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7 Ways to Increase Trust in Marriage

Strengthen the foundation of your relationship with these tips.

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 or cry or make her just plain mad. 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.***

I’ve read lots of relationship articles and books written by relationship experts giving me relationship advice. Tons of advice. And I’m the kind of person who wants to dive in headfirst and try everything at the same time, eager to improve the relationships with the people in my life. 

But when I sit down with the information to decide where I want to begin, my head starts swimming. The vast sea of tips and must-dos of relationships starts to run together and I can feel the wiring in my brain start to short-circuit. Overwhelmed is the feeling. There’s often so much information out there that it seems impossible to find a starting point to apply it. It’s paralyzing. 

Relationship resources like blogs, videos, and classes can have the same effect on everyone. Whether it’s marriage, parenting, friendships, or dating help you’re searching for, understanding how to use all the advice you’re hearing can be overwhelming. But this doesn’t have to be your experience. 

Here are five simple ideas to help you actually use relationship resources and still stay calm, cool, and unruffled: 

Start in the slow lane.

No need to dive headfirst into a long list of “50 marriage to-dos” or “28 ways to be a better parent.” Choose one thing, one step, you want to take to improve your relationship. And concentrate on that one thing. Pacing is everything. Trying to make too much change at once often results in no change. 

Begin with a step you feel drawn to with your relationship.

You know the context of the help you’re looking for and the nature of your relationship. Choose a piece of advice that speaks to where you want the most benefit. You want to follow a step that is both realistic and impactful to your relationship’s health. When you’ve found your groove with that one thing, move on to another area of your relationship you want to see become healthier. Consider tackling something a little deeper. 

Approach relationship advice like an experiment.

Look at it like you’re going to try a piece of advice out to make your relationship healthier. It doesn’t mean it’ll work. And it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t. Simply try it again, or try something different. (Again, couples, be sure you’re on the same page with this). Above all, be patient with yourself. Not all healthy relationship advice works in the same way for everyone. But something will work. Keep experimenting. Stay in the pocket. You’ll find your rhythm and what works best in your context. 

Know that taking a step toward healthier relationships can often be challenging and uncomfortable.

Whether it’s addressing conflict with your teenager, talking about intimacy with your spouse, or having that difficult conversation with a friend or co-worker, you sometimes have to take steps that don’t seem so fun. That in itself can be overwhelming. But keep the endgame in mind: taking these kinds of steps works toward a better relationship. The discomfort doesn’t last forever, and more often than not, going through those difficult steps actually pulls you and the other person closer together. Uncomfortable doesn’t have to feel overwhelming if you understand it’s for the better.  

Find a source of social support.

No one is wired to go through life alone. As a matter of fact, we are our best selves when we are surrounded by people who will love and support us, people who have been there in their own relationships, and have the scars to prove it. These are the ones who have experienced the ups and downs of raising kids (teenagers, no less) to be responsible adults. Who do you know who has crossed both the peaks and valleys in their many decades of marriage? Or who do you know who has lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of the dating scene

These are people to lean on when improving your relationship using helpful resources. They can tell you what has worked (and not worked) for them. As you pull into the slow lane and choose that one thing you’re going to do, draw on their wisdom and experience to serve as a compass. 

Related: How To Know If Someone Is Trustworthy.

When you find good advice on relationships, it’s often overwhelming. But then you have to stop and remember one thing: your goal is simply to commit yourself to make each of your relationships stronger. And so all you need to do is make the simple decision to take one simple step in a given relationship: with your spouse, your kids, your friends, or anyone else in your life. That’s it. Sometimes it might not work out so well, but I’m willing to bet that most of the time you can make it happen. And that one step will make a tremendous impact on your relationship

Don’t let relationship advice and resources overwhelm you. Take it slow, choose one step, experiment with it, and lean on others who have been there. You’ll find that a healthier relationship is well within reach. 

Related: How To Find Good, Reliable Relationship Advice.

You want to have good relationships. You want a healthy marriage AND you want to be a great parent, a wonderful friend, fiancé, or co-worker. 

But relationships are sometimes complex. They aren’t always easy. Issues arise. And if you’re like me, you could just use some help sometimes.

The internet gives us ENDLESS information on relationships. Just Google how to resolve conflict in marriage or how to parent a rebellious teenager. Then watch TONS of articles, blogs, videos, how-tos, and step-by-steps fill your screen.

It’s overwhelming. 

And here’s the thing: can they all possibly be right? I mean, with literally thousands of resources out there on any given relationship subject, there’s got to be some conflicting information and something that’s not accurate. (As a matter of fact, there is.) 

