Building Trust in Your Relationship: Tips and Strategies

Building Trust in Your Relationship: Tips and Strategies. This is the key to a healthy, long-lasting relationship.

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Building Trust in Your Relationship: Tips and Strategies

Building Trust in Your Relationship: Tips and Strategies

Picture of Nathan Cobb, <small>Ph.D. in MFT, RMFT, R.Psych</small>

Nathan Cobb, Ph.D. in MFT, RMFT, R.Psych

Registered Psychologist and Registered Marriage & Family Therapist

Trust is key to a healthy, long-lasting relationship. It’s what allows you and your partner to be vulnerable with each other and build a deep connection. But what is trust, and how can you build and maintain it in your relationship? According to relationship expert John Gottman, trust is about honesty, reliability, and emotional attunement. In this article, we’ll explore each of these components in detail and offer specific strategies for building trust in your relationship. 

Honesty: Being Truthful and Transparent

Honesty is the foundation of trust. It means being truthful and transparent with your partner, even when it’s difficult. When you’re honest, you create a safe space for vulnerability and openness, which in turn can deepen your connection with your partner.

Example: Money Matters

Suppose you’re struggling with debt and have been hiding it from your partner. You’re afraid of how they’ll react and worry that they’ll judge you. However, keeping this secret is taking a toll on your relationship. You’re feeling increasingly disconnected, and your partner is sensing that something is off. One way to build trust is to be honest about your financial situation. This could mean telling your partner about your struggles and working together to come up with a plan to pay off your debt. By being truthful and transparent, you’re showing your partner that you trust him or her with your vulnerabilities, which can help strengthen your relationship.

Tips for Honesty

  • Practice active listening: Make an effort to really hear what your partner is saying without interrupting or judging them.
  • Share your feelings: Don’t be afraid to express your emotions, even if they’re difficult or uncomfortable.
  • Avoid defensiveness: Instead of getting defensive when your partner brings up a concern or issue, try to be curious and open-minded.

Reliability: Following Through on Commitments

Reliability is about following through on commitments and promises. When you’re reliable, your partner knows that they can count on you, which can help build a sense of security and stability in the relationship.

Example: Keeping Your Word

Suppose you promised your partner that you’d attend their work event, but at the last minute, you start wishing you didn’t have to go. If you back out without a clear reason, your partner may feel that he or she cannot count on you. One way to build trust is to be reliable and follow through on your commitments. This could mean resolving to go or, if you do not attend, finding another way to make it up to your partner. By being reliable, you’re showing your partner that you respect their time and value their needs, which can help strengthen your relationship.

Tips for Reliability

  • Keep your promises: If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you follow through on it.
  • Be consistent: Try to be consistent in your behavior and communication so that your partner knows what to expect from you.
  • Apologize when you fall short: If you do make a mistake or let your partner down, take responsibility and apologize.

Emotional Attunement: Being Responsive to Your Partner's Needs

Emotional attunement involves being aware of and responsive to your partner’s emotional needs. When you’re emotionally attuned, you’re able to empathize with your partner and offer support and validation when they need it.

Example: Being There for Your Partner

Suppose your partner is going through a difficult time at work and is feeling stressed and overwhelmed. He or she comes home and share theirs feelings with you, but you’re distracted and don’t give your full attention. Your partner feels unheard and unsupported, which strains your relationship. One way to build trust is to be emotionally attuned and responsive to your partner’s needs. This could mean actively listening, offering words of encouragement or support, or simply being there when he or she needs someone to talk to. By being emotionally attuned, you’re showing your partner that you care about their well-being and are invested in their happiness, which can help strengthen your relationship.

Tips for Emotional Attunement

  • Practice empathy: Make an effort to understand your partner’s perspective and feelings.
  • Validate their emotions: Let your partner know that you understand and accept their feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
  • Offer support: Be there for your partner when they need someone to talk to or lean on.

Building trust takes time and effort, but it’s essential for a healthy and fulfilling relationship. By focusing on honesty, reliability, and emotional attunement, you can create a foundation of trust that will help your relationship thrive.