The foundational quality of all relationships is trust.

When it has been broken or damaged, it can and needs to be repaired quickly and completely. And since none of us is perfect, breakdowns in trust are all but inevitable. But here’s the good news: nearly all breakdowns in trust can be repaired and even enhanced their pre=breakdown levels.

For those who would like a starter kit, here are a few guidelines:

  • Acknowledge to your partner that you have a concern and ask if they are open to discussing it either now or at another time
  • When the two of you do sit down together, thank your partner for their willingness to address your concern.
  • Speak and listen from a feeling perspective without blame of defensiveness.
  • Speak in terms of your own concerns, needs, hopes and intention for the conversation, without blame or accusations of your partner.
  • Accept responsibility, for your part in the breakdown.
  • Let your partner know what would be helpful for you to hear from them that that might help to restore a higher level of mutual trust.
  • Invite your partner to share their perspective with you and thank them when they have done so.
  • Listen attentively to your partner to your partner when they speak to you and try to stay focused on the situation that activated the breakdown in trust.
  • Be willing to apologize when you deem it appropriate without demanding that they do the same.
  • Practice forgiveness when you feel the need for it.
  • When you feel that there has been some progress in the repair process bring the conversation to a close and express gratitude to your partner for joining you in the conversation.

Most breakdowns in trust require multiple conversations to repair the damage that a breakdown in trust causes. Keep in mind that this is just a starter kit. Most relationships bring multiple opportunities to practice committed listening and respectful speaking, both of which are essential in the process of trust-building and trust repair. It does take work, but it’s a labor of love and it’s worth it!


See the original blog on Mindy McGinnia’s blog site!