Build Relational Trust

7 Ways to Build And Maintain Relational Trust

by | Nov 6, 2020

Many couples take the trust they have between them for granted. But those couples that have experienced hurt around trust know how hard it is to rebuild and repair broken trust. Here are 7 ways to build and maintain trust.

Brandon Wall, LMFT

Brandon Wall, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Brandon founded Cedar Rapids Counseling Center in 2017 and is passionate about helping individuals and couples experience lasting change. He is described by his clients as having the ability to be a straightforward counselor while also being fully compassionate, down to earth, and working at the client’s pace. He has an innate ability to grasp the larger patterns that cause many individuals and couples from reaching their fullest potential. Learn More About Brandon

One of the essential qualities a thriving couple must have is trust. Only relational commitment trumps trust in the hierarchy.

 Thriving Couples Model

An uncommitted person is challenging to trust. We tend to hold ourselves back and are suspicious of the indecisive person. 

Other essential qualities, like communication, problem-solving, friendship, and intimate sexuality all presuppose trust as a given.  

If I do not trust you, it does not matter what communication method we use. 

As one woman yelled during a session after learning a communication technique, “I do not believe a word he says!” 

Likewise, why would I want to spend time with you or be intimate with you if I cannot trust you? 

For these reasons, I advise couples to spend a considerable amount of time investing in developing and maintaining trust between each other. 

Relational trust is the wire around the electrical current that fuels the couple’s synergy. 

Unfortunately, an exposed live wire is dangerous and can cause tremendous damage. 

Furthermore, without trust, relationships tend to explode into panic mode and burn down everything in sight. 

So, before discussing 7 ways to develop and maintain trust with your spouse, let’s understand what trust means. 

Trust means you are dependable. 

Our anxiety skyrockets when uncertain looms. As children, we depend upon our parents to create a safe environment for us to explore. Too much adventure leads to trauma. 

Our spouses also depend on us to show up at the right time and in the right way. 

This creates ease of mind. 

Trust means you are responsible. 

When we get into a committed relationship, we take upon ourselves a considerable obligation. 

Part of this obligation is the ability to adult. 

Adulting means you can control yourself and have the wisdom to know how to care for yourself, your spouse, and your children. 

Trust means you are reliable. 

One of the leading causes of mistrust is inconsistency.  

If we are unpredictable in our choices and reactions, it creates tension in our spouse, making them feel like they are walking on eggshells. 

When our spouses can rely upon us, the opposite happens. They develop confidence that they can come to us with their emotions, needs, and desires. 

Trust means you are protective. 

When I hire a babysitter, my number one expectation is that my child will be alive when I get home. 

This is so basic that it is assumed on an unspoken level. 

Part of relational trust is that we are protecting each other. 

Of course, this means physical and emotional safety, but it also means that we are protecting each others’ hearts.  

For example, I do not joke about infidelity or threaten separation when I am upset. 

Both of these tend to undermine our shared commitment. 

How, then, does a spouse build and maintain trust. Below you will find a visual guild that will work you through seven ways to do this.

7 Ways to Build and maintain Relational Trust

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.”

George MacDonald

To trust someone is to say something about the quality of their character. To love someone is to say something about the quality of your character. You can love your enemy, but it would be foolish to trust them. This is why it is a greater compliment to be trusted than to be loved.

Be Emotionally Available

This is the ability to be present with the full range of emotions, both in yourself and in your spouse, without withdrawing, dismissing, quickly solving, or minimizing said emotion.

Know & Meet Your Spouse’s Needs

Spend time learning what makes your spouse feel and experience love and make daily efforts accordingly. It is how they experience love, not how you want to show it.

Be Accountable

Marriage is not about a have to but a get to. You get to have another person to share your hopes and dreams with. You get to invite your spouse into your life.

Be A Value Driven Spouse

This is a quality you possess to know what you are about and act accordingly in consistent and predictable ways. This leaves your spouse with little doubt or guesswork.

Accept Your Spouse’s Influence

Partnership and shared influecne go hand and hand. When your spouse feels you are open to their needs being a primary importance, the more secure they feel to come to you with their needs and desires.

Having Integrity

Another way of understanding integrity is being whole and undivided. What you say, what you do, and what you value are all in sync with each other.

Humility

Humility is the ability to live within the truth. It is the foundation of all the above qualities. Being emotionally available requires the humility to hold space for another person, even when it is distressing. Humility grounds a person’s values by keeping them honest and accountable. Humility is needed to be open to allowing others to have influence and have desires and needs, even when it is not convenient. A selfless person is a trustworthy person.

Brandon Wall, LMFT

Brandon Wall, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Brandon founded Cedar Rapids Counseling Center in 2017 and is passionate about helping individuals and couples experience lasting change. He is described by his clients as having the ability to be a straightforward counselor while also being fully compassionate, down to earth, and working at the client’s pace. He has an innate ability to grasp the larger patterns that cause many individuals and couples from reaching their fullest potential. Learn More About Brandon

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