10 key activities for creating trust in successful relationships

Trust is an emotion that makes people expose their vulnerabilities, believing they won’t be taken advantage of.

According to psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, trust is the basic component of living a good life. When there is no trust, fear develops and the results are damaging. Even from a young age, trust plays an important role in the development of a healthy relationship.

Trust also has the “power” to stimulate oxytocin production according to Paul Jak, writing in Harvard Business Review. And together with a higher sense of purpose, it produces happiness.

Indeed, no one can deny the importance of trust.

But, trust doesn’t develop on its own. In a relationship with your partner, it takes effort and consistency to build trust.

If you need help in building trust, here are some tips to build on it together:

1. Prioritize the relationship

When you consider your partner’s thoughts and feelings, it will make them feel loved and respected. However, this does not mean giving up on your interests by all means.

It just means thinking in terms of “WE” rather than “I”. Doing so will make them feel they are important to you and will make them trust you more.

2. Be yourself

It takes two to tango. If you want your partner to trust you, then you should also show that you have trust in the relationship.

When you are true to yourself, you let your partner know that you trust them. By showing all your vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and fear, you trust them to accept you for who you truly are.

So, let your guard down and show the true you — flaws and all. Remember that there is no perfect relationship. It is how you accept the imperfections that make it perfect.

3. Communicate with your partner

Communication is important in a relationship. According to a study by a University of Illinois professor, it is critical for building and maintaining strong relationships.

Good communication is carried out respectfully and clearly.

When you truly communicate with your partner, it shows that you feel safe enough to express your concerns, needs, and fears. As a result, it builds trust and fosters memorable moments in your relationship.

4. Be careful with words

Sometimes, couples say what they don’t mean and can leave a disastrous effect on the relationship.

With your words, your partner may either feel comfortable and confident or also rejected and angry. So, be mindful of the words you use and their impact on the person you love.

There is also what we call non-verbal communication and it is equally important as verbal communication.

Your partner will interpret the tone of your voice, body language, and facial expressions. So, make sure they all convey the same thing.

5. Be your partner’s best friend

Research carried out by John Helliwell states that couples who think of their partners as their best friend are happier and more satisfied. The conclusion of the study is that having a partner with whom you can talk to and share life’s struggles help in creating a meaningful relationship.

Moreover, if a couple doesn’t have that emotional connection towards each other, it may lead to emotional and physical adultery.

You don’t want that, do you?

6. Be trustworthy

Just as respect begets respect, trust also breeds trust. In order for your partner to trust you, you must be trustworthy yourself.

Trust is built by being honest and faithful. So if you cannot do what your partner asks you to do, be clear that you can’t to avoid unmet expectations. And being committed to your partner amidst temptations will build your relationship up.

7. Accept influence

Dr. John Gottman asserts that if one partner is winning, especially the husbands, then both partners are losing.

His research found that relationships are much more successful when husbands allow themselves to be influenced by their partner.

It means husbands should avoid being too distanced and defensive to “win” a situation with the other partner.

An example he gave is a husband and wife discussing their plan for Thursday night because the wife’s mother will be coming. An attacking statement came from the husband and his words were, “My plans are set, and I’m not changing them.” 

When a husband does not accept influence from his wife, it can create huge problems in their relationship. But when men are able to allow themselves to be influenced by their partner, it will lead to happiness and satisfaction.

8. Repair the relationship

Conflicts and disagreements are normal in a relationship. But, it is important that the relationship is repaired before trouble gets out of hand.

One way is to say sorry to the aggrieved partner to validate what the other feels. It is because in a relationship, being happy is more important than being right.

9. Be responsible

When a relationship faces challenges, just like most do, it is important to stay with your partner. Being responsible means being emotionally, physically and mentally ready to tackle any trials with your partner at your side.

10. Be positive

Dr. John Gottman is considered a relationship expert with 40 years of experience. He said that the secret to a successful relationship is to have five positive interactions with your partner for every one negative interaction.

It means if you hurt your partner’s feelings, you have to make it up to five times by doing positive things like smiling and laughing together, asking questions or saying I love you.

The main point is that positivity is what nourishes your love and trust for each other.

Trust has the power to make a relationship either successful or a failure.

Trusting someone can be hard especially if you’ve been hurt before but with trust comes joy, stability, and peace. It comes with a price but it’s definitely worth it.

NOW READ: The two essential keys to a successful long-term relationship, according to a Harvard psychologist


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