Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Two people cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other’s little failings. Jean De La Bruyere

Trust is essential to our relationships, our government, our companies, our lives. Where trust is high we live in peace and plenty, we work together, we raise families together, and we progress.

There doesn’t seem to be an origin of the “Gentleman’s Agreement.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary P.G. Woodhouse, an English author used the term in his 1929 story collection Mr. Mulliner Speaking. The phrase appears in British Parliamentary records of 1821. It also appears in Massachusetts public records of 1835.

A gentleman’s agreement is an informal agreement in which people trust one another to do what they have promised because of their sense of personal honor.

In 2016 after carefully examining the evidence, the British High Court ruled that a gentleman’s agreement could be legally binding. However, there must have been an intention to create legal relations.

An Associated Press-Gfk poll finds declining levels of trust among Americans. Only a third now say most people can be trusted, down from half in 1972. Are we actually becoming less trustworthy – or are more of us less trusting? Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? If we don’t give trust, we don’t get trust.

Social trust brings benefits to our society: people are more willing to compromise, make deals, and work together. Trust boosts our economy. If there is an area where our trust is put to work every day it is on our roads. We trust the other driver to stay in their lane, to observe the rules of the road and drive as safely as they can so we all arrive where we are going safely. It mostly works.

We’ve always had people in our societies we couldn’t trust. How could we have any commerce if we don’t trust? Do I give you the goods before you pay me? Do you pay me before you get the goods? Someone has to trust someone.

I was at Toastmaster’s one evening and I watched a transaction going down. A young man took a buddy to sell a cell phone. The buyer looked at the cell phone then took off as fast as he could and broke the door to the Community Center in the process.

How could anyone sell anything online without trust? Will reduced face-to-face interaction reduce trust as we aren’t dealing directly with someone? Will the ease of non-face-to-face transactions make our life so much easier we can’t afford to not be trustworthy?

Trust, of course, is very important in our relationships. I recently read about a parent who had a son who got into problems. They said they could not have him living in their home doing drugs. He was welcome to come every Sunday for dinner and bring as many people as he wished for a no judgment hot dinner. They said it was a motley crew they served dinner to many times. Eventually, he changed his ways and one of the things he said that got him through it was he believed he could show up for dinner with his assortment of friends, and they would be fed with big helpings of love, and no sermon.

If because of one’s mistake you lost trust, then no one in the world is trustworthy, including yourself! Unknown

I’m looking at a blog by Jeremy Brown he says. “At some point or another, no matter how wonderful your marriage is or how many bluebirds chirp on your windowsill in the morning, someone will screw up and trust will be broken. It could be something small (watching a show you are both enjoying without your partner or pretending to work late to get out of plans with those friends), or something big (not coming clean about a secret credit card or, gulp, an affair). When something of this nature happens, one of you will need to work to earn the other’s trust back. Sure, groveling can help. But the process of earning someone’s trust back is nuanced and requires thoughtful actions and quite a bit of patience. So how do you rebuild trust? Here are some steps to take.”

Own up to it.

Offering any sort of justification for our actions or minimizing them will only make our spouse shut down and feel doubly hurt.

Be honest.

Keep your promises.

Realize that things might never be the same. We can do our best, but we can’t make our partner forgive us entirely, or forget. If we can be respectful and go into the process of repair with an open heart and mind, and an awareness of all outcomes being for the highest good for both parties it is what we can do.

Accept that earning back trust takes time.

If we are committed to earning back trust we have to be in it for the long haul. If we want someone to forgive us on our timetable we are being selfish. We need to learn to sit with our own shame and not let it destroy ourselves and those we love.

Focus on consistency.

Keep our words and actions consistent. Our spouse’s image of us has been shaken and they are looking for stability wherever they can find it. Doing what we say we are going to do will show we are trustworthy. We should not discount the power of consistency when it comes to rebuilding trust.

Mistakes will happen in our marriage, getting through them is part of having a lasting marriage. If we forgive when it’s our turn we can hope they will forgive us when it is theirs. Have we forgiven when it was our turn to forgive or do we hold onto old hurts?

To regain trust you need to prove how much you love through actions not words. Words fall empty to the person who lost trust in you. Unknown

Rebuilding trust when it’s been broken is not dependent on the person who has broken it, or how many times they can prove they are honest. It depends on the person who has decided not to trust anymore. Though they may be totally justified in their decision not to trust, as long as they choose not to, the relationship has no hope of survival.

When they decide to trust again, there is hope reborn.  Doe Zantamata

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude and love.

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The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything Paperback – Feb 5 2008

by Stephen M.R. Covey (Author), Stephen R. Covey (Foreword), Rebecca R. Merrill (Contributor) 4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews


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