A happy and long-lasting relationship is built on a rock-solid foundation of trust and commitment
Building trust is like building a house with Lego. You have to negotiate and work together in ways that consider both partners’ well-being. Each partner has to show up and bring their best self and intentionally focus on being kind, patient, generous and loving to each other and themselves.
For the house to stand the test of time, both partners have to commit to repairing, working through issues, making time for play and connection, and truly caring about each other.
Skills and actions to build trust
- Working through conflict: Building trust requires moving from attack-defend mode into sharing feelings and collaboration mode. The first step is to understand each other before you try to resolve your issues. When you do this, you transform conflict into a catalyst for connection and trust. A trustworthy partner sees their partner’s problems in the relationship as their own problems, and works hard to fix things.
- Healing past emotional wounds: To rebuild trust, it’s vital that couples dig up past events where trust was broken and work through them together so the pain is no longer a barrier between them.
- Attunement: Attunement is the ability to delight in your partner’s joys and success and feel troubled when they are going through a hard time. Attunement is only possible when we understand each other on a profound level. The most frequent block to attunement, especially with difficult emotions, is how partners feel about difficult feelings.
- Be responsive to bids for connection: Sometimes the seemingly insignificant bids for connection are the most meaningful of all. Do your best to be aware of the bids your partner makes and respond by connecting with them.
- Be emotionally available: Stay open to your partner even when you feel insecure. This includes learning to work with your emotions so they don’t overwhelm you and cause you to attack or withdraw.
- Be a reliable lover: Trust is built when your words and actions are in alignment on a consistent basis. In essence, you say what you’re going to do and you follow through.
- Holding yourself accountable: When you make an error, you take ownership for your mistake, apologise, and repair it. It is impossible to trust someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their actions.
- Protect your lover’s vulnerabilities: When vulnerabilities and insecurities are used as weapons in a relationship, partners have betrayed each other. Building trust is protecting what your partner has shared with you and not using it against them, even when you’re upset.
- Ask for help: A trusting relationship is only developed when both partners can ask for help. This means expressing wants and needs openly. If you think less of yourself for needing help, then you have some personal work you need to do to address the subconscious double standards, because, as Brene Brown puts it, “You cannot judge yourself for needing help but not judge others for needing your help.”
Trust is actually built in small, seemingly insignificant moments
While most believe that trust is created by the grand gestures in a relationship, trust is actually built in small, seemingly insignificant moments. These are the moments that demonstrate your commitment to your partner, the moments that highlight you as a trustworthy lover and as someone capable of deeply caring for and protecting your partner’s heart.
It’s crystal clear that a happy and long-lasting relationship is built on a rock-solid foundation of trust and commitment.
Most of us have to learn what this looks like and how to build it in our relationship. Luckily for us all, our relationships keep handing us new Lego pieces to rebuild, repair, and reinvent ourselves and our relationships. When we devote ourselves to cultivating mutuality and to offering our full selves to our lover, and when they do the same, we build something deeply meaningful and beautiful.