Trust is essential in every successful relationship. It helps each partner feel comfortable and safe. Trust and intimacy also allow for healthy boundaries and communication. While it can be difficult, building trust between the partners is worth the effort. Do so by communicating openly, establishing regular check-ins, and not making quick assumptions. Soon, you’ll get your relationship where it needs to be—on solid ground.
Trust-What Exactly Is It?
Without trust, you can’t have a solid foundation for any meaningful relationship or even friendship. Kids come out of the womb depending on and trusting their parents to keep them safe and help them flourish. Trust allows a person to have faith, belief, and confidence in someone’s ability to be dependable.
Sadly, some people have trust issues because someone in their past betrayed them personally, whether from a childhood experience or a previous relationship or friendship.
Why Trust Is an Important Part of a Relationship
Trust is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship because it gives you more security and stronger connections. Security creates a safe environment in your relationship, so it’s challenging to move forward with your partner without it.
Trust is also a major factor in creating healthy boundaries. When you feel optimistic and secure in your relationship, you’re better able to build a stronger foundation.
Adverse Effects of Lack of Trust in Your Relationship
When you don’t trust your partner, it can lead to an unstable and unhealthy environment. You need to trust your partner to gain security and truly feel comfortable. Some adverse effects of limited (or no) trust include:
- Accusatory behaviors
- Poor boundaries
- Lack of intimacy
- Feelings of betrayal
- Feelings of insecurity
- Emotionally unfulfilled
- Feelings of abandonment
- Frequent arguments
Ways to Build Trust in Your Relationship or Marriage
Whether you’re dating or married, you need trust. If you don’t have it, your relationship will fail. It’s that simple. Trust encourages you to communicate openly with your partner, which is another necessary component to help your relationship succeed.
But how do you build up trust?
Some methods include being vulnerable, empathy, honesty, and of course, open communication. Here are other tips to help build trust with your partner.
1. Show Your Feelings and Learn to Be Vulnerable
While some believe vulnerability is terrifying, it’s necessary because it helps build trust by demonstrating that you can share your most treasured feelings with your partner. It’s a sense of security that you don’t share with everyone, so if you can share it with your partner, it means you trust them.
Being vulnerable also helps you let your guard down, which allows you to be your true self. If your partner sees you being vulnerable, it may encourage them to do the same and disclose their intimate feelings to you.
2. Try Open Communication
This is where you need to be completely honest with yourself and your partner and put all the cards out on the table.
Discuss everything bothering you, including why you have intimate and trust issues. Leave no stone unturned. Additionally, don’t assume, and stop overthinking. You can only build trust when you are willing to share all the intimate details openly, but your partner also needs to be ready to listen.
For example, if your marriage suffers from infidelity, and your partner wants to discuss everything, you must be ready to divulge the most intimate details. However, some people prefer to forego details, and that’s OK, too.
Don’t be afraid to discuss any topic. If you don’t, your partner won’t know since they can’t read your mind. It’s more like opening up to all your feelings, so they understand why you feel the way you do.
Let your partner follow your lead. If you’re communicating openly, they will do the same. When they tell you their feelings, please don’t cut them off or tell them how they should feel. (That’s crazy, that makes no sense.) Instead, listen. Their emotions are just as valid as yours.
3. Learn Healthy Ways of Communication
Along the same lines of open communication, be sure you know how to communicate. When openly discussing your feelings, the situation can become heated, and you may yell back and forth. That accomplishes nothing but frustration for both of you.
Instead, give each other space to say what they need to. When they finish, you talk. When you finish, they talk. It’s that simple. It’s all about being respectful. Otherwise, you can become frustrated, the open conversation goes right out the window, and you’re back at square one.
If you see the conversation is going south, take a break. Tell your partner you need to walk away for a few minutes to get your thoughts together, but you would like to continue in fifteen minutes. If you set a time, be sure you stick to it. Otherwise, you may not revisit the conversation and lose everything you hoped to accomplish.
