Building Healthy Relationships By Choosing To Trust. 

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Trust lies at the heart of all healthy, functioning, cohesive relationships, whether that be in business, church, marriage, or families. Trust is at the center of all healthy relationships, and it has to be maintained

We cannot even begin to have healthy relationships until we first choose to trust. 

As a person of faith, I understand trust as a core component of my faith in Jesus. 

Trust is a synonym for the word faith. 

  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1

  • Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. -Jeremiah 17:7

  • Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. - Psalm 9:110

A relationship with Jesus is about trust. We trust Jesus because He is always faithful. He has a proven track record.

Even though the verses we are speaking of trust in God, faith or trust in people at its core is hoping that based on their track record, this person is going to continue to be trustworthy and behave in a consistent manner with what they have modeled to up to this point. 

Yet this doesn't always happen and trust is broken. 

Trust is broken when there is a breakdown in one of the following two areas:  

Character or Competence. 

Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people.

In any relationship, when there is a breakdown in our character, people begin to distance themselves and trust is broken. 

The second breakdown is a breakdown in our competence.  

Competence speaks of your capabilities, skills, results, and track record. 

Both dimensions are vital to establishing trust and keeping trust in a relationship. 

Your great integrity and motives may establish trust with people at first because they see that you are a good person with pure motives but over time if you lack the capabilities, skills, and results needed to maintain that trust, you will lose it on a competency level. 


I've had to fire a guy once that I trusted on a character level but had lost all my trust on a competency level. He had great integrity, but couldn't do the job. 

"You can't talk yourself out of a problem you've behaved yourself in to." - Steven R. Covey

Your behavior always speaks louder than your words. 

This is the same in relationships when it comes to intentions. 

Someone can have great integrity and character but fail us by having good intentions but not following through which erodes trust.

When this happens should we stop trusting people? No, we continue to trust because we are willing to accept the risk, not because it's safe or certain but because we accept the risk by being vulnerable. 

People who trust each other and are vulnerable, learn to be comfortable being open, even exposed, to one another around their failures, weaknesses even fears. 

This is vulnerability-based trust. 

Vulnerability-based trust is based on the simple and practical idea that people who aren't afraid to admit the truth about themselves are not going to engage in the kind of anti-trust behavior that wastes everyone's time and energy and works against establishing real trust. 

What kind of antitrust behavior am I talking about? 

  1. People that conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another

  2. Hesitate to ask for help or ask for constructive feedback

  3. People that jump to conclusions about the intentions and aptitudes of others without attempting to clarify them

  4. People that waste time and energy managing their behaviors to keep themselves guarded.

  5. People that hold grudges

  6. And refuse to forgive


Vulnerability-based trust is difficult for most people yet all healthy relationships are built on trust and must be maintained

To forge healthy relationships, we have to be vulnerable, take risks and give away control of a situation or we will never move on from anti-trust behavior.

 Building relationships that contain a high trust must have a high degree of humility. 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-7

So what are the characteristics of high- trusting people that have trusting relationships? 

High trusting people are OPEN:  


 High Trusting people encourage others to trust them when they are willing to be vulnerable and share our views, thoughts and plans with them. 

For some, this is a challenge, as we may need to overcome a desire to hold back from sharing our personal needs and feelings. 

Openness requires us to talk about things as they are, and in with love. 

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ. - Ephesians 4:15

High trust people are RELIABLE and CONSISTENT. 

People will only trust others if they can depend on us to do what we say we will do week in, week out maintaining our commitment to the relationship.

To maintain trust, we will need to reliably meet the healthy (NOTE THE WORD HEALTHY HERE) expectations the other person has of the relationship, rather than the things we believe we have committed to.

Clarifying these expectations can be important if we are to avoid misunderstanding and a reduction in the trust level. Even simple things like failing to return phone calls or not answering an email can create a perception of unreliability. 

It is much easier to maintain our reliability if we aware of our capability and our priorities. Conflicts on our time and energy are reduced by not over-committing ourselves. Having a clear understanding of our priorities allows us to resolve those situations when we do face conflicts on time and energy. 

At all times, trust needs to be earned. 

Because trust is the emotional glue of all institutions. 

Since trust is the glue to all relationships, this means that one cannot avoid potentially sticky situations. We need to engage in trusting healthy conflict because trust involves personal risk, but by taking these risks, we move to a deeper level of trust.

You know that you are establishing real trust in a relationship when you do not feel any need to be protective or careful around a certain person or group. 

In essence, real trust makes you feel safe. Safe enough to be yourself, which mean being vulnerable. 

When we lack trust, we waste tremendous amounts of time managing our behaviors and interactions with others so we don't get hurt. 

Which leads to more and more dysfunctions in our relationships. 


SO HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?

We take the HIGH TRUST TEST: 

Do you: 

  1. Admit weaknesses and mistakes

  2. Ask for help

  3. Accept questions and input

  4. Give others the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion

  5. Takes risks in offering feedback and assistance

  6. Appreciate and tap into others skills and life experiences

  7. Focus Your time and energy on important issues instead of being guarded.

  8. Offers and accept apologies without hesitation

  9. Look forward to meeting and working with others.

  10. Talk Straight others in a truthful, honest, unfiltered way

  11. Demonstrate Respect

  12. Create an opportunity for transparency

  13. Show loyalty

  14. Deliver Results

  15. Work to get better

  16. Confront the reality of your own past hurts and wounds

  17. Clarify your expectation to others

  18. Practice accountability

  19. Listen first

  20. Keep Commitments

  21. Extend trust by taking relational risks

When you live these out and regularly check your motives, you live a life of high trust and integrity.

A man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts.

KC Cupp