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« Donate your Motorhome for Paradise Camp Fire Victims | Main | Stage Two : Caution »

Stage Three: Consistency

Consistency is the stage where trust is made. There is no shortcut and no test available to learn whether the person you are dating is worthy of your trust. Trust must be developed through consistent behaviors that create safety and security in the relationship. When you break someone’s trust, you bring insecurity into the relationship. You must repair immediately and discontinue the behavior. However, after repair you may feel that the relationship has taken a step backwards to stage two again. Why?

There's a unique relationship that we need to understand about forgiveness and trust. In couple relationships, the one who breaks trust may experience that their offense is forever held against them even after they repair and have been forgiven. What they don’t understand is that trust must be earned. Forgiveness may be given, but trust cannot be given. Forgiveness is needed before someone can start to trust again because forgiveness is the beginning point of building trust. Without forgiveness trust cannot be rebuilt.

Consistency in behavior is not only about earning someone’s trust after you have broken it. Consistent behavior through time will show you the person’s “true color,” so to speak. Ask yourself, "What does this person's actions tell me? Does it give me the green light to trust or does it give me pause to reconsider?" Don't rush further into the relationship until you’ve seen consistent behaviors when with friends, family, at work and other contexts. In other words, this person needs to have integrity in the public arena and in private with you. Through their consistent behaviors, you will know whether you can trust a little more each time.