Four Steps To Repairing Trust

Trust Trust is often one of those things folks often don't realize the value of until it's gone. If you've ever betrayed someone's trust before, you know it's not easy to get back, should they give you the opportunity to do so in the first place.

In his book, Communication Miracles for Couples, Jonathan Robinson discusses how to handle broken promises that lead to damaged trust. He uses an approach called RARE, that will help you and your partner heal the pain and build that trust once again.

Responsibility

Taking full responsibility for what you did gets your partner to open up enough to listen to you and sets the stage for you to have an open dialogue about what to do next.

"Taking responsibility means you now have an ability to respond to what happened [response-ability]."

Apologize

A sincere apology let's your partner know that you're not proud of what you did and your intention [albeit selfish] was not to hurt them.

"Apologize for both the broken promise and the hurt that it caused. It won't cost you anything, and yet it will make a world of difference."

Request for information

It's important to get clear on what exactly it is your partner needs from you at this point. Not everyone reacts to damaged trust the same way, so asking your partner what they want from you or what you can do to make them feel better will go a long way.

"Listen carefully to your partner's response and do what you can to satisfy any request they have of you."

Entrust

Taking responsibility, apologizing and requesting what you can do for your partner doesn't mean much if you end up doing the same thing that got you into the mess in the first place, right? Take this opportunity to create a new agreement you're actually going to keep.

"The dictionary defines entrust as 'to commit to another with confidence'...When you proclaim a new promise, it makes a statement to yourself and to your partner that you really want to change."