★ So when you and I are trying to get help in the area of healthy relationships, how do we know what kind of information to trust? How do you wade through the countless sources of information on your screen and determine which advice is legit?

I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum, searching for accurate relationship advice as well as writing relationship content as accurately as possible. And I can tell you there is a lot of good information out there, as well as a lot of bad. 

Here are some pointers I’ve found helpful on how to identify reliable relationship advice. 

Understand that relationships are something that’s actually researched

find good relationship advice

Seriously, there’s a whole science behind it. There are a lot of experts and researchers out there looking at questions like what makes a marriage great, what kids need from their parents, what are the best ways to resolve disagreements, what role does intimacy play in relationships, etc. And, they’re observing and testing answers using psychological research techniques. 

This is good to know because it tells us that there is, indeed, reliable information out there to tap into for our relationship questions and struggles. Good sources of information are typically (but not always) written by researchers who have either done the science themselves or by professionals who have used the science to counsel others. That’s usually what I want to look for when it comes to good relationship advice. 

On the flip side of the coin… know that just because the word “research” shows up doesn’t always mean it’s great advice. 

I’ve read countless articles using the words research says… or studies prove… or a survey of 500 people tells us… If you search for any kind of advice about relationships, you’ll find this, too. And it sounds very convincing. 

But for many reasons, it doesn’t always mean you can trust the advice. For one thing, it’s easy for writers to twist the words of a piece of research out of context to fit their own point of view. Not to mention, a lot of research just plain isn’t done well. You don’t have to be any kind of research expert to take what you read or watch with a grain of salt or even sense there could be some missing information. 

I’m not saying count these kinds of articles out. Give them a chance. Just approach them with a more critical eye. And here’s something I’ve found: if you come across an article that says some sort of research proves something, approach with caution. Researchers don’t try to prove anything. The goal of the research is to provide evidence of one thing or another and spark people to study the question even more. Claiming proof for something could be a big red flag that the writer could be twisting some facts.

All this goes to say, of course, to consider the source.

With any article or video, take a quick look at the author’s bio. Google them. Do they have a background in relationship research, education, or counseling? Are they associated with a university or an organization specializing in relationships like marriage or parenting? Do they have a product to promote? Does their writing seem to have an agenda? Does it sound like they have a chip on their shoulder (like they’re ready to pick a fight)? Or, are they simply trying to report the best information out there as objectively as possible? These are all important questions to consider. 

Do a quick search on “reviews” or “criticism” of the author or the organization they represent. See what other people are saying about them. 

I particularly like authors who are transparent about their own relationships and balance it with trustworthy fact-giving. Rather than making bold claims saying what they are doing in their own relationships is the way to go, thank you very much, they tend to admit where they’ve messed up before and humbly say let’s look at evidence of what’s healthy.

Prepare to do a little digging.

I’m confident telling you it’d be a mistake to only consider the first few pieces of relationship advice at the top of your search list. Sometimes these are reliable resources, but not always. The first sites popping up on a search list many times are determined by popularity factors or advertising dollars. This means you could very well be getting relationship advice based on opinions instead of qualified research, and on the fads families of “the rich and the famous” are doing. (This is just my two cents: it’s difficult for me to swallow trying to relate to Hollywood trends in marriage and parenting. I’m not dissing actors or performers; it’s just a totally different world from the norm, and it rarely reflects what we know to be healthy in relationships.) 

Dig down below the first few search results and see what else lies beneath. This is often where you’ll find the real gold of reliable relationship advice. 

Be cautious with sources that seem to run against the grain of what we already know to be healthy in relationships.

I get a little twitchy when I see titles like The Way We’ve Been Doing Marriage for Decades Is All Wrong! I don’t ignore those sources completely (Who knows?—they might have some good info after all…), but I do tend to read or watch it with a lot more discernment and savvy. Apply what’s been said above to these kinds of articles and determine for yourself if the information given is truly on the level. 

Understand how easy it is to find information that supports your current view and quickly rest your case.

These days you can just about find anything that will claim to back up even the wildest of ideas on how to do healthy relationships. (“Survey Proves a Steady Diet of Tacos Will Improve Your Marriage” — I knew it!

So if you’re simply trying to find something to support the opinion you already have, then guess what? You’re going to find it.

When approaching a piece of relationship advice that may run counter to your viewpoint, I find it helpful to give the information a chance. I’ll often think to myself, “Could there be the possibility that this differing opinion (other than mine) might have some truth to it?” And then, based on all the things I’ve talked about above plus a dose of common sense, I determine if the advice is worth taking. 

