I’m walking through how to make an effective apology in order to restore a broken relationship. We are imagining that I have betrayed you, my reader, and asking; What do you need from me to set things right? Today I’m looking at how to rebuild trust.
Here are four things I bet you want to see. You want me to:
- Admit the Offense
- Express Sorrow
- Ask for forgiveness
- Rebuild Trust
Here are three more ideas on how to rebuild trust:
- Ask your friend what they need to for you to rebuild trust. In bridge terms, ask them what kind of bridge they need for you to build; a rope bridge, a covered bridge or a super structure with lights and video cameras. It’s important to agree on the bridge that needs building. It should be fair to both people.
Some people ask for a super structure when only a rope bridge is necessary. They are hurt and unreasonable. Others ask for a super structure with no intention of ever crossing the bridge. They just want to punish you. And some act like trust is no big deal but they are in denial. They are afraid to admit that trust needs rebuilding. So before you launch into a ten-year reconstruction project make sure you both sign off on the project.
- Follow through on what you committed to do. Up to now it’s been all words. If you don’t follow through then your words are a joke and they will make things worse for you.
- Give your friend the time and space they need to trust you again without insisting on it and trying to intimidate or guilt them into it.
At some point in time the bridge of trust will be built. At that time the responsibility shifts from you to your friend. They will have to decide if they are willing to walk across the bridge and resume the intimacy of your relationship. But you are fully at their mercy. Sometimes people choose not to cross the bridge out of hurt, anger or fear. You should know that and be mentally prepared for that otherwise you will put too much pressure on them.
Now, the temptation on all four of these points is to cut corners. Like I’ve said, people rarely understand the depth of how much hurt they caused and so they are quick to pick up with the relationship before trust has been built. But if you really want to restore the relationship…you generally need to do more not less.
This all takes great amounts of humility, patience and self-control. But here’s the good news. God wants to give you whatever you need to make things right. So just keep talking to God and asking him for help to rebuild trust. He will give you what you need.
Reconciliation is worth it. Do what it takes. Spend the time and the energy. You’ll be glad you did.
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Question: What do YOU need people to do to rebuild your trust? Leave your comment below.