Are You Building Trust into Your Relationship?

by Jonathan

trust in your relationship

Everyone wants to be trusted and this is especially true in a close, personal relationship. But being viewed as trustworthy is not something that just happens by accident.  Trust is something that you must build into a relationship and then it needs to be valued and maintained.

Many couples are struggling with trust issues these days even when there is no tangible reason for mistrust. This is because trust involves a whole array of complex feelings like faith, belief, hope, conviction, confidence, expectation, dependence, and reliance. In other words, it is a huge emotional investment which, if abused, can increase you vulnerability to a lot of pain and heartache.

Why is trust so important in a relationship?

Our sense of security in a relationship is based on a foundation of mutual trust. In a mutually trusting environment we are free to be ourselves without feeling any need to guard our heart from possible treachery. This creates a perfect setting for complete unity and cooperation. When we feel safe and secure there is absolutely no need to hide our true feelings or raise our defenses. The walls come down and love expands.

On the other end of the spectrum, a lack of trust is akin to insecurity and vulnerability. In a relationship, there is nothing more corrosive then suspicion and distrust. It’s like a cancer that can easily grow out of control and consume the life and love right out of your once happy situation. How can you avoid slipping into this downward spiral?

Infuse trust into the fabric of your relationship

As you can imagine, creating a mutually trusting relationship environment involves more than just avoiding obvious trust violations. Reassuring daily habits along with dependability and consistency all play a big roll. And while the dynamic of each couple is unique, there are still certain universal ground rules that aid in building trustworthiness into most relationships. Here are some of my favorites.

7 ways to build trust into your relationship

1. Get fully invested. How committed are you to your relationship? Are you willing to lay it all on the line without holding anything back? Yes, that will make you vulnerable, but it will also make you trustworthy. That’s why marriage involves a binding contract; it’s a declaration of trustworthiness. Nothing builds trust like a total commitment.

2. Act in harmony with your words. Make sure that your actions support you words without any need for excesses. Most communication is nonverbal, so if your mouth says “trust me” but your wandering eye says “I’m not trustworthy” then you will have trust issues. If you want to flirt with, wink at, or in any way come on to someone, that’s fine. Just make sure that the object of your attention and affection is you mate and no one else.

3. Don’t keep secrets. If you can’t trust your partner with your most intimate thoughts and feelings, then why should they trust you with theirs? The goal of every meaningful relationship should be to build mutual trustworthiness, not lay the basis for a double standard. Secrets create suspicion and mistrust. They tell your partner that there are limits to your relationship. (Obviously, this doesn’t mean that your mate needs to know every embarrassing detail about your past or that you should violate the confidence of a close friend).

4. Be tactfully honest. When you are honest with your partner it shows that you respect them and being tactful shows that you also love them. Being brutally honest lacks consideration for the other person’s feelings and can be downright cruel. Your mate needs to feel that they can trust you to tell them the truth without crushing their feelings. In the rare case when telling them the truth would spoil a surprise, simply promise to explain everything very soon.

5. Be reliable. Reliability is closely linked to trustworthiness, so make every effort to do what you say you will do. If something comes up and you can’t follow through, call and explain what happened so no one is left hanging.  We all have certain responsibilities in a relationship and it is natural to count on each other in those areas. No relationship flourishes when one partner is considered unreliable so take your commitments seriously if your want to be thought of as trustworthy.

6. Express confidence in your mate. How do you feel when someone has confidence in you? When we are entrusted with someone else’s feelings and they express confidence in us as a person, it makes us want to do the right thing. It means that they feel that we are trustworthy and that they can rely on us. When you express confidence in your mate they feel valued and empowered.

7. Acknowledge your partner’s thoughts and feelings. There will be times when we don’t understand why our partner thinks or feels the way they do. Guess what? There will also be times when our thoughts and feelings don’t make sense to them. We are different and that is a beautiful thing. The important thing here is that we don’t inadvertently say something that invalidates their point of view. Instead, listen and do your best to try and see where they are coming from. By acknowledging their thoughts and feelings in this way they know that they can trust you to respect their individuality.

Mutual trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship

Remember, exceptional relationships don’t happen by accident, they take work. For some, the price might seem too high, so they settle for mediocrity. On the other hand, exceptional is for those who want the very best relationship experience and are willing to work for it. If that’s how you feel that don’t leave things to chance. Make it your goal to continue building trust into your relationship.

How would you rate the level of trust in your closest relationship?
What steps do you take to build trust into the relationship?
Do you have any trust issues?
The Lines are open!

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Ladies, want to know how to rewire your man’s brain so he will pay more attention to you and start treating you better? You’ll want to read this article.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Bes

This is true, trust is really the essential element to success, I love your post, I’ve learned a lot to keep my relationship with my gf stronger!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Glad you enjoyed the article. In reality, doing our best to be trustworthy makes all of our relationships better on every level.

