For most of us trust is an important, if not the no.1 issue in our relationships.
Here we discuss different ways to invest in and nurture trust including having fun together!
We have a huge emotional investment in our intimate relationships that makes our potential for vulnerability great and trust is something that cannot be taken for granted.
What actually is trust? Trust is the freedom to be ourselves in the relationship without having to constantly guard ourselves against judgement, manipulation, betrayal, deceit, disloyalty or unfaithfulness. Where we can relax in the knowledge that our partner’s have our backs and we have theirs, allowing us to let down our walls and open our hearts. Where we can be vulnerable and be met in that.
A lack of trust in relationship means a high level of insecurity in ourselves and suspicion of the other person creating an acrimonious and destructive atmosphere in the relationship that is doomed to failure if not addressed.
Trust doesn’t just happen, it needs to be nurtured and invested in.
Strategies for building trust in your relationship
Be willing to commit
If one or both people have one foot out the door of a relationship it drains energy from it and prevents you from accessing the power full commitment brings. ‘The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.’ Sir Edmund Hilary.
Create a strong relationship container
Talk about what is important to each of you in your relationship, your beliefs, values, needs and desires. Bring them out into the open and let yourselves see each other more clearly. Agree on your core goals.
Be in integrity with yourself and your partner
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Ensure your actions match your words. Be honest and do so with compassion. Don’t have secrets, as this prevents you from fully knowing each other and puts covertness into your relationship space. This doesn’t mean you have your tell partner everything about you, just if it comes up don’t withhold. At this level of investment the risks are high and not following through just doesn’t cut it.
Holding on to yourself
It’s easy for us to get triggered in relationship, in fact it’s normal. The smart thing to do in it is to practice holding on to yourself. By this we mean taking some deep breaths into your body and not flying off into an unconscious reaction. See that what your partner has said is about them rather than you (even if they’re using your name!). Take a moment to connect with your heart and respond from this place of rather than from one of disconnection and you will be surprised at the results.
It’s OK not to be perfect, it’s not OK not to own it
We’re all human and there are going to be times when we can’t or don’t do what we say, or we say things we don’t mean. The vital thing is to follow up and clean up, owning our behaviour and letting our partner know we’ve seen what is happening so they can relax back into connection with us. This is a powerful way of building trust as it connects us with our humanity.
Be willing to trust
We need to trust first in order to be trusted so be willing to go first, to trust unless you learn reasons not to. If you do find something you don’t understand that is creating suspicion get it sorted as soon as possible, don’t let it fester and grow horns.
Check out our own blocks to trust
When we carry a lack of trust inside ourselves it can supersede our ability to love. We can create insecurity and resentment in our partner if we are always questioning their motives or trying to control their behaviour to keep us safe. Especially if we are addicted to getting our power from pointing out where they’ve f..ked up. All this does is push our partner away from us and deny ourselves the love we seek. It’s important to be able to knock our own walls down and be available to trust.
Are you able to trust yourself?
Ultimately trust is about trusting ourselves for the more belief we have in our ability to deal with whatever happens the less control and more openness we’ll have in any given situation. So challenge yourself to build your self reliance skills.
- Connect with your heart and body, breathe into yourself and feel what is real for you.
- Be willing to self validate rather than look for it from your partner.
- Take a risk and show up first, rather than waiting for the other person you can then judge.
- Try new things, learn a new hobby, take on a course, change your routine, anything to get yourself out of your comfort zone a little so you can see what you’re capable of.
A word about vulnerability
We usually see vulnerability as a weakness but it isn’t. All vulnerability means is we have the potential to be hurt, it doesn’t mean the vulnerability is actually hurting us. It’s actually our fear of and resistance to the vulnerability that creates the hurt. In fact as strange as it may sound if we can willingly embrace the feeling of vulnerability it is very empowering. Because it takes a high level of connection with ourselves to be able to be consciously vulnerable and open, it actually becomes a place of great strength. Like any skill it takes practice so find little ways to begin being with this feeling where you know you won’t be compromised (like with a trusted friend) and slowly reduce your fear of it as you build your ability. It can change your life!
For more on vulnerability read Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly- how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we love, love parent and lead.
Have fun together
Couples who play together stay together! Play isn’t just about having fun it’s also a great trust builder as when you’re playing you’re relaxing and opening doors to part of you that might otherwise stay closed. Expecially when you give yourselves permission to play as a child might, using your creative imaginations. We forget how to do this as adults yet it can bring fresh, new energy to your couples connection. So when you think of play don’t just think of going for dinner, a movie, doing a workout together or trying a new adventure (all good things), instead use your imagination and try eg. having a picnic with your favourite childhood foods, playing hide and seek, body painting, covering each other with oil and having a body slide on a sheet of plastic. Whatever you do, do it from a place of exploration and let yourselves go! This is a great heart opener and trust builder- as having childhood fun as an adult can be a bit vulnerable, but so worth it!
If you like the above suggestions you might like to explore them and more in our upcoming Couples Retreat see here