My wife, Susan, and I trust each other. Granted, she may not always be able to trust me to take out the trash, and maybe I can’t necessarily trust her to pick out a television show we both want to watch on a chill Friday night at home. But when it comes to the important stuff in our marriage — what makes us both feel safe, connected, honored, valued, and loved — we trust each other implicitly. I trust that she’s there for me, and she trusts that I’m always there for her.
This is a small snippet of what counselors like me mean when we talk about trust in a marriage. The bland definition of trust, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” But in a marriage, trust means so much more than that, and we naturally want to see it, touch it, and feel it.
The key ingredient all distressed couples are missing is trust!
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, especially a marriage. It creates safety and openness between spouses, and for most people, love, and trust go hand-in-hand. It has a lot to do with our general belief that our partner has our best interests at heart and that we are important to them. When you combine all of these factors, there is no way any of us can expect our relationship to survive without trust.
Trust in a marriage looks and sounds a lot like this:
- Can I count on you? (to help with the kids, make decisions on finances, household decisions, etc.)
- Do you have my back? (when times get tough; in sickness and in health)
- Will you be faithful to me?
- Do you do what you say you will do?
- Will you be there for me when I go through a hard time?
- Can we count on each other to create an emotionally safe relationship?
- Do you choose me over your family, friends, and colleagues?
- Will you take my boundaries seriously?
Trust means that we are a team, so when our partner is thinking about their needs or their interests, they are also considering our own. I’ve heard trust referred to as the superglue of a relationship. Still, in binding us together, it also sets us free and allows us to experience the full potential of our marriage.
What trust is not
Trust is NOT inconsistency, abuse of power over someone, lack of empathy, feelings of disconnect and volatility, lying to yourself, and those you supposedly love and failing to fulfill important commitments. Here’s a real-life example, it would be like Susan needing me to be emotionally available and present when she has a bad day at work or has feelings of self-doubt. Still, I instead consistently choose to disregard her needs. Instead of trusting her husband during her most vulnerable moments, she has to rely on friends or family to fill that gap.
That would be rather horrible of me, now wouldn’t it? Thankfully, that is not the case for either of us. But it’s a great example of what our relationship would look like if we didn’t trust each other.
In closing, all we’re trying to say is that trust is essential to every relationship — especially marriages. Couples who can see, express, and feel 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.
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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? What does trust look like in your marriage? Send us a quick email and let us know. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.