If you truly want to learn what healthy marriages, parenting, friendships, dating, and work relationships look like, good information is out there for you to get your hands on. But it’s like swimming in the middle of the ocean. There is a virtual sea of information to swim through. Much of the advice is like currents which will guide you safely to the shore of healthy relationships. But there are some riptides of bad information that can drag you further out to sea. 

One more thought to leave you with: finding relationship experts online can be extremely helpful.

But let’s not look past the fact that you probably have actual people around you in healthy (but not perfect) relationships who you can lean on. A get-together over coffee where you can ask this person (or couple) questions about how they do things in their relationships can provide some very practical wisdom. 

Put the above ideas into practice, lean on the healthy people you know, and I guarantee you’ll learn more about what makes relationships healthy than you ever thought you could have. 


***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.***

Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

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*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

7 Signs You’re a Good Friend

Being a good friend and having good friends are two essential things in life.

Am I a good friend? That’s a great introspective, self-aware kinda question! To find the answer, you could do what any sensible person would do—take a bunch of online quizzes and see if the internet thinks you’re a good friend. (I was everything from a “BFF” to a “just-okay friend.”) OR you could ask yourself this question: 

What am I looking for in a friend? 

Maybe your answers will include some of these 7 signs you’re a good friend…

1. A good friend shows up.

A huge part of friendship is just showing up and being available and reliable. You don’t have to tell your friends that you’re a good friend—you show them. (People don’t always tell you how they feel about you, but they will always show you.) We make time for what (and who) is important to us. Good friends inspire your confidence, they don’t flake out of plans at the last minute. They are there when you need them, even if uninvited. They don’t just sit back and wait for an invitation by text, but they initiate get-togethers and meet-ups.

2. A good friend lets you be yourself…

A good friend lets you be you. You don’t have to put on airs or fronts for them. You don’t worry or stress about showing “your good side.” You can be real with them and be your true self, warts and all, and not fear being rejected. They know your struggles and imperfections and accept you for who you are. A good friend helps create a space where you are comfortable being honest and transparent with them. 

3. … while helping you be your best self.

But they accept who you are while also helping you be the best version of yourself. A good friend knows who you are, but also knows who you want to be and part of their time and communication is spent holding you accountable for your personal goals and encouraging you to be the healthiest version of yourself. A good friend isn’t afraid to do and say the kind of hard things you need to grow into a better spouse, parent, friend, employee, and person. When you bring your problems to them, they care, but they give it to you straight.

4. A good friend is self-aware.

They are not a stranger to themselves. They understand very clearly what is going on inside of them as well as how they come across to other people. This helps them be grounded and secure as a person. They are in touch with their own feelings, passions, motivations, goals, and abilities, as well as their own faults, shortcomings, negative tendencies, and weaknesses. Because they know who they are, they don’t get caught up in other people’s opinions or drama. Also, because they have the ability to have a realistic view of themselves, they also have the ability to have a realistic view of others and see the world through their eyes.

5. A good friend is empathetic.

A good friend is good at seeing things from multiple people’s perspectives. They have the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes and try to feel what they feel and think what they would think in a given situation. This ability is what helps them encourage you and also hold you accountable. A good friend can put themselves in your shoes, but also put themselves in your boss’s, your spouse’s, and your kid’s. This is a big part of why they are able to dispense such good advice and aren’t afraid to call you out when necessary. 

6. A good friend is trustworthy.

A good friend creates a climate in your friendship that allows you to feel safe sharing what’s really on your mind and heart. Not only can you feel safe being transparent and vulnerable but you trust them to keep things in confidence that are shared in confidence. You don’t have to worry about becoming part of the latest gossip going around. They don’t say things to you like, “Well, I promised her I wouldn’t tell anyone but did you know…” or “He told me not to share this, but you can keep a secret, right?” If someone is saying those kinds of things to you, you better believe they are saying those things about you.

7. A good friend is fun, introduces you to new experiences, and helps you grow.

Not all the qualities of a good friend are super serious! A good friend knows how to have a good time. Since they are curious about life, they are often trying new things and picking up new hobbies and interests that draw you in and enrich your life too. A good friend gets you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow as a person and try new things. They are fun to be around and when you leave their company you feel recharged, not drained. When you get back together, you feel like you can pick up where you left off.

What you are looking for in a friend — be that person! Being a good friend and having good friends are two essential things in life. Having a quality social network is associated with having a stronger immune system and even living longer. Friendship has wide-ranging benefits for your physical and mental health and general wellbeing. The best way to have good friends is by being a good friend. You got this!

