Couples many times ask why they are having problems in relating to each other. In fact, one of the most frequently heard phrases in relationships is, “Why don’t you trust me?”
One, or both, individuals tend to voice this on a regular basis when there is conflict in the relationship. Psychologists know that the real problem are many time more complex than just one issue. However, the issue of trust is central to any relationship.
There is a sense that one is not as trustworthy because of a “pattern of behaviors” that has raised questions in the other one. Sometimes these patterns have to do with immature relating patterns where one member is spoiled, does what they want, forgets to tell their mates, or only tells part of the story.
At other times it is that pattern is one where one partner “avoids” dealing with issues until they “explode in the face of the relationship” causing more blaming and finger pointing. Other patterns include ones where one assumes the role of the “co-dependent parent” who is going to “help and parent” the more “incompetent one” deal with life.
Some situations involve all of the above patterns, and others, that cause the couple to not trust one or the other. However, when there is always a sense that one cannot trust the other one, then the relationship is on shaky ground.
Trust is Required for Growth
The most critical task any infant must deal with in life is the task of “Trust versus Mistrust.” The first year of life is devoted to resolving this task issue with the hope that they will come to trust others, the world, one’s caretakers, and life in general. Children learn to trust by feeling that others provide consistent care, provide for their needs, feed them and demonstrate that others love them.
If others provide inconsistent care, are not there to meet their need, etc., then the child decides that the world is not one to trust. As the child grows, they also learn how to relate to others in trusting ways through how they view their parents relate to each other.
All of this helps the child develop a “world view of trust” that will have a major impact on how they relate to others in relationships.
Trust is Required for a Healthy Relationship
When “basic trust” is missing from a relationship the “growth factor” becomes “stunted” and everyone suffers. For example, without basic trust, infants have a hard time growing into healthy adults. The same is true for a relationship. Without trust, the relationship suffers and tensions increase.
Couples need to decide how they are going to “grow the relationship of trust” that will help each of them feel more secure and comfortable in relating. The patterns that are noted in the relationship “says more” than the “words and promises” of either person. Make certain to avoid the common mistakes when rebuilding trust.
“You will know them by their patterns, not what they say,” becomes the unspoken key to understanding whether or not trust is a basic part of the relationship. All this means that the couple needs to “get out of power struggles of who is right,” and focus instead in how each person is going to develop more trust, honesty, and openness in the relationship.
If we fear losing our identity by being more open, then the underlying fear is one of being controlled by a parent figure. This can only lead to a deterioration in the relationship.
What does Trust and Commitment Look Like in a Relationship?
Trust means cherishing each other and showing your partner that you can be counted on. Everyday commitment, which is what trust is comprised of, means that you accept your partner, you appreciate what you have, and you choose your partner and your relationship every day.
Trust and commitment are built in your relationship every time you choose your partner. Build them by making the decision to have faith in each other, cherish one another, stay loyal to each other, and pledge to help your love grow.
Take some time to ask each other these questions about trust, loyalty, and commitment:
- What does trust mean to you?
- What areas do you think we need to work on to build trust between us?
- What do you need from me in order for you to trust me even more?
- What do you need from me to show that I am committed to this relationship?
Learn how the Gottmans predict the future of relationships and how you can secure a happy, lasting connection by working with a Certified Gottman Therapist. In therapy, you and your partner will learn how to communicate more effectively and deepen your connection through research-based techniques backed by science.