What’s Trust Got To Do With It?

Article is by C.J Npowa

If you happen to be in a relationship or have been in a relationship, you know that no relationship can survive without this fundamental, vital, unavoidable thing called “TRUST”. Below is my definition of the word T.R.U.S.T (Yes, I came up with it all by myself)


Whether in a relationship between a newborn and a dad, brothers and sisters, childhood friends, mentor- mentee, employer- employee, bank-customers, you name it!  If it involves people interacting with each other, trust is required to achieve and maintain a sane, mutually satisfying relationship. Without it, nothing positive can be accomplished. Without it, most relationships are doomed to failure.

In order to have trust, it is crucial to have the right foundation. Foundation is like that which holds any house together. I am no builder but one thing I know for sure is that no house can escape setting that foundation. But most importantly, what we must realize is that no two foundations are the same.

What do I mean by that? What defines the foundation of one relationship is not necessarily what is needed in another relationship.

For instance, in a Father-daughter relationship, the foundation for trust can take root from great moments of communicating with each other and the daughter grows up to know that she can count on her dad to always help her talk things out.

Similarly, in a mother-son relationship, the foundation for trust can be established over years of mom quietly opening the door when her son comes home past his curfew. He knows he can count on her.

In one couple’s dynamic, the trust can come from the husband knowing that no matter what, his wife will support him; While in another couple, the man can take confidence in knowing that he can always count on his wife to tell him where he’s gone wrong without fear of reprisal.

The basis for trust in any of these instances can be implicit or explicit, meaning the concerned have sat and defined exactly what will cause them to trust or not trust each other:  whether it is a covenant never to betray a secret, to always be there for one another, to never leave, to always provide, to never cheat, to do the job right etc…

One thing that we do notice in all these scenarios is that it is a two-way street. Both parties need to understand the expectations, sign on the dotted line and agree to abide by the rules.

Now, having said all that, it is a fact nowadays that a lot of couples are in distress for lack of trust. They may have started the relationship on the wrong foot and never gained trust in each other. They may also have had a good start, but somewhere along the line, something happened that caused the trust to be broken. One thing for sure, when the relationship is fully engaged, trust can be built from the get-go in less time than it will take to restore it once it is broken. Psychologists may even tell you that the path to restoration may take you just as long as the length of the relationship thus far, meaning that if you’ve been in the relationship for 5 years, expect that it will take 5 years to restore the broken trust. And I’m talking about both sides. The restoration business is a vicious revolving door. If you don’t understand that, you may never get away from it.

One mistake, we women often make, is thinking that we are the only ones whose trust has been broken in a relationship; especially if the issue of infidelity is on the table. When women enter a relationship, they expect 2 things from the man: that he will provide for their family and that he will be faithful.  Of the two, the first is always more important to a woman than the first. Why is that? Simple. To be a provider for a man should be like (given normal conditions) flower springing up in the spring, trees producing fruits, the sky pouring down rain in due season…it is his GODLY ASSIGNMENT as a man. Therefore it is expected and that it is considered proof that he is a MAN.

1 Timothy 5:8 “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

But the second expectation is proof of HIS love towards HIS woman, she knows that this is HER man!  He has forsaken all others for her and cherishes her above all others, essentially it validates who she is in the relationship and who he is towards her. When that is broken and betrayal takes places, it is worse than a man not providing, because a woman will stick by her man even if he can’t provide as long as he remains faithful to her.

Men, when that happens, a woman loses all sense of her place in your life. And because she does not know who she is, she can no longer recognize who you are; and she can no longer fulfill her calling as your help-mate.

That brings me to how trust is often broken for a man in a relationship. Ladies, just as you have expectations, so do men. They also expect two major things: that his woman will care for and nurture the family, household or anything he entrusts her with and that she will respect him.  Now, I don’t cite faithfulness for women because men intrinsically expect women to be faithful.

