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6 Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship

Trust is the most important pillar of a thriving relationship. Here are six things you can do to build trust between you and your partner.

By Jonathan Meur

1. Communicate with each other

An open and candid communication is crucial to any healthy relationship. Being able to voice your concerns and listen to your partner without interrupting or imposing your views will go a long way toward creating mutual trust. Passive aggressive behaviour disables communication and builds resentment – say what you mean, and do not assume your partner can second guess your thoughts.

Where possible, always opt to communicate in person. Emails and texts are impersonal and subject to misinterpretations. Having a face-to-face dialogue forces you to put away your phones and other distractions so you can really be present in the discussion.

2. Be honest

Do not keep secrets from each other and clear any doubts that you sense your partner may have. If you are making plans to meet a person or group of friends that your partner might have an issue with, be upfront about it instead of hiding it from them. This openness shows that you care enough to notice your significant other’s feelings toward different people and situations, and that you’re willing to have potentially uncomfortable conversations in order to straighten things out.

3. Know each other’s values

How we build trust depends on the key values at the heart of who we are and how we live our lives. If you list down the top five values driving your life decisions, would they be the same as your significant other’s? How involved should your families be in your lives? When it comes to your home, do the words “clean” and “tidy” mean the same thing to both of you? Do you respect each other’s different health and fitness goals? Of course, your partner’s values need not (and probably will not) match yours completely. But by being aware of each other’s outlook on key aspects of daily life, it will allow the two of you to understand why the other person processes various situations the way he or she does. That, in turn, helps to bring you closer to your partner and strengthen the mutual trust.

4. Know your biases and leave your baggage behind

If a past relationship created trust issues, you may need to address them with your new partner so the two of you understand why certain actions may instil doubt or even distrust in you. Talking things out will help you identify instances where you might end up making incorrect assumptions and prevent the possibility of projecting your previous partner’s mistakes onto your new partner. Most importantly, it will help your other half avoid behaviour that may trigger you.

5. Be reliable, and keep your promises

It takes two to make a relationship work so don’t let your significant other feel like they are shouldering all the expectations and demands that come with life as a couple. if you’re late for a date, call; if you promise to pick up groceries, do it; if you say you’ll take care of a bill, don’t miss the deadline. All these actions, even those that may seem small and inconsequential, contribute to making your life together much more pleasant and enjoyable.

6. Disagree in private

If you are in public and your partner says something that does not sit well with you, wait until the two of you are alone to discuss it. Disagreeing in front of other people may risk humiliating your other half. Also, by waiting, you give yourself more time to formulate your thoughts in a respectful way.

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For any relationship to grow, both parties must acknowledge failures and forgive. Trust is an ever-evolving notion that may, from time to time, be tested in a relationship. If a mistake has been made, it is important for both to agree on what the issue was and to let go of the hurt, accept the apology and move on. Rather than holding on to past transgressions, be forgiving. Nurture trust and never take each other for granted.