Sometimes, communication can break down early, no matter how many times you try. In some cases, you may need to use a neutral third party. Suggest a professional marriage counselor or therapist, either individually or together.
4. Learn to Empathize
You’ll have to empathize with your partner when attempting to fix your trust and intimacy issues. It’s easy to point the finger. But seeing the situation from their point of view demonstrates that you’re listening to them while validating their feelings.
If your partner believes you don’t empathize, they’ll feel on their own and can become defensive.
Part of showing empathy is also withholding judgment. We tend to judge when we don’t see the other side of things; when we do, our partner may be offended. This is what you don’t want.
Instead, if you need help understanding their side or why they acted a certain way, ask for clarification. The important thing for your partner to comprehend is that you’re giving them a chance to help you make it right.
5. Be Honest
Being honest can become complicated because you risk hurting someone’s feelings when you tell your truth. But if you can’t be open and honest with how you feel, you may never get to the root cause of your trust issues.
Being truthful helps your partner see that you value them. It takes more work to lie than to honestly state how you feel, even when the truth is harsh. The trust only grows because now you’re more secure in your relationship.
6. Always Be Willing to Listen
One of the more challenging parts of building trust is learning to listen. We only see the situation from our perspective, so we find it difficult to understand theirs. This is why listening is so important. When we close ourselves off, two things happen.
- you never fully hear their side
- they become offended because you aren’t listening
If you’re in the middle of a loud discussion where both of you are shouting at each other, pause. Find some order amid the chaos and start over, this time in a calmer manner.
7. Stop Making Assumptions
When you assume, it can create a false narrative. When this happens, arguments ensue, and the situation gets worse. When you find yourself assuming, ask your partner directly what they mean.
Assumptions mean you’re dismissive of your partner’s feelings and invalidating them. In doing so, you missed a prime opportunity to build a deeper connection.
Instead, respect your partner enough to give them time to fully explain their situation so you can create the story’s ending together. It’s easy, but assumptions can lead you down an incorrect path that you may find challenging to return from.
8. Take the Necessary Time to Make Proper Decisions
This method is tied to making assumptions in that you should ensure you have all the necessary information to make a proper decision on your situation.
Once your partner has said their piece (and you have not judged or assumed), you have what’s needed to process the information.
Take your time because there’s no rush. What are your feelings about what they just told you? Are there any missing pieces of the story?
You respect your partner enough to show them you are present in times of conflict and thoughtfully processing what they’ve said. If you have questions, ask them to explain. When you slow down your response, you’re building trust by reducing your chances of replying negatively or impulsively.
9. Show Gratitude
Trust and intimacy come in many forms, including gratitude. Telling your partner you recognize the minor tasks they do is a way to show that you respect them for everything, no matter how big or small.
To help build stability in your relationship, perform a simple gesture for them. Please don’t do it expecting something in return. Instead, do it because you want to show them you’re thankful and don’t take their positive actions lightly.
10. Don’t Take the Relationship for Granted
It doesn’t matter if it’s been a month, a year, or twenty years; you should never take your relationship for granted. Because of work, children, and other life obligations, we sometimes tend to forget about our partners.
When you stop communicating, it’s only natural that a lack of intimacy and trust follows. It would be best to be proactive because when you’ve reached this point, it demonstrates to your partner that they are no longer a priority in your life.
To help build trust, suggest occasional date nights. For daily reassurances, do nice things for your partner, like treat them to lunch.
Every once in a while, thank them for doing something nice for you. When they see you showing appreciation, they’ll show you the same.
11. Show Respect
When you give your partner respect, you’re showing them how you want to be treated in your relationship. Everyone goes into a relationship with specific standards, expectations, and qualities we prefer our partner to have. However, trust breaks down if we express different standards and respect that we look to receive from them.
12. Set Some Boundaries
You set boundaries for yourself in a relationship to keep it healthy. When you fail to set boundaries, it becomes a free for all, and both parties don’t know where to draw the line.
For example, you can set boundaries on acceptable communication with the opposite sex outside your relationship. This way, you are held accountable and can’t simply say, “I didn’t know that would offend you.”