Again, of the two items, the second one is more important (and this is my humble opinion based on personal and relational experiences). Because the Lord God created Man first, gave him dominion which he handed over to Satan after listening to his wife, I believe that since then Man has decided that he will no longer listen to women and she will have to respect him! (mild chuckle). But seriously though, it was God’s will that a woman should respect her man.  He said that because he knew what he deposited in men that would make him crave that respect…Just as God said Man should love his wife, the wife of his youth…

Ephesians 5:33 “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Again, the first one is God’s ordained responsibility for a woman…to be a helpmate (no tomatoes please:). What is a helpmate, you will ask me? A helpmate, whether in a household, workplace, or in any setting of your choice, is the one that cares for and nurture that which the master of the place has acquired and entrusted her with. What does that mean? That means, when God created Adam and put him in charge of the garden, God realized that Adam needed help with his burden. He needed help to maintain the garden, care for the animals, nurture what was his and YES, to help him release the tension (by doing you know what….).  Eve was created, with the heart for caring and nurturing. Therefore, in a household setting, the man expects his woman to fulfill her duties as his helpmate.


A little side note here for the ladies: When I was working as an Account Manager some years back, one of my duties as I came to find out on my performance report, was to “manage my boss”. I was dumbfounded by this. So my title says Manager, but he is my boss, why is it my job to manage him? When I finally understood what it meant, it made total sense. As his helper, I needed to understand the requirements of his job in order to better assist him; I needed to understand his character and habits in order to better work with him and I needed to know his shortcomings in order to make him look good in front of others. In so doing successfully, my boss came to rely on me and completely put his trust in me. Let those that have ears hear….

Now that we know a woman’s primary expectations and a man’s primary expectations within a relationship, how does trust get broken again?


So ladies, while you are crying that you can’t trust him no more because he cheated on you, he is crying that he can’t trust you because you won’t care and nurture what he has entrusted you with (however little it is). Gentlemen, while you are crying that you can’t trust her because she does not respect you, she is crying that she can’t trust you because you can’t even provide.

It’s a vicious cycle: If you can’t provide, she won’t respect you.  If she does not respect you, you will not be faithful to her.  If you are not faithful to her, she can’t nurture and care for anything that is yours.  If she does not care, you will not love you…if she does not love you, she will not respect you, and on and on it goes!

Trust can be broken from either side, so both parties have to stop and realize what conundrum you are in.  Otherwise you’ll never be in synch in order to resolve things and restore the trust.

Ladies, if he cheated and you expect him to get his act together, now is not the time to rebel and stop cooking, caring for the house or the children or even his dingaling (Yup, I said it;). Do your part.

Gentlemen, if she does not respect you and you want that to change, do not bring in a third party into your relationship, you would be adding fuel to the fire.


Umulinga Karangwa / 12 March 2014

Hi there,

Thanks for the article Cj.

It is good but IMO it fails to reflect that roles have evolved tremendously and that in this day and age, women are far less dependent on men to provide for them. The reality is that many women today can provide for themselves and their children.

As roles have evolved, women’s and men’s expectations have evolved too. Not only men expect respect, women expect the same. Women want the man they choose as a partner to respect them and faithfulness is not something they wish for but can do without. Nowadays, women also “intrinsically expect” men to be faithful (as you would put it).

Every relationship is different, and every couple have their own view on what is acceptable or not. If a man cheats, of course women won’t stop cooking and caring for the kids but they might kick him out, break up with him and move on in the hope of finding a partner than will respect them and not cheat. If trust can be restored and the relationship can go on, that’s perhaps better, but that will happen if the cheater has earned forgiveness and deserves to be trusted again.

Your article sounds too much like, we women have to continue being good wives if a guy cheats so as he can trust us again. That does not sound like good advice to me.

Also, all of us respond to incentives/disincentives. If a cheater comes back home to a wife that just carries on being a good wife taking care of everything including his dingaling (as you name it), I can’t see why he would stop cheating.

