When I hear the word trust, I can’t help but think of Robert DeNiro’s character, Jack, in Meet the Parents. An ex-C.I.A. agent, he is obsessed with making sure his future son-in-law, Greg, is trustworthy. You’re either in Jack’s circle of trust, or you’re not.
Short of becoming obsessed by spying on potential partners – like checking their Facebook feeds more than we check our own, hacking into their emails, checking their smart phones – how do you know when it’s time to let someone inside your own circle of trust?
How do you arrive at the place where you have absolute trust and faith in your partner? Hint: Spying is not the answer!
Then how? If the person has done nothing for you to question their trustworthiness, perhaps you should be obligated to trust them – to look for the good in them – not the evil. Then again, evil doesn’t announce itself with a big sign.
In my novel, The Art of Being Rebekkah, my main character, Rebekkah, loses trust in her husband Avram when she discovers lies and deceit so malicious she can no longer live with him. Was there something defective about Rebekkah because she trusted him? No, absolutely not. Avram was a master manipulator, a liar who had his own interests at heart, never hers – although he did a great job at pretending.
What does it take for a casual relationship to grow into an intimate, committed one? What does it take to have absolute faith and trust in a person for all of time? Well the answer is just that: time. I like to think of growing a relationship as peeling layers away, step by step, each layer revealing more and more about a person’s likes, dislikes, political views, religious views, dogs vs. cats, favorite baseball team. You know, the important things.
It’s hard not to carry past hurts from old relationships into new ones. When Rebekkah meets Nick, the man she eventually falls in love with, she must learn how to start anew, and not carry her failed marriage into her life with Nick.
She realizes that what Avram did has nothing to do with Nick. For his part, Nick makes himself an open book, transparent. There is nothing Rebbekah can’t ask him, or see for herself. And Nick accepts her for who she is at any given moment. He treasures her heart, he trusts her, he has faith in her. He opens himself up, knowing she can reject him, in turn, making it easy for her to eventually trust him, and have faith in him.
Of course you can be intimate with someone without all that trust and faith stuff; you can let anyone in your inner circle if you want to. But if you’re looking for commitment, connection, love, and a true relationship, is that the best way to find it? Probably not. Once you’ve given yourself in the most intimate way you can to someone, where is there to go? What do you have to aspire to? Are you really going to care now that that person’s favorite color is red, or that their favorite dog is a Beagle?
It’s a process, I think, faith and trust. A journey. Each stone we step on in that journey brings us closer to having that perfect connection with someone. At the end of the day, what better feeling is there than to cuddle up on the couch with a person who totally gets you, understands you, and loves you even when they don’t get you at all. Someone, with whom your heart can sigh, I’m home, I belong here.