Trust is important in any relationship - without it, everything falls apart over time. If you’re searching for how to build trust in a relationship, start by reflecting on what real trust looks like.
Yes, building trust in a healthy relationship includes honesty and fidelity. But did you know that breaking a promise as simple as washing the dishes can damage trust in a relationship?
Many small behaviors work together in establishing trust with your partner. This includes whether you stay true to your word. Even for things as small as doing a load of dishes.
Everything you do in your relationship shows your partner whether they should feel secure with you.
It can be very difficult (but not impossible) to rebuild trust once it's broken. So whether you’re looking to build trust in a new relationship or you’re trying to repair trust issues after a damaging incident, these tips can help.
1. Live By Your Word
Let’s start with your wedding vows. When you stood at the altar and made a lifelong commitment to your spouse, you promised to be faithful.
While this definitely includes maintaining physical fidelity, it also means remaining emotionally faithful. Show admiration, affection, and respect in your relationship. Allow your spouse to be the first one you turn to when you need emotional support.
Another way to live by your word is to follow through with what you say you’ll do. When you make small promises, do everything you can to keep them.
If you say you’re going to be home by 6 pm, make whatever sacrifices are necessary to make it happen. Sometimes things come up that prevent you from staying true to your word. Let your partner know as soon as possible whenever this is the case, and never leave them guessing why you didn’t follow through with your promise.
Avoid overpromising or committing to things you aren’t sure you’ll have the ability to do. Your spouse will feel confident that they can count on you when your words match your actions.
2. Communicate Openly and Effectively
Communication is the most important factor in building trust. When couples communicate effectively, they create a deeper level of mutual understanding.
Truthfulness is a pillar of open and effective communication. Truthfulness includes unconditional honesty, and it also means not omitting information.
Have the courage to tell your spouse when something unsavory has happened. Don’t lie or hide things from your partner as it will only damage the foundation of trust between you.
Be clear, thoughtful, and purposeful about how you communicate with your partner. They will admire you for your honesty and dependability.
3. Admit When You’re Wrong
Pride for its own sake has no place in a healthy marriage. Everyone messes up, makes mistakes, or speaks too soon. When you know you’re at fault for something that caused distress, acknowledge your fault, apologize, and make it right.
You don’t lose anything by admitting when you’re wrong, and your spouse is likely to gain respect for you when they see you making reparations for your misdeeds.
Don’t let your ego get in the way of a loving, stable relationship. Trust is easily re-established when you offer your spouse the apology they deserve.
4. Offer Forgiveness, Support, and Understanding
On the flip side, your partner is going to mess up at some point as well. When you feel that you’ve been wronged, give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Approach your spouse from a place of compassion and understanding.
Forgiveness is beneficial for the relationship, but mostly it benefits your own mental health and wellbeing. Carrying anger or resentment towards loved ones hurts you more than it hurts anyone else.
Once you decide to forgive your partner, let the issue go. Don’t circle back to your spouse’s mistake once they’ve already atoned for their actions. By showing true compassion and forgiveness, your spouse knows that they can come to you for support with any problem. This greatly deepens the trust in your relationship.
Another way to build trust is by showing support and understanding for your partner. When they are going through a tough time, be there for them and offer emotional support. This will show them they can rely on you during difficult times, further strengthening your bond.
5. Accept Your Partner’s Influence
You and your partner will always have your differences. After all, you are each your own person with unique experiences and outlooks on the world.
But if you want your romantic relationship to be trusting and harmonious, you have to see the validity in your partner’s point of view - especially when it differs from your own.
We now exist in a politically divisive society in the grips of a devastating pandemic with no end in sight. It’s no surprise that couples sometimes have drastically different opinions about the world and how things ought to be.
Your differences don’t have to rip your relationship apart. You can maintain your own views while also honoring the views of your spouse.
Go beyond the dismissive “yes, dear” response and look for more meaningful ways to say yes to your partner. Check yourself when you find you start disagreeing with something that your spouse has to say.
Practice active listening and show genuine curiosity about their point of view. It can be as simple as, “You have a good point there, tell me more about that.”
You want to stay together, not win a federal court case. Keep that in mind and the level of trust between you will blossom despite your differences.
Building trust is not always easy, but it's well worth the effort. By following these tips, you can create a stronger foundation of trust in your marriage. Trust is the key to any lasting relationship, so make sure to put in the work needed to build it.
Do you believe trust is a problem in your marriage? Couples counseling can help. Couples counseling uses a research-based approach to improve communication and trust in your marriage.
Ready to take the first step? Find out if couples counseling can improve your marriage.
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