Here are seven ways to proactively build trust in your relationship.

 

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and practice being vulnerable in small steps  Build confidence in being more open with your partner. Discussing minor issues (schedules or meals) is a great place to start before tackling bigger matters like disciplining kids or finances.

  2. Be honest and communicate about key issues in your relationship

  3. Be sure to be forthcoming about finances, your past, and concerns with a family member, co-workers, or children. Don’t sweep important issues under the rug because this can lead to resentment.

  4. Challenge mistrustful thoughts

  5. Ask yourself: is my lack of trust due to my partner’s actions, my own insecurities, or both? Be aware of unresolved issues from your past relationships that may be triggering mistrust in the present.

  6. Trust your intuition and instincts

  7. Have confidence in your own perceptions and pay attention to red flags. Be vulnerable and ask for reassurance if you feel mistrustful.

 

Assume your partner has good intentions

 

  • If he or she lets you down, it may just be a failure in competence–sometimes people simply make a mistake.

  • Listen to your partner’s side of the story

  • Believe that there are honest people in the world. Unless you have a strong reason to mistrust him or her, have faith in your partner.

  • Practice having a recovery conversation after an argument

  • Take a short break if you feel overwhelmed or flooded and set a time to process what happened. This will give you both time to calm down and collect your thoughts so you can have a more meaningful dialogue with your partner.

 

According to Dan Wile, author of After the Fight, after a disagreement your focus needs to be on listening to your partner’s perspective, collaborating, building intimacy, and restoring safety and good will.

In The Science of Trust, John Gottman explains that practicing emotional attunement while relaxing together can help you stay connected in spite of your differences. This means turning toward one another by showing empathy, responding appropriately to bids for connection, and not being defensive.

Asking your partner open-ended questions is also a great way to increase emotional closeness and build trust. If you ask questions that require a yes or no answer, you’re closing the door to intimate dialogue. In other words, take your time and make love to your partner with words.

For a relationship to succeed in the long run, you must be able to trust each other.

 

Building trust with a partner is really about the small moments of connection that allow you to feel safe and to truly believe that your partner will show up for you. It’s the bedrock of a happy, long term partnership.

How to rebuild trust when it’s been broken

 

In their new book Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, John and Julie Gottman suggest that if you break any agreements about trust with your partner, there are steps to fix what’s been broken.

 

These steps include:

  • setting a time to talk,

  • naming the feelings you experienced due to the breach of trust without blame or criticism,

  • listening to your partner without judgment, and

  • each partner describing their perspective and discussing any feelings that were triggered by the incident.

  • The final three steps essential for rebuilding trust, according to the Gottmans in Eight Dates, are:

  • both partners assessing how they contributed to the incident and holding themselves accountable,

  • each person apologizing and accepting an apology, and

  • developing a plan to prevent further breaches of trust from occurring.

 

An important part is focussing on facilitating conversations between couples to help rebuild trust and affirm their commitment to one another over time.

 

Eventually both partners sincerely apologising to each other for their part in the issues they struggled with.

 

You have the power to break free from the hold that mistrust has on your relationship and create the kind of intimacy you deserve.

 

www.gottman.com