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Abraham

This a great piece on trust. I love the way you approached this subject, it has helped me understand much about successful relationships and marriages. Appreciated!

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Brandon

This post is excellent! I wonder if just like Love, is Trust a verb? Is it something that needs to be practiced before the fruit of feeling Trusting toward someone can be present?

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Brandon, interesting question. Trust is both a noun and a verb depending on how it is used. And yes, the more we work at being trustworthy the easier it is to feel trust toward others.

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Nancy

Hello Jonathan and nice post on TRUST! I believe that if we live in our authentic truth then we can trust others as we trust ourselves.

The only way to be is HONEST and I thrive when my closest relationships there is honesty and truth…..say what you mean and mean what you say….

Living in the possibilities of life,
Nancy

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hello Nancy, agreed, it’s pretty hard to have trust without honesty and visa versa. They have a cause and effect relationship.

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David Stevens

Hi Jonathan,
Well covered. I am a trusting individual & am seen as reliable ’cause I do what I say I am going to do. I think I’m ok with relationships (married 30 years) but probably a fringe basket case at times. Thank you.
be good to yourself
David

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi David and congratulations on your many years of marriage. That doesn’t happen without a solid foundation of mutual trust and respect. I think we all visit the fringe district on occasion.

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Julie

These are great… I also think it is important to make available focused time for each other. Without that the basis of your relationship can slip away. It is not only important to be in the same room but also to be present with each other. Put down the remote control, iPOD, mouse and pay attention to the people that are in your life standing potentially right in front of you.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Julie, it’s a bit of a conundrum that with so many high tech communication devices available we now need to remind ourselves to actually participate in real world human interaction. Reading your comment I pictured a married couple sitting together in the same room texting each other.

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DIA

My question is, if someone achieves and maintains all the points that you mentioned and some how their trust is shattered by the person in question and the dynamics of their relationship are completely disturbed, then what do they do? Start over? in doing so, what are the chances that lost trust could be achieved again? Yes this world could be a better place if we trust each other but don’t you think this place would be lot more better if we do not shatter each others trust, once trust is broken, you can never feel secure, confident about ourselves, about others, surroundings or anything, it’s like a broken piece of glass which could be repaired but never be the same.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Dia, once trust is shattered, I do not believe that it can ever be completely restored. And yes, this can make it difficult to trust again. It takes two to maintain trust in a relationship. If your partner shatters that trust, the hurt you experience is like a wound. In time, that wound will heal. It may take more effort on the part of someone new to earn your trust, but we can’t distrust someone for something another person did to us. We heal, then we grow.

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Regina

Hi Jonathan,

I was wondering about your stance on strip-clubs. I am in a newer relationship and this topic came up. I believe it’s cheating and disrespectful of your partner and relationship to pay another woman to grind on your lap or take her clothes off. My partner says I shouldn’t be insecure and I should just ‘trust him’. He doesn’t believe it’s cheating because there is no sexual intercourse. We’ve come to an understanding that he will never go (not even for a bachelor party) as I have a no-compromise stance on the matter and it’s something I would end a relationship over. I hear a lot of women tell their partner it doesn’t bother them when I know that it does. They think they’re showing their partner they are secure but they are really insecure and believe they have to be OK with it because he’ll do it anyway and they don’t want to lose him. It’s apparent to me that these women deep down never really, fully trust their partner and most the men I’ve known who frequent those establishments, are usually not very respectful of their wives.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Regina, personally, I applaud your stance. It’s amazing the kind of behavior that some people allow into their relationships, then they wonder what went wrong. Good for you for having the courage to take a firm stand on this.

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Anita

Hi Jonathan, a great article. Just curious how one can acknowledge their paetner’s thoughts and feelings when they have not been reliable? Am on the verge of walking out and can’t seem to bring myself to acknowledge his thoughts and feelings when any sane person can see they are irrational and thoughtless. Thanks again for this article. It helps me to see I am not going insane or being unrealistic in my expectations of what a partner needs to do in order to build up trust. I am not interested in a one way relationship. Cheers.

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Katie

Once the trust is broken, how can it and the relationship be repaired? And how long is it normal for the emotional pain? I caught my boyfriend on a dating site in December and he acts like I’m crazy because I’m not “over” it. He still does things that make me feel uneasy: when I enter the room he closes the screen on his iPad or iPhone, he gets defensive when I ask him what he’s doing, he hides his activity on Facebook, and other little quirky things. I told him that the things he does is not helping the trust issues but then he says that me questioning him upsets him and I should be over this already.

Should I be “over” it? Am I being crazy or am I justified in my mistrust of him? What can or should we be doing to save the relationship should I accept that he doesn’t really care and move on?

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Katie, trust is not free – it is something earned. It looks like he is working to earn your distrust rather than your trust. Then he is trying to push the responsibility on you by acting offended when you bring it up. That’s just a con, don’t fall for it. A strong relationship is built on open communication and mutual trust. So, ask yourself: Is this the kind of person I want to be deeply involved with?

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