Have you ever gone through the motions of starting to trust somebody, especially someone who you may have been intimate with, only for them to betray your trust at a later time? Have you ever felt as if you have given your all into a relationship, only for it not to work out or for things to fall through? Trust is one of the most significant aspects of any relationship: it is the way in which we build long-lasting commitments to one another and what can ultimately result in severe pain and sadness if broken.
What are what we refer to as the five pillars of trust?
Honesty: telling your partner the truth, or your partner telling you the truth.
Sometimes, we get so caught up with life and the decisions we make that we find it simple to tell our partners little white lies. However, even the smallest of lies and inconsistencies can begin to unravel the ways in which we put trust into our partner, and feel secure to not only tell them our own truths but not feeling the need to question theirs as well.
Transparency: when you and your partner are forthcoming with their honesty: You can be honest but not transparent about what you need to communicate. Being transparent means being upfront with not only your partner but with others about your expectations, opinions, feelings, and goals; you want to tell them how you feel and what you’re thinking without sugar coating or beating around the bush about it.
Accountability: you and your partner do what you say you’re going to do. When you make promises and commitments to one another, you go through with it: you are readily available to be there to support them and show up for the things in their lives in which they may be celebrating or struggling with
Ethical actions: your partner acts in line with values that match your own. Trusting someone means being able to feel secure with them, trust them with the deepest parts of yourself, and genuinely know that they are going to make the “right” decision and express their beliefs/values in ways that compliment your own. It is difficult to be entirely compatible with someone who does not morally believe in the same things as you.
Proof of alliance: when your partner shows they are on your team, and you show them that you are on theirs. When in the company of family and friends, even if you disagree on a topic, it is important to establish a united front. This means that you both can have your arguments and disagreements but at the end of the day you respect where the other is coming from and will still defend your partner in conversations with others.
Ways we can build trust:
Keeping your word (you do what you say or communicate when you can’t)
Your words and actions match
Keeping the private things you’re told by your partner a secret, and not using it against them later.
Being there for your partner in the tough times.
Being open to hearing their perspective
Communicating honestly and openly
Taking responsibility for mistakes and apologizing
Expressing your feelings so your partner can better understand your internal world
Treating each other with respect even when in conflict
Signs of trust in a relationship:
There is a sense of commitment between you and your partner
Your partner respects your physical and emotional boundaries, so you feel safe with them
Your partner listens when you express your feelings and needs
You and your partner don’t feel the need to hide things from each other
You and your partner respect one another
Vulnerability is something you can share together
Your relationship is based on mutual support
In personal relationships and especially marriages, the five pillars of trust lay extensive groundwork for how the relationship will play out. A lack of trust that begins between two people in the household can create long-term negative effects for everything else to follow: families, friends involved, careers, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, and more.
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