Did a loved one violate your trust?
If so, did it destroy your relationship or was that trust restored?
In a store recently I met a clerk with swollen red eyes, who was choking back tears.
When I asked what was wrong, this woman, about 40 years old, trim with shoulder length brown hair, took a moment to compose herself. Then she told me her story.
She discovered her husband of 12 years had been having an affair.
The couple has a 12 year old daughter and her 16 year old daughter by a prior relationship also lives with them. He has extensive business interests and he provides well for the family but in the past two years, he had become “secretive.”
His secretive behavior made her suspicious, and when she decided he wasn’t being candid with her, she hired a detective and found out about the affair. She confronted him with the evidence and threw him out.
He pleaded with her to forgive him and assured her the affair was over.
He is 20 years older than she is and he told her a breakup of their marriage would damage his retirement accounts and his other business interests. This caused her to question his reasons for wanting to stay married to her.
At this point you may be thinking, a marriage is sanctified by God and must continue. Or you may be saying to yourself, “Get an expensive attorney and teach him a lesson.”
Or perhaps your thought is: she should do what’s in the best interest of her children.
The question she asked me and I’ll raise to you is, “How can I ever trust him again?”
My response was, “You’ve known him for at least 12 years, so you probably know him better than anyone else.” I then asked her, “How can you ever trust him again?”
After a moment of silence, and tears welling up in her reddish, swollen eyes, she whispered, “I can’t.”
Then she stared at me and in a voice loud enough for anyone within 50 feet to hear she said, “But I still love him!” She added, “But how can I ever trust him again?” It was becoming clear she didn’t want the marriage to end.
So I answered her by telling her what troubled companies do to reestablish trust.
It comes in small steps. They start by setting up a workable payment schedule with their creditors and then making each payment on time. No exceptions, no excuses.
They also become outstanding communicators. With employees, creditors, customers, investors and anyone else, each day they explain what they are doing and why. They also cordially make themselves available to answer questions. No secrets, no games.
As time passes, those closest to them can see if they now function honestly and can see how the company is faring. They can also decide if trust is being restored.
If she decides to take him back, I urged her to establish a similar set of guidelines with him, with the emphasis on frequent and candid communication. A day at a time, they can begin to rebuild their trust or it will become apparent that the trust is irreparably damaged.
We all deeply desire to be loved and when our trust is violated by someone dear to us, the pain can be almost unbearable. While our emotions may cause us to want to strike back in anger, if possible it would be better to allow a cooling off period, a time for reflection.
Most of us can forgive our children for hurtful things they may do. We have bonded with them and to drive them out of our lives would be unthinkable. But a spouse can be driven out in a fit of rage, leaving the family in ruins.
There are no perfect people and finding the “perfect relationship” with an imperfect person is a fairy tale. But with a sense of commitment to the relationship, one can try to resolve differences and strive for the depth of love and closeness that we all seek.
Success Tip of the Week:
It would be devastating to learn that a loved one has deceived us. But before we end the relationship, ideally we will offer that person the same opportunity we would desire, the chance to make it right.
In the next KazanToday:
How a man started with little money and became a financial success.