Sharon Nyatanga / 12 March 2014

In as much as roles have changed amd developed,women can provide for themselves and are very much independent..but in my opinion I think we still want that tiny little guarentee that our partner will be able to provide just as much. Some women dont continue the cooking and all im retrodpect that he will continue cheating,but lets face it,at times you would have invested a lot for you to simply walk away. The grass isn’t all that green on the other side in ad much as men shoyld be faithful to their women,because I agree with you on that: I expect my partner to be just as faithful as I am.

I guess every relationship is different. If one feels they can stay and work it out and continue in the relationship, I applaud that for that takes strength.

Cj Y Npowa / 12 March 2014

Hey ladies,

Thanks a lot for your comments. I understand that this is an issue that reaches deep. This articles speaks to the traditional way of doing and seeing things. Of course, in life nothing is ever clear cut nor white and black. I totally agree that women have now become independent and can absolutely do without a cheating man; but that wasn’t the point. The point was really about “Trust”. How do men view the issue of trust versus how women view it. And if you recall, I said that a faithful man and a provider are the two things that are mostly important to women (even the independent woman wants the man that provides); faithfulness being the most important. Why, because women can understand a man that doesn’t provide due to lack of work; but not laziness.

I would beg to disagree that women intrinsically “expect” men to be faithful in this “our” society today. Everywhere you turn, you will hear women (and men) say that “a man can never be faithful”, “as a matter of fact, they are all dogs”, etc… This is why it is the norm to advice women to forgive an infidelity, but not the other way around.

That being said, we now have the means to chose as independent and emancipated women not to forgive; unlike our mothers and grandmothers who had no choice in the matter. And understanding that we can now easily leave, men should reconsider cheating.

But the point here is to make you understand where trust can be broken in a relationship from a male and female perspective. It is definitely not exhaustive.

And in the context of this article (cuz everything is a matter of context:), if the man cheats because his “trust” as cited was broken, kicking him out or exercising all the other forms of punishment mentioned, might definitely not solve anything. I never said not put your foot down. Rather, let’s get to the root of the problem (all things remaining the same) to understand where each party has gone wrong. Grant it, it is easier said than done, especially when feelings are involved. And Sharon said it best, it takes mighty strength.

Although at times, punishment is exactly the medecine…lol, I often resort to not taking care of the dingaling myself…No easy ohhh!!!!

Yours truly:)

Umulinga Karangwa / 13 March 2014

I just want to comment further on 2 of your points: (1) it takes mighty strength to take back a cheater and (2) men all cheat in our society

I believe it is a generalisation to say that it requires strength to forgive a cheater. There are many reasons why women take back cheaters and sometimes it is just easier than breaking up for good. It really depends on the situation. We cannot generalise. Some take back a cheater for the sake of their kids/family and that may require strength. But some others just fear the unknown, don’t want to let go of the financial comfort some men offer or just haven’t found someone else yet and don’t like being alone – which is totally fine, no one should ever judge anyway – but that’s not really requiring any strength, to the contrary.

Also, if men all cheat, and are all dogs etc… then what’s the point of trusting any of them? If it really is unreasonable to except a man to be faithful, then why the debate on trust? It would make more sense to go into damage control mode, and then discuss how to maintain a healthy relationship with a cheater etc… I don’t believe men all cheat. The proportion of men cheating probably mostly depends on culture. And in these places where it is culturally more acceptable for men to cheat, women also cheat a lot.

Cj Y Npowa / 13 March 2014

First of all I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. And I understand what you mean, and that’s a whole other debate right there. If I indulge you, we probably might end up with similar views.

But I want to be clear that the point of this article is not to say cheating is acceptable or anything of the sort; but rather to answer the question: When men say “I don’t trust her”, what do they mean? When women say “I don’t trust him” where does it come from?

I really was looking at the source of the issue of trust. And if you disagree about that, I would love to hear your thoughts; but again the article was really not debating whether all men cheat or whether women should condone it.

Yours truly


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