Trust and the Healthy Family

trust of a childOne time I heard a man I knew say to his wife “I don’t trust you. But don’t take it personally; I don’t trust anyone.”

What made his statement particularly bizarre was that this same man expected trust from everyone else—his employees, his business associates, his creditors, and yes, his wife.

The fact is you need people to trust you to order a meal in a restaurant, to have a credit card or a driver’s license or even to be out in public. You can’t get on in life without others trusting you.

But neither can you get on in life without trusting others too. You trust your employer will pay you. You trust the driver of the car arriving at the stop sign will stop and not run into you.

How does trust develop? The fact is you started off in life in a state of trust.

You had an implicit trust in your parents on whom you were totally dependent for nourishment, love and safety. As you grew more independent, you internalized the trust your parents gave you and began to trust yourself. With good parenting and a bit of luck you grew up to trust yourself and to trust others.

The key to trusting others lies in trusting yourself. Can you trust yourself to walk away when you haven’t been treated well, to keep a cool head under pressure, and to seek assistance when you get stuck? If “yes,” then you can trust others easily.

I personally have a rule of thumb about trusting. I assume everyone I come in contact with can be trusted. If 3% of the people I meet are untrustworthy, I’ll be wrong 3% of the time.

The man who said he doesn’t trust anyone, on the other hand, will be wrong 97% of the time. Without radical change in his outlook, he may well end up isolated, lonely and miserable

Trusting everyone doesn’t mean you have to be stupid or gullible. Don’t give return business to someone who has overcharged you. And don’t look for a marriage partner in a bar. Don’t depend on friends for a ride home if they are drinking.

The origins of inability to trust are usually found in childhood. Children who have been abused, betrayed, abandoned or put in danger often have big trust issues as adults.

Difficulty trusting yourself and others can create havoc in relationships. It may lead to an inability to commit, fear of intimacy or promiscuity. Major trust issues can evolve into suspiciousness, jealousy, stalking, spousal assault and even murder.

The inability to trust can lead to terrible parenting and huge conflicts with your children, especially as they move through adolescence. Young people need parents who trust themselves, knowing that they imparted to their children good attitudes and self-care skills. They need their parents to trust that they will survive and learn from their inevitable mistakes.

So if you find yourself having difficulty with trust, recognize it for the serious emotional and spiritual disability that it is and get appropriate help. Trust is a key to a fulfilling life.

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Divorce Replaces Death as Marriage Ender

Dr. Neill Neill

Marriage CeremonyI have been married well over 50 years, but not all to the same woman. Yes, I have been divorced twice. If you are thinking, “He must really like being married,” you would be right. I do. When a marriage is working, it is the best place on earth. But when it is failing, it can be an incredibly lonely place.

Eileen is my third wife and we have been together 30+ years. She was married before. Her first husband has been married twice more, each time to a woman who had been previously married. My first wife married again and my second wife married twice more. Their husbands had all been married before.

Now, turn the clock back 150 years or so.

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The Healthy Marriage: Discover the Single Biggest Secret to a Pollution-Free Marriage

Is it possible to have a marriage relationship unpolluted by criticism?

Answer: Yes.

Could a relationship without criticism be healthy?

Answer: Yes. (One of them would not have to be dead, as an uncle suggested to me when I was entering my first adult relationship.)

Could you express your emotions and strongly disagree about something and yet still not criticize?

Answer: Yes.

The Upward Spiral of Communion

When you first meet someone, you talk, you get to know each other, you find you like each other, and you both want to talk more. Communication, knowledge and affection lead to a deep connection between you, so I call the process “the upward spiral of communion.” You are connecting at the heart, mind and spirit level. There can be no criticism.

If he or she were to criticize you early in your relationship, it would break the connection and you would part. If you were to feel critical, you would just leave with a silent “I don’t need this.”

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Marriage: Seven Questions to Consider in Choosing your Ideal Marriage Partner

Choosing well is the foundation for a goodmarriage. Yet choosing is one of the most neglected pieces of the process of meeting, bonding, marrying, living life together and possibly having children. Choose well: the good and bad outcomes of your choice will shape your life, whether a first or [tag-tec]second marriage, a Christian marriage, a common-law marriage, a mixed-race marriage or a same-sex marriage.

1.           Can you accept each other as you are, warts and all? You can’t change another person and you have absolutely no right to try to change your spouse. At the same time don’t promise to change if your potential partner can’t accept you as you are.  

This in no way means that you have to be the same.  Acceptance of yourself and each other can accommodate wide differences between you.

Acceptance is the most basic issue. If you can’t accept the reality of each other, walk.

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