What is Trust and How Important is it to a Relationship
Trust is confidence in the honesty and integrity of a person. It means that you can believe that they are who they say they are and that they will do what they say they will do. Without trust, your relationship won’t grow. You will stay stuck and life and the relationship may feel unpredictable and even chaotic and full of drama. Trust is often what holds a relationship together when it would otherwise fall apart.
It Begins with You
Trust and love are intertwined in a relationship and most often we think in terms of the other person when we are talking about trust. “I just don’t know if I can trust him/her,” we agonize. But trust begins with you. Do you trust yourself – your decisions, your judgements and your motives? If you don’t, then you are a prime target for a lover who will want to control you, make you question yourself and shut down your voice in the relationship. So, to begin with, examine whether or not you can trust yourself to be in a relationship and not lose your yourself in it. A healthy relationship begins with a healthy you. If you are struggling with believing in yourself, or feel lost in your present relationship, or are recovering from an abusive relationship in which you were controlled and had no voice, then the first step is to work on yourself. Get a life coach or attend a personal improvement seminar. A marriage retreat with trained facilitators would be a good option as well if your mate is willing to attend with you. But don’t wait on them to get healthy!
5 Reasons Trust is Important
- In a relationship, you cannot love a person whom you cannot trust. When you trust your partner, you feel secure in the knowledge that they won’t leave when the going gets tough Trust is the foundation of a solid relationship and without it, love will die and the relationship will crumble.
- Trust promotes healing when you are hurt. Of course, this refers to the hurts that occur in a relationship. Misunderstandings, different expectations or unmet needs, unloving words or actions are just a few of the ways that we can be hurt in a relationship. You can get over the hurts if you have deep trust in your partner. Trust will enable you to heal more quickly and to put the hurts in the past.
- Trust is reassuring. If you have the bedrock of trust in your mate, then you are reassured that the relationship will make it. Sometimes you can’t see the outcome of a misunderstanding or difference of opinion, but you know that your relationship will weather the storm and that you will somehow still be together.
- Trust helps you control your emotions. As stated above, a relationship without trust can be chaotic and full of drama. But when there is trust between you and your mate, you can each better manage your emotions. In your “deeper heart” you know that you are loved and that your mate will be there for you. Therefore, you won’t react out of fear of being rejected or abandoned or marginalized in your mate’s life.
- Freedom! When there is trust in your relationship, you don’t have to constantly explain yourself or your actions and decisions. In addition, you each can have personal space and time when you need it without having to justify why you need it.
What Does Trust Look Like?
Two people living in a trusting relationship will find that their relationship is fulfilling and enjoyable. Such a relationship is marked by the following characteristics among others:
- Considerate, honest and transparent conversation. There is no need to guess if your partner is telling you the whole truth. You are safe to share your deepest thoughts and feelings knowing that you will be heard and validated.
- Security in your position. There is no need to wonder if you are the priority of your mate in terms of human relationships. You know that you are #1 to your mate!
- Eye contact. One of the marks of a trustworthy person is eye contact. Do they look into your eyes when you are in conversation with them? Lack of eye contact does not automatically mean that your partner cannot be trusted, but it is generally one of the marks of an “unsafe” person.
- You can “be yourself.” You and your mate can both be yourselves when you are together. You don’t have to become someone else in an attempt to please the other.
- It’s not all about them. When every conversation is turned to focus on just one person, that is a warning sign that they don’t have your best interests at heart and therefore may not be trustworthy.
- Honesty and integrity. These qualities are the keys to trustworthiness, especially if trust has been broken by one of you. In time, with a pattern of honesty and integrity, trust ca be rebuilt.
- Respect for boundaries. Each of you should be able to draw boundaries for yourself to keep yourself and the relationship healthy. Personal time and space, spirituality, thought life, health and fitness, finances and sexuality are some of the areas in which boundaries are needed. A trustworthy partner will respect the boundaries of their mate and will set healthy boundaries of their own.
Is Trust Earned or Given?
Trust is generally given to the person that we enter a relationship with or marry, unless we have had the experience of having our trust broken in a previous relationship. If our trust has been broken by a previous partner, then we will, often unconsciously, withhold trust from our current partner and even punish them for the betrayal of our previous partner. If our current partner has betrayed our trust, then we may punish them for months – even years- if they stick around that long!
The first step in building trust in a relationship is forgiveness of those who have broken our trust in the past.
If you desire a healthy relationship or marriage, then the first thing that you must do is release yourself from bitterness and anger by forgiving the one(s)who hurt you. Forgiveness is not trust, so to forgive someone is not to trust them.
Once forgiveness has happened, then you and your mate can begin to build or rebuild trust in your relationship. It can be done if you are willing to invest the time and energy that it will require. Mended trust is often the strongest kind!
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get marriage help for rebuilding trust or any area of your marriage that you are struggling in. LoveRecon and ReconCoaching can help!