So, you’ve been together with your significant other for six years and decided last October to get married. Things are going great, and both of you feel like you have the trust game down pat. Trust is the foundation of any marriage, after all, so that must mean problem solved, right? Well, yes and no. While it’s great that you trust each other, it doesn’t happen once and for all. Trust is built and then maintained in a marriage.
Last week, we laid the foundation for a series of posts on trust by answering the question: what is trust in a marriage? Now that we know what trust should look, sound, and feel like, how is trust built and maintained?
When it comes to trust, it’s important to keep at it!
Many couples believe it is a given that our best interests will always be our partner’s deepest hopes and desires. And what is important to us now should always be important to them. In theory, yes. But building and maintaining trust in a relationship is a process that isn’t mastered one, five, or even 10 years into marriage. It comes from intentionality, awareness, and having a whole lot of patience as we grow old together. In other words, we must keep at it. And don’t give up.
Here are five ways trust is built and maintained in a marriage:
Consistently show and express acceptance of one another
Learn and keep building knowledge of each other’s likes and dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and even dreams. Hold each other in high regard and express fondness not just in big ways, but in small ways day in and day out. Accept each other’s influence. Take your partner’s opinions and feelings into account in mutual decision-making.
Give the benefit of the doubt
In a healthy marriage where there is a comfort level, you should be able to rely on your spouse — even in difficult situations. No marriage is perfect, so even in those tough situations, set aside your doubts and allow your spouse the opportunity to come through for you. Over time, they should reward you with their continued commitment to your marriage.
Exhibit deep friendship
As John Gottman said in The Science of Trust, couples who are in a great relationship focus on building friendship and intimacy. They nurture emotional connections, friendship, fun, and playfulness. Often, they talk and help each other with stresses and concerns. You’ll find that they perpetually work to make things better, including identifying their partner’s feelings and working to understand them while also expressing their own thoughts and feelings.
Do what you say you will do
Make sure your actions match your words. If you say you’re going to take out the trash, then do it. You say you can be counted on to be faithful, then live up to those expectations. When you say, “I love you,” prove it daily by doing things together and making your spouse feel loved through actions — not just words. Engage in behaviors that exhibit trust.
Not fighting means we don’t treat each other as enemies when there is conflict. We do not tear our spouse down, name call, or treat them with disrespect or contempt. There will always be conflict. But we do not have to be harsh, hurt our partner, or inflict damage on the relationship. Instead, approach conflict gently and with great thought and purpose. Stay positive, seek common ground for agreement, and yield where you can.
What we are trying to say is that trust in a marriage isn’t something that is achieved early on and then accepted as status quo. It must be built and maintained over the life of the marriage — and it must be continually worked at. Couples who can see, express, feel, and maintain trust in one another will have the marriage they’ve always dreamed of.
Check back with us as we continue this conversation on trust in the coming weeks.
Our heart is devoted to caring about people and marriages!
Our heart is and always has been devoted to caring about people. We want to ensure you have the tools to know and understand how important trust in a marriage is for you and your spouse. Plus, we want to help other couples just like you. The best way we know how to do that is by spreading the word to more people and let them know that we are here. Join us on social media. IG – MikeandSusanDawsonCo. FB – MikeandSusanDawson
What do you think? How have you built and maintained trust in your marriage? We want to hear your stories. Send us a quick email and let us know. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.