The five steps of building trust
The Gottman research shows that to build trust, love, and loyalty in your relationship, there is a clear path to follow. Here are clear pointers to how to build trust:
- Make trustworthiness a main priority in your relationship.
- Act to maximise your partner’s well-being.
- Know that trust is built in small, positive moments.
- Avoid negative comparisons.
- Generate frequent thoughts and acts that cherish your partner’s positive qualities and minimize your focus on their negative faults.
Here is a 5 minute video where John Gottman shows how to build trust in your relationship.
How to define trust
Trust can be defined in this way:
a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b : one in which confidence is placed.
One very important thing to remember is that trust needs to be earned. It takes time to earn someone’s trust. You earn trust by doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it or, you renegotiate clearly with your partner.
Consistency is a primary ingredient of trust. When we observe consistency in honest words and actions from our partner, we can let our guard down and experience the deeper levels of relational intimacy which trust makes possible.
When you trust your partner because they’ve earned your trust, you don’t doubt their actions or motives. You choose to believe the best in them, because they’ve consistently shown you the best in themselves. You’ve developed something precious together, so make sure you do everything you can to keep it!
If your partner has done everything to earn your trust, but you still don’t feel comfortable, it may be because of trust issues in you, or scars from your past that you need to explore. Don’t punish your partner for wounds inflicted by others long ago. Reach out for help from an experienced counsellor so you can fully trust again. Trust is the foundation of every healthy relationship, and we ALL need healthy relationships!