How to Rebuild Trust in Marriage

While there are no guarantees, there are things you can do to try.

When trust is broken within a marriage, rebuilding it cannot automatically be assumed. Many times you can rebuild trust if both parties are willing to do the work necessary to restore it, though. David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge says, “(trust) is a confident belief in someone or something. It’s the confident belief in an entity to do what’s right and to deliver on what is promised and to be the same every time, whatever the circumstances.” Whether it’s due to infidelity, lies, withholding information, or betrayal, the ability to believe the offender will genuinely act in the best interest of the marriage is severely compromised.

🔎 While there are no guarantees the trust may be rebuilt, there are some things you can do to rebuild it. 

For The Person Who Has Broken The Trust:

Here are some principles which may help to restore your partner’s trust.

1. Listen without being defensive.

Broken trust is more than just the act that was committed. Your spouse has invested time, emotion, and their own vulnerability into believing something about you, but now they’re not sure who you are. Their image of you has been tarnished. There is uncertainty and even a fear that you will emotionally hurt or betray them if it means getting what you want. It’s not simply that you hid money, lied, or had an affair. It causes one to question their own choice to emotionally invest in the relationship. Don’t minimize or oversimplify the act. Lean in to listen. Ask questions to understand the pain as fully as possible. It may hurt to hear. You will probably want to defend yourself—don’t. 

Avoid statements like, “That wasn’t my intention.” or “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” 

2. Own your actions.

Don’t attempt to justify your actions. Be honest about what you said or did. Answer your spouse’s questions honestly. You can’t worry about trying to make it not look as bad as it may seem

Avoid statements like, “All I did was…” or “It wasn’t a big deal.” 

3. Accept the emotional impact on your spouse.

You cannot control how the betrayal impacts your spouse. You also cannot foresee the gravity of its impact. Betrayal affects people in different ways due to personality, experiences, relationship history, length of relationship, etc. It is painful to know that you have caused your spouse such anger, hurt, or sadness. Trying to lessen or minimize the pain caused is more about you not wanting the guilt and less about understanding the impact of rebuilding the trust

The emotional impact is there. Respect it. Learn from it. 

Avoid statements like, “You’re taking this too seriously,” or “I didn’t think it would affect you this much.”

4. Give space for expressions of grief.

Being a safe space for your spouse to share their emotions is crucial if you want to rebuild trust. Your spouse needs the opportunity to find the words to communicate what they are thinking and feeling. (You may need to seek a qualified marriage counselor.) She may need to talk to friends. He may need to share his pain with you as he gains more and more understanding. This should never include abusive expressions

5. Apologize.

You may need to apologize more than once. You may apologize for the act itself because that’s all you understand initially. Some time later you may apologize for the real hurt it caused as you understand it or see it more.You may apologize for the way it has changed the relationship when you recognize the tension and difficulty your spouse has functioning within the marriage. Instead, be specific about what you are apologizing for. As much as you desire to be forgiven by your spouse, direct your energy toward expressing your remorse for what you’ve done. 🔎 There must be genuine remorse for the action and its effects. 

Avoid statements like, “I’ve already apologized. Isn’t that good enough?” or “I’m sorry you feel that way.” 

6. Make necessary changes.

This may mean sharing passwords for social media, phones, or bank accounts. It may mean more communication about what’s happening at work. It may mean changing who you interact with and how (friends or co-workers). Being stubborn about making changes to decrease the likelihood of a repeat situation sends the message that you don’t understand the betrayal and insecurity that you’ve caused. Often, these changes can be talked through so that they are realistic changes. 

Avoid statements like, “I’ll just make sure I don’t do it again.” or “I just messed up this time. I’ve got it under control now.” 

7. Patience.

You can’t rush the process of rebuilding trust. You must respect the process. Understand that different people respond differently to betrayal. At times it may appear the relationship isn’t making any progress. Other times, it may seem as though the relationship is back to normal even though it really isn’t. Your spouse needs time to build an image of you that they can believe will genuinely try to act in the best interest of the relationship even when it’s difficult. You’re not entitled to being trusted again. Your spouse does not owe you their trust once it’s broken. With humility and compassion, take the time to earn it, and more importantly, to simply be trustworthy.

Avoid statements like, “Don’t you think it’s been long enough?” or “Are you going to hold this against me forever?


YOU CAN BE HAPPILY MARRIED.

And no, that’s not just a fairytale. Sometimes we settle, we coexist, we go along to get along, or we just try to keep the damage to a minimum. There are no perfect marriages. There are also no unicorns. So what? You can always Maximize Your Marriage. You know what’s NOT a mythical creature? Your marriage being BETTER than you could ever imagine.

