What makes a healthy trusting relationship?
Not just between husband and wife, but with family members and friends, too.
Rev and I talked about this recently and determined that we believe trust is essential in all healthy relationships. So, we made a list of things we believe are important to maintain the trust that is given easily at first and more hesitantly after you’ve been lied to, hurt, or betrayed.
You may feel like you lost the ability to trust easily long ago. Maybe your parents, a family member, or a friend were anything but faithful. Truthfully, very few of us grow up without experiences that leave us with some trust baggage.
But there’s hope. We just need to know the ingredients that make people trustworthy. Things we want to see in others and that they want to see in us. Things that will strengthen our marriages and friendships. Things we want our children to know now and apply throughout their lives.
8 Important Qualities of
Healthy Trusting Relationships
1. Be Someone Who Keeps Promises
Promise – a statement telling someone that you will definitely do (or not do) something now or in the future.
Big promises and little promises, if you make a promise do absolutely everything within your power to keep that promise. No excuses! Make sure . . . Every Promise Made is a Promise Kept!
It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.Ecclesiastes 5:5
2. Be Open and Honest – Tell the Truth
Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Tell the truth and avoid secrets.
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truthProverbs 12:22
3. Be Slow to Get Angry – Pause and Breathe
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I angry? Look at the situation factually and honestly.
- Is something else bothering me? (I don’t feel well. The kids are driving me crazy. Work is overwhelming. I’m exhausted. I’m cranky.)
- Is something else bothering or upsetting the other person?
- Will talking about it make it better? If not let it go.
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.James 1:19b–20
4. Be Humble, Kind, and Forgiving
Be quick to ask for forgiveness when you’re wrong and quick to give forgiveness when you’ve been wronged.
Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.Ephesians 4:32
5. Be a Person of Integrity – Consistent and Reliable
Be someone your friends and family can count on to consistently show care and kindness. Be careful with your words. Never speak negatively about your family or your friends. Don’t gossip. Don’t complain about your spouse, children, or friends to someone else, if you have a problem go to the person involved.
As Rev would say, “That’s downright Biblical.” (Matthew 18:15–19)
“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.
6. Be Someone Who Sets Wise Boundaries
Set your personal boundaries well inside a safe zone. Avoid situations that might threaten your relationship or make a loved one uncomfortable. If you think you’d have to defend or explain it . . . don’t do it. Be the person your friends and family trust because you’ve never given them a reason to doubt you.
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.Ephesians 5:15
7. Be Quick to Affirm and Slow to Criticise
Say “please and thank you” often. Give tons of affirmation and appreciation, and keep complaints to a minimum. And remember, you don’t have to say every negative thing you think . . . avoid sarcasm and scorchers. It’s worth a bloody tongue to avoid saying something you’ll regret or that will hang in the air for years to come.
When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.Ephesians 4:29 (NCV)
8. Be Someone Who Puts God First – Grow in Faith
Worship, pray and study the Bible together. Talk about your faith and the way God is working in your life. It will strengthen you personally and bless your relationships!
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
A Prayer to Have Healthy
Father, thank you for creating us for relationships with You and with one another. You have given us everything we need to love each other well but we are sinful and selfish and hurt each other again and again. Please forgive us. Please forgive me.
Please help me forgive the people who have hurt me. Give me the courage to trust again and the willingness to follow Your Word’s wise counsel. Please help me control my anger and my words. Help me to keep my promises and help me to be open and honest, humble and kind. By Your grace, help my words and actions inspire the people around me to want these qualities as well.
By the power of Your Spirit, fill my heart with Your love and make me more like Jesus. In whose name, I pray. Amen.
One more thing to remember…
It is possible to do every one of the ten things faithfully and have the other person completely blow apart your relationship. Sadly, yes. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people.
This list is a goal. No one is able to do these things perfectly 100% of the time. But I believe they are worth the effort and that with the Lord’s help . . . everything is possible.
You and I can work on ourselves, but maybe presenting this list and talking about it with those closest to us will help them want to do what’s necessary to have healthy trusting relationships too.
What do you believe is the most important quality listed above?
May God bless you with healthy trusting relationships!
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