When a couple sets boundaries, individually and as a couple, they create a balanced and comfortable environment where both parties feel respected and understood.
13. Be Accountable for Your Actions
When you’re accountable for your actions, you’re showing maturity. Sometimes, taking accountability is not easy because it can make you feel judged and vulnerable. But, to help someone trust you, that’s exactly what you need.
You’re showing your partner that you can admit your mistakes and be self-aware of your faults. You build trust and intimacy when you are both able and ready to share those difficult moments.
14. Regularly Check In with Each Other
You don’t need to do daily check-ins. Instead, check in with each other on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This way, you can learn more about their needs.
Because you’ve been in a long-term relationship, you may think you know everything about your partner, so why check in?
Think about it; are you the same person you were five years ago or even a year ago? In that time, you may have picked up new hobbies and interests. Back then, you didn’t like cuddling. Now, it’s all you want to do.
People change, and you need to respect that. So, to reconnect, start having regular date nights, or plan a monthly staycation. It’s almost like dating and getting to know your partner all over again.
Make it fun and exciting. Doing so helps build trust because your partner is willing to put in the effort to show you how much they care.
15. Don’t Judge
It can be easy to point the finger, but you should be mindful of your actions and how you communicate with your partner. When you allow your partner to see you’re ready to listen without prejudice, they will feel safe to express their feelings. If they think you’re judging them, they may not be comfortable opening up to you.
16. Be Willing to Apologize
This is a big one because if you can’t say sorry, your partner will never trust you to admit to any wrongdoings. When you apologize, your partner feels confident that you understand that your actions hurt them and that you’re willing to take responsibility.
You’re owning up to your actions and acknowledging the situation. Trust is built when they feel you’re aware of the necessary adjustments to improve your relationship.
17. Be Willing to Forgive
Forgiving is so important when building intimacy and trust in your relationship. Forgiving your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with their actions; instead, it gives a sense of acceptance for what they did.
When you forgive, it lets your partner understand that, no, you don’t agree with what they did, but that, yes, you choose to work on the relationship to bring back trust and intimacy.
18. Be Consistent
When you work on your relationship, you must follow through with the positive behaviors that build trust. Unfortunately, we can get so caught up in what others are doing that we forget to remain consistent with our intentions.
You should put in the effort and remain consistent because it shows your partner that you’re working toward rebuilding the trust. You’re doing your part, so expect them to do theirs.
Rebuilding Trust after Infidelity
It can be challenging to rebuild trust in your relationship after one (or both) parties have cheated, but it is possible. To do so, you’ll need an understanding and intention of what the infidelity meant to the relationship.
This means taking accountability and ownership. You’ll also need to determine ways to reconnect and rebuild the foundation of your relationship.
Infidelity can shatter a relationship, which makes it even more challenging to know where to start. First, process your feelings and create a positive space for those feelings. In other words, you don’t want to assume anything.
This is when you both should be honest about everything in your relationship. There are no shortcuts, so be ready to get down in the trenches.
Learning to Trust Again
Trusting your partner can take time, as it should. You don’t want to excuse their behaviors immediately, but you don’t want to live the next few years in anger and resentment. The offended spouse should be accountable more than ever. There should be no discrepancies within their stories.
For instance, if they say they’re going to the store, that’s where they should go and nowhere else. If plans change, as they sometimes do, they should let you know immediately.
Additionally, if they say they will do something, they need to do it; if they don’t, they need to let you know why. It’s not a case of keeping tabs, but it is a case of accountability.
Eventually, when the trust comes back, it won’t be like this, but until then, they have no say in how you work through their mistake. If you find working through infidelity is too much to do alone, consider seeking professional help from a marriage counselor or therapist.
Building trust and intimacy in your relationship isn’t something that happens overnight. The communication breakdown occurred over time, so don’t expect the remedy to fix things immediately.
You and your partner need to work on the goal together, and if you need help, consider using a marriage counselor. Good luck!