Falling in love brings with it a major hormonal cascade that makes us obsess about our partner. This creates major attunement between us. This means I am acutely aware of how you’re feeling. This sadly doesn’t last. We get distracted by life and start to take our partner for granted a bit.
Self-fulfilling prophecies hurt a lot of relationships. If you think your partner will hurt you, you might do things that make it more likely that they will. But if you work from the idea that your partner loves you and wants the best for you, trust can grow in your marriage over time.
Here are some things you can do to build trust with your partner.
Recognize how you feel and take small steps toward being more open. Gain the courage to be more honest with your partner. Before talking about bigger things like kids' behavior or money, it's a good idea to start with small things like schedules or meals.
Be honest with each other and talk about the important things in your relationship.
Stop thinking bad thoughts. Let the first thought be, “I know you don’t want to hurt me.” Ask yourself: Is my lack of trust because of my partner's actions, my own insecurities, or both? Be aware of unresolved problems from past relationships that might be making you mistrustful now.
Follow your gut and instincts. Trust what you think you know and pay attention to red flags. If you don't trust someone, be open and ask for reassurance.
Assume that your partner wants to help you. If they let you down, it might just be because they aren't good at what they do. Sometimes people just make mistakes.
Listen to what the other person says. And watch what they do. Think that there are people in the world who are honest. Have faith in your partner unless you have a strong reason to not trust them.
By far, the biggest way trust is built is through the behavior of ‘turning towards’. We send a million little signals out every day which are ‘bids for connection’. If our partner responds positively, it shores up our trust. Anything other than that, it erodes it. And it’s like taking a bath, it doesn’t last! You must consistently be there for your partner.
You can also get closer to your partner emotionally and build trust by asking them open-ended questions. If you only ask yes-or-no questions, you can't have a deep conversation with someone. In other words, take your time with your partner and make love to them with your words.
If you want a relationship to last, you have to be able to trust each other. Building trust with a partner is mostly about the little things you do together that make you feel safe and make you really believe that your partner will be there for you when you need them. It's the key to a happy, long-lasting relationship.
John and Julie Gottman say in their book, Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, that if you break a trust agreement with your partner, there are ways to fix it. These steps include setting up a time to talk, naming the feelings you had because of the breach of trust without blame or criticism, listening to your partner without passing judgment, and each person telling their side of the story and talking about any feelings the incident brought up.
Then both partners look at how they contributed to the incident and take responsibility, for each person to apologize and accept an apology, and for each person to come up with a plan to stop future breaches of trust.
How are you doing at building trust? These behaviors can get you started if you feel your trust has been damaged in some way.