Building trust in a relationship takes work. But all too often we’re tempted to rush into new relationships, trusting someone before we know them. And that means we often hear “I trusted him, but he broke my heart!” Getting to know someone does involve a degree of vulnerability and openness, but we can let our hearts get emotionally attached to someone and place too much trust in them without knowing their feelings and intentions toward us.
Many times, we think we are falling in love with someone when really we are just naively and prematurely placing our trust in someone – and we haven’t yet defined whether the relationship warrants our full trust in the person. Misplaced trust leads to broken hearts. But it also turns our eyes back to God, the One who is worthy of our trust.
Building Trust and Love
Building trust in a relationship and finding love may go hand in hand, but they certainly aren’t the same thing. We often incorrectly define love as the feelings and emotions of passionate attraction to someone; however, it’s a deeper, more intentional perspective and commitment than that.
In addition, we mistakenly think we should automatically trust a person with our heart because of what we feel for them. But you could be setting yourself up for a broken heart by associating your feelings for them as a reason for opening up your heart completely, but prematurely, to them.
In Scripture, we are admonished to love one another as Christ loves us, serve one another, bear with one another – but never does it say, “Trust one another.” Trust must be cultivated. It has to be earned. Aside from emotionally falling in love with someone, you need to also see if they are trustworthy. This involves an evaluation of their intentions and their character – specifically, if they have Christ-like character.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” —Proverbs 3:5-6
How to Know When To Trust In A New Relationship
Not sure where to start building trust with someone you’re newly dating? Use these guidelines to when you begin a new relationship:
- Trust shouldn’t be given on command. Trust should never be commanded from someone. Abusive and unhealthy relationships specialize in this. Credible, mature people will expect that trust has to be earned and built over time – and they will comply with this relational process in a spirit of grace, responsibility, and patience.
- Misplaced trust puts too much pressure on the relationship. Fully trusting someone early on in a relationship puts too much pressure on that relationship. It’s like looking at wedding rings on your first date. Relationships crack under that pressure. Refrain from premature reassurances of, “I trust you, it’s okay.” Communicate about the concerns you have instead of just deferring to the word “trust” as a crutch. Consult with God, who you can fully trust to guide you.
- Build trust in your relationship one step at a time. It’s not wise to open up and share the deepest scars of your past on the first couple of dates. You need to discern whether the person you are dating is sincerely interested in you as a person and whether they have the maturity and grace to accept your past experiences. Eventually, it will be appropriate for you to be more vulnerable as the relationship becomes more solidified. And with that vulnerability and the corresponding reassurance you feel from that person, you’ll enter into more accountability and trust with each other.
- Make God your refuge, not the other person. According to Scriptural definition of trust, to fully trust someone really means to make them your refuge. We have to be careful not to make the person we love into an infallible place of refuge. There will be mistakes and times when we fail each other and need to forgive each other. This is why ultimately, for Christians, God is the one we turn to in complete trust and surrender.
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” —Proverbs 62:8
We may need to walk more cautiously in our newest relationships, and take more time to get to know someone. Trust can’t just appear – building trust in a relationship is something that has to happen bit by bit.
Of course, with God, we can turn to Him in trust time and again, for He is our refuge.God gives us the wisdom, strength and perspective in our relationships to learn to love and trust appropriately.
You may also be interested in Trust God’s Plan to Find Your Way in Times of Uncertainty