Trust is the foundation of a healthy marriage. It’s like oil in a car engine, heat in an oven, Beyoncé in Destiny’s Child. Without it, things just don’t work well.
Ideally, marital trust should grow with time. It’s a glue in your relationship that ought to get stronger, even though it isn’t always the case. Trust can rust.
The good news is you can strengthen that glue.
We all have the power to value or devalue a marriage, to help or hurt our spouse’s well-being. Think about it: the next words I choose to say to my wife can either make her smile orcry or make her just plainmad. I’ve got that power. (So does she.) And my words will make me look more or less trustworthy in her eyes.
A big part of increasing trust in marriage is channeling that power to be beneficial and to do that often.
Want to increase trust in your marriage? Here are 7 ways to amp it up!
1. Extend Forgiveness
Forgiveness goes a long way. It means you’ve decided to work through negative emotions, that you’ve let go of the need to “get even.” Forgiving your spouse shows you’re willing to recognize they are human. Which, in turn, takes the pressure off having to be perfect for you. And it shows you can be trusted to not keep score of wrongdoings and that you are committed to trust again after a fallout.
2. Uphold Boundaries
Maybe the idea of boundaries seems limiting to you. But when it comes to building trust, it’s quite the opposite. Healthy boundaries can keep you both on the same page. How you decide to navigate social media. What you view online. Friendships (particularly with the opposite sex). Resolving conflict. Spending leisure time. Dividing up chores. Handling these and other issues well can increase trust.
3. Express Humility
Humility is simply an accurate view of the self, both the good and the bad. You express humility when you use your power to build your spouse up instead of yourself or ask for forgiveness. And research suggests that humility is associated with greater trust and marriage satisfaction.
4. Exercise Vulnerability
Brené Brown says vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and exposure. It’s being fully seen, warts and all. Research says trust arises when risk is involved. In other words, you’ve got the power to either affirm or attack each other’s vulnerable spots. The more you show vulnerability in your marriage and affirm your spouse’s openness, the stronger the trust.
5. Practice Reliability
Your trustworthiness is also affected by how well your spouse perceives your follow-through. Do you follow up with people, complete projects, see your goals to the end? Keep your commitments? Have you ever given your spouse cause to doubt your reliability? When your spouse sees you as reliable, it builds more trust.
6. Show Self-Control
The same idea goes for your spouse’s perception of your self-control. Do you typically keep your cool? Choose your words calmly and carefully? Keep your moral integrity intact? Do you try to respond in helpful ways, even if it’s tough or costly? These are all signs of self-control that build trustworthiness between you two.
7. Develop Confidence in Your Spouse
Author and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn says that couples who believe the best about each other have high marital satisfaction. Even during conflict, both acknowledge they’re on the same team. And no matter what, their spouse has their back. This kind of confidence boosts the marital trust factor.
The bottom line is, powerful trust makes for a powerful marriage. Share your intentions with your spouse. Begin working on one or two of these tried-and-true trust practices this week. Trust is key.
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
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