Written by Rita Okonoboh - Nigerian Tribune
Trust is the bedrock for building a strong relationship. However, lack of trust is one of the most common themes to surface in most relationships. If you are struggling with the issue of trust in your relationships sbelow are some tips to help you develop greater trust with your partner.
Trust means that you have placed your confidence and faith in your partner, and that you expect honesty, integrity, loyalty, and respect to be at the centre of your relationship. You also expect your partner to keep promises and confidences, and to stay with you when the going gets tough.
Your trust should always be earned; you should not give it to another lightly. When you first met your partner, you probably shared information that helped you to figure out whether or not he or she was "worthy" of your trust and of your heart. As you got to know your partner better, you most likely shared more vulnerable information about yourself, expecting that he or she would hold this most precious part of you in a place of safety and love. At some point, however, your wonderful partner may have either said or done something that triggered you and your trust was broken.
We are all inherently complex beings who bring our past experiences, hurts, fears and expectations into every new relationship we enter. Sometimes our woundedness spills over into our relationship and we lose our ability to feel safe in our relationship - regardless of whether or not our partner actually "deserved" our lack of trust.
If you would like to deepen the trust between you and your partner, please try these 10 tips:
• Keep what your partner tells you within the confines of your relationship. Telling others what your partner has shared with you in confidence destroys trust.
• Don't rely on email, phone calls and texts to communicate with your partner. Spend time communicating face-to-face. Communicating in person will help each of you to build a greater sense of security as you become more open and vulnerable with one another.
• Consider your partner's interests. The more you do for him or her, the more he or she will know that they can count on you and that you have their best interests at heart. If your partner feels like they can count on you, it will make it much easier for them to share the more vulnerable parts of themselves with you.
• Follow through with the little promises that you make. For example, if you say that you will call or be some place at a certain time, be sure that you do these things. Small actions matter toward helping you to build a strong foundation of trust.
• Learn to apologize when you make a mistake or disappoint your partner. An authentic apology should be sincere and from the heart. To be truly meaningful, take responsibility for your actions and reassure your partner that you understand how your action impacted him or her.
• As you learn more about your partner, allow yourself to share more personal information and history with him or her. Aim for balance between how much each of you shares, since trust is not built if only one person shares.
• Spend time together doing things that make each of you happy. Since you are two different people, you will naturally like some different things. Being open to a new experience that your partner brings to you will build the bond between you and trust will follow.
• Practice forgiveness when you are upset with your partner, and let go of a hurt after the two of you have talked it through. Receiving a sincere apology builds trust in an important way.
• Take some time away from your partner to check in with yourself, and get some feedback from your trusted friends or relatives. By taking space and speaking with a trusted friend or relative, you may gain a new perspective about your relationship. For example, you may discover that you have been pushing aside information about your partner that tells you this person cannot be trusted. On the other hand, you may discover that your partner is ultimately worthy of your trust.
• Trust can fluctuate over time as each of you experiences the bumps of life. Reassure each other that your love and safety are still intact. This will further strengthen the foundation of trust between the two of you.