LIFE Marriage Retreats will soon be releasing an online course dedicated to helping couples suffering from eroding or broken trust to rebuild relationship trust to the very highest levels. In anticipation of that release, we will focus on some crucial elements of trust in this blog in the coming weeks.
Trust Is a Matter of Heart and Brain
The breaking of trust is real and it is serious. We all know how awful it feels. The inclination to trust is in our DNA so when that trust is betrayed we feel it deeply in our heart and our gut, but it starts in our brain where, literally, the neural networks and brain regions associated with trust disengage and shut down. Areas of the brain that had formerly been associated with positive emotions and acceptance toward the other person are replaced with animosity, suspicion, and resentment. Can you relate to that, no matter what side of the trust equation you might be on? So don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling to trust again or to earn trust back, it’s a process but as you stay committed to it you can begin celebrating small victories almost immediately.
The good news is that as we take steps to restore trust, those brain patterns I mentioned will gradually return to the positive side and healing of the heart will occur.
Trust Can Be Restored!
Some say trust, once broken, can never be restored. While it is best never to break trust, trust can be restored— and often even enhanced, made stronger than it was before the violations of trust occurred. But here is a crucial key: rebuilding trust cannot be a passive experience for either partner in a committed relationship. Any thought that one partner can just sit back and wait for their spouse to “prove” their trustworthiness will leave the relationship short of the marvelous heights to which trust can be restored when both partners are actively engaged in Rescuing Trust.
The truth is, at our core we want to trust! Yes, sometimes fear of being hurt again, or lingering feelings of resentment or neglect can form a wall of ice around our hearts and we might feel stuck and unable to trust. In our LIFE course on trust we talk about dozens of ways to shine a warm light on your heart and that of your partner that will thaw and heal you, even as your brain relearns to trust and let go of the pain and resentment. While many people do experience overnight miracles, for most it is more of a process to build, or rebuild, lasting trust. But don’t worry, every step of the journey will hold joy as you remain true.
You and your partner were born to be trustworthy, you have that within you! As you grow in your ability to trust and be trusted, every part of your life will be positively impacted. Even your professional life and opportunities to advance in your work will increase; friendships will become more true and supportive; your emotional and physical health will improve, you will discover a deep and satisfying intimacy with your partner, and you will find peace in every aspect of life.
In our next post we will look at how our Thought-Behavior-Emotion cycles play a big role in damaging or restoring trust in our most important relationships.