. Here, you might take long walks through peaceful woods with your loved one, or spot wildlife among the hills. In a beautiful lake house, you can connect with nature and your spouse.

Retreats are available for small groups or as private one-on-one retreats. The retreat offers a constructive combination of training, private sessions, experiential activities, and free time. To ensure positive group dynamics, as well as maximum personal attention, attendance is limited.

The retreat’s all-inclusive pricing includes private bed and bath suite accommodations, all meals, training, private sessions, all activities, and post-retreat support to ensure lasting, positive change.

You married this person for a reason. Now is the time to make a positive change for your marriage. If you’re looking for marriage retreats in San Antonio, choose LIFE Marriage Retreats.

Reasons Why LIFE Marriage Retreats Work

LMR6A new study reveals startling statistics about divorce in the U.S. According to the Minnesota Population Center, divorce rates are higher than previously imagined among older people. Baby boomers who are on their second or third marriages are divorcing at a high rate. However, “two thirds of divorces can be prevented with education and intervention.”1

Where will you be educated? What intervention will make the difference in your relationship?

LIFE Marriage Retreats—as opposed to other marriage retreats in Dallas, Texas—offers comprehensive marriage retreats to help couples create lasting change and a lifetime of growth.

LIFE helps couples achieve their marriage objectives by being dedicated to these Training Retreat principles:

   •             Time

•             Place

•             Learning

•             Support

•             Commitment

The four-day format provides couples with the focused time needed to reconnect and to begin using the principles and skills being learned. The location and environment are also crucial to fostering an atmosphere where healing occurs, trust grows, and communication flourishes. In our beautiful locations you will experience a sense of harmony and feel peace and connection come into your lives and relationship.

But no matter how beautiful the locale, the couple’s success will depend upon what is being taught and the processes used. Participants will discover, learn, and internalize the principles and skills that define every successful relationship, delivered through the finest curriculum and innovative experiential training techniques that allow the couple to experience and practice the principles and skills on a hands-on level

Plus, LIFE offers ongoing support, first through personal support in private sessions during the retreat, then through post-retreat coaching that helps ensure continued accountability, permanent change, and ongoing relationship growth. The couple’s dedication combined with LIFE’s support leads to a lasting commitment to the relationship in the long-term.

If you are looking for marriage retreats in Dallas, check out LIFE Marriage Retreats close by.

 

Resources:

1 Minnesota Population Center http://guidedoc.com/does-marriage-counseling-work-statistics-facts