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Building Trust in Your Relationship-Part One

Simply said: A relationship in which Trust is missing is not a fun relationship. Without trust in your marriage you live a life of ill ease and cannot feel safe sharing your emotional, physical and spiritual self with your partner.

In most relationships trust is not a concern at the beginning when you make your commitment to your partner. Love overrides all doubts and blind spots you may have, and as such you pass the first stage of your relationship in a blissful state.

Sometimes this bliss goes on forever as your relationship grows and matures, but for a good number this is not the case. Mistrust in its various disguises slowly insinuates itself into your marriage.

Your lack of trust may arise out of an infidelity or a fear of an infidelity. You may begin to realise that you have married an alcoholic or an angry person and cannot trust your safety in their presence. Or the emotional closeness you once thought you shared with your partner has suddenly vanished and you no longer can trust your feelings with this empty shell of a person that has replaced it.

A discussion on trust and its misuse can wander off in many directions. So perhaps the best place to start is at the beginning when your relationship has just formed and you have taken the first steps to live a life together. As we said earlier the joys of initial love usually override any insecurities and doubts that you may be feeling. And this therefore is the best time to secure your partnership against the uncertainties and apprehensions that may begin to seep into your relationship with the passing of time.

Let us look at Four actions you can take to build a foundation based on trust.

Affirm your Values

Values are the beliefs that you hold that determine the actions you take. For a relationship to be able to journey a lifetime together it is pretty important for both partners to share some basic values and to come to some agreement on the ones that they differ in. For example, if one partner holds deep religious views and wants to raise their children within the faith, and the other partner is very much against religion, then this relationship will most likely experience conflict unless a compromise can be reached.

Similarly when it comes to a value such as trust you cannot just assume that you and your partner have the same understanding as to what trust means. Depending on your family upbringing and your life experiences you will have formed your own ideas as to how you perceive trust in a relationship.

Clarity as to what this value means to both of you, and acceptance of a common meaning will enable you to strengthen your relationship and close the door to any ramifications due to mistrust.

Communication

As cliché as this may sound deliberate communication in which you stay focused and respectfully discuss your opinions is one of the cornerstones of all successful relationships. It is during this beginning stage of your relationship that you can establish a communication style free of assumptions and one in which you and your partner listen to what each has to say, confirm your understanding and then respond appropriately.

An open, non judgemental, supportive communication model encourages you and your partner to continuously affirm your values, discuss trust issues and determine actions to buttress your relationship against the perils of mistrust. This ability to communicate honestly is a force that your partnership slowly begins to appreciate as issues, some perhaps relating to trust, emerge in your relationship.

Address the Past

As a rule, it is best to bring your partner up to speed on your past before committing to a relationship based on trust. The fewer secrets you bring to your marriage the less opportunity for the seeds of mistrust to be sown. There may be issues from your past that if carried into the present could be a source of irritation and a springboard for future doubts and relationship instability.

Using effective communication you and your partner can open each piece of baggage you bring with you to your relationship, review the contents and decide what to do with it. This exercise not only reflects an honest ability to share your past, but also a sincere desire to ensure your past does not effect your future together.

If in the past you have been a gambler, a womaniser, a shopaholic, a viewer of pornography, a workaholic and so on,  you and your partner can discuss these behaviours, accept them and then consider the options to address them. It is better to know these facts when you begin your relationship, rather than to hide them and then have these details pop up  shattering the trust you have built up.

Not everything about your past needs to be exposed but if there are any hidden ex husbands, wives or children, their sudden appearance later in your relationship could be devastating. As well if there are certain actions you have taken in the past that you are not happy about you might need to trust your partner and tell them about it. A decision may be made to just bury this information and go forward.

Sometimes you will easily embrace aspects of each other’s past and at other times you may be upset knowing what your partner has done, but information exposed and dealt with can cause less damage than harmful secrets.

Set Boundaries and Guidelines

Once the above three actions have been initiated you are now ready to transfer your knowledge and skills into establishing some boundaries and guidelines that will reinforce the trust you want to carefully nurture in your relationship.

There may be certain behaviours that you find unacceptable as they threaten the intimacy of your relationship. These need to be spelled out, negotiated and then finalised as an agreement between you and your partner. For example you may feel uncomfortable that your partner is receiving txt messages from ex lovers, or you may believe that your partner is going out to dinner too frequently with unknown members of the opposite sex.

If your guidelines stipulate that such behaviour is unacceptable then you and your partner can relax into a relationship in which trust can thrive.

You may also give some thought to drawing up a document outlining the boundaries that you have both agreed on. I know that it might sound a bit practical and unromantic, but if you use a little creativity your document can reflect the care and respect you feel for each other.

There are no guarantees that the love, joy and trust that veils your relationship when you first make your commitments to each other will always be there. But if you begin your relationship in trust and take steps to respect this trust then you and your partner can feel safe and secure to grow and blossom both as individuals and as a couple.

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