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?
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