They sat across from me during a session. The room felt tense and uncomfortable. These two have been married for over a decade and came to counseling to improve their communication. Nothing could have prepared him, or me for that matter, for the bomb she was about to drop. Then, after a long pause, she said, “I am not sure why, but I don’t think I trust my husband anymore.”
I don't think you will be likely to find anyone who doesn’t believe that trust is a vital component to a healthy relationship. In fact, along with communication, trust is often at the top of my clients’ lists when I ask them what part of the relationship is most important. For the most part, trust is strong in most relationships. There are few of us who worry about our partner cheating or violating trust in some other big way. However, there are still small things you could be doing that, whether you realize it or not, could be damaging the trust in your relationship.
Stop Using the Word, “Fine.”
Ask any counselor, they will tell you that is is the real “F” word. “Fine” is the enemy of trust for a few reasons. First, because it is barely an answer to a very important question. How many times has someone you love checked on you and asked how you were for you just to disregard the concern and the question with an answer of, “fine.” The second way that “fine” damages trust is that it is almost never true. While nothing may be wrong with us, we are rarely fine. If you want to build trust, don’t just be honest…be thorough with your communication. Think about how you feel for more than two seconds and give an accurate and complete answer. Your partner will thank you for it.
You Never Struggle
Now, we both know this isn’t true, but boy do we work hard to make it look like it is. As men, we often want to suffer in silence and bear our burdens alone. While there are worse crimes than trying to be honorable, you appearing to have it all together all the time, might be hurting the trust in your relationship. See, when you don’t ever appear to struggle, it doesn’t give your partner much room to struggle either. You communicate that problems should be dealt with in silence by your action and your counterpart can feel disconnected from you because of that. Talk about your struggles, even if they are small. Let your partner see that you are open with even the difficult parts of yourself.
You Don’t Follow Through on the Small Things
“Sure, I’ll take out the trash when I get home.” Famous last words, my friend. You know, and I know that the trash will still be there tomorrow. After all, what is the big deal? People forget things, right? Yes. They do. But, if your default setting is to say you are going to do something and it doesn’t get done in a timely manner, your partner starts to learn that you don’t mean what you say. Sure, an ignored trashcan is far from having bodies in your trunk, but what are you going to do when you need your partner to trust you about something important if the trust in your relationship has already taken a hit in the small areas of life. Be a man of your word even on the things that don’t seem to matter.
Building trust is important. It is also difficult. It always takes a ton more time and effort to build trust than it does to damage or destroy it. At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX we specialize in working with couples to help them build trust in their relationships.
Learn more about the Relationship Therapy services we offer.
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