Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trust: Relationship Maker or Breaker

“Look, in my opinion the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what-have-you. The right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your [behind]. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with”

–Mac MacGuff, father of Juno, from the movie Juno (2007). [1]

The ‘kind of person worth sticking with’... someone who trusts us, and allows us to trust them. Can there be one attribute in human relationships more important than trust? It seems to me, more than love--in fact trust as love--puts trust as pivotally crucial in familial, and especially spousal, relationships.

In a parenting course I’m doing presently with my wife, we learned of the ‘father’s mandate’ i.e. “to develop a relationship of trust with his children.”[2] Now, there were some humbling truths to attend to in this session, and no less, some guilt for past wrongs in acts that have damaged the trust aspect. And any father learning this feels the same way, because no one is perfect.

But let’s broaden the concept of trust out to all close, inter-reliant relationships. For I think trust is the key that unlocks the door to success in rightly relating with someone (anyone) close.

Can it be any more an intrinsic partnership, say with a spouse or business partner, where there is a genuine interdependent exchange of the “Golden Rule,” of trusting the other as we’d want to be trusted?

And the flipside of this story is all relationships in trouble probably have a strong element of distrust about them. The relationship that’s about to implode or already has would reveal trust at an all-time low.

Going back to the MacGuff quote, it seems to me that many people go on for several years struggling to have even a basic level of happiness with their partners; there’s too little compromise and too much dysfunctional communication, and this possibly reveals not enough love. We can’t have things our own way all the time; life just doesn’t work like that.

After all, love is a verb--it is better defined by what we do and not simply by what we think or feel; and trust (based out of love) needs to be practically outworked. We best trust people through action.

And those who’ve worked hard at their relationships over the years testify; they do eventually get there and they somehow learn to trust and they make it a tangible, daily skill in their relationships.

So, what will it be? Shall we work on trust by trusting, and therefore enrich all our lives, or shall we let a lack of trust erode what little trust there currently might be? Hard choice, not!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] Juno (2007) Quotes, retrieved 2 May, 2009. http://www.junoquotes.com/
[2] Gary & Anne Marie Ezzo, Let the Children Come Along the Virtuous Way: Growing Kids God’s Way (Happy Valley, South Australia: Growing Families Australia, 2002), p. 69. The full father’s mandate is: “To rightly reflect the truth of God and to develop a relationship of trust with his children based on that truth.”

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