To help you write the next chapter of your marriage story, each module features…

  • A simple, easy-to-understand video lead by marriage experts,
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You’ll have access to two marriage experts every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement. (THIS is what makes Maximize Your Marriage customized & personalized!)


For The Person Whose Trust Was Betrayed:

What can you do to trust again?

1. Understand the difference between forgiving versus forgetting.

Forgiveness does not mean to forget or to act like it never happened. You may never forget what was done, how it made you feel, and how it affected you or your relationship. Forgiveness focuses on letting go of your feelings so that they don’t control your future actions. It’s a process. You can be fully aware and not ever have forgotten the betrayal while at the same time you may have forgiven the offender by not treating them based on the emotions the act itself caused.

Just because you forgive does not mean that you have to trust your spouse again. Kristina Coop Gordon, co-author of Getting Past the Affair says, “Forgiveness is very freeing. Just because you forgive, it doesn’t necessarily mean immediate reconciliation.” Your spouse may prove to not be trustworthy. To trust them again, you will need to forgive them, but don’t think that just because you forgive them means you have to trust them just yet. (Check out this blog about the process of forgiving your spouse.)

2. Don’t withhold your feelings.

Hiding or suppressing your feelings can lead to a host of unhealthy and negative emotions. Taking time to identify and understand the myriad of emotions you’re experiencing is good for your mental health. Don’t underestimate the value of positive friends in giving you the space to express yourself emotionally. You may need a good cry, a good scream, a good journal entry, a good venting session, etc. (A professional counselor can help you recognize and deal with your emotions in a healthy way.)

3. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed.

When trust is broken, your image of the offender is completely changed. The process of rebuilding that image and believing that the offender will genuinely attempt to always act in the best interest of the relationship is different for everyone. Rushing the process can lead to resentment or feeling manipulated. And while it’s not helpful to drag a person along just because you have leverage or power, it’s also not helpful to be told by others that you should just let it go and go back to the way it was. 

4. Communicate.

I’d love to give you a fancy term here, but sometimes simple is best. Give your spouse feedback regarding what is helpful and what is not. As you’re understanding yourself better, share this with your spouse. Talk to one another about trust, commitment, and what you believe a healthy relationship looks like. 

5. Explore.

Do not take responsibility for someone’s else’s actions. At the same time, explore what (if anything) in the relationship may have led to the betrayal. There may be changes or improvements within the marriage that can improve relationship quality

Rebuilding trust takes a commitment from both people in the relationship. Betrayal does not have to end the relationship, but the relationship may be able to improve through time, communication and understanding. There are many relationships where betrayal proved to be a catalyst for the couple to address issues in their relationship, ultimately making them stronger.

***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 your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Image from Unsplash.com

Oddly enough, you are going to have to trust me on this. You don’t know me. At the end of this, you are going to have to decide if this is trustworthy advice from a trustworthy source.

This is probably a good place for a disclaimer or three: 

  • Trust is a two-way street. Sometimes we withhold trust from people that are trustworthy. We may have gotten burned by someone close to us. We may be having trust issues because the world has gotten crazy and we are anxious and stressed out and feel overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of opinions and information. Or, we may have trust issues to work through on our end for a variety of totally legitimate reasons. Make sure you are doing the work on your end.
  • Trust exists on a sliding scale. Trust is less like a light switch and more like a thermostat—we can turn it up as we develop trust with someone or turn it down if we see someone showing signs of not being trustworthy. Sometimes we don’t have enough history with someone to really decide if they are trustworthy and we have to go with a gut feeling about them. Only you know the track record of your “gut feelings.”
  • Trust can be regained. We have all violated someone’s trust at some point. I know I have. I’ve been grateful that they didn’t write me off as “untrustworthy” forever and ever but gave me opportunities to regain their trust. Sometimes it has taken a period of time and understandably so. Leave others the room you want to be human and make mistakes. That said, there are pathologically untrustworthy people. Note it and act accordingly.

There are things you can be on the lookout for when it comes to trustworthiness. And you should be on the lookout. Trust is the bedrock of our relationships, but trust is also a fragile thing. Whether it is a spouse, our child, a member of our extended family, a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend posting on social media, or even the news—we need to know how much of our trust to invest and we want to be confident that our investment is safe.

Trust Lesson #1. Trustworthy People Tell Themselves The Truth.

We all have blind spots and we don’t always see the person in the mirror with 100% accuracy, but untrustworthy people cannot tell themselves the truth—especially when it comes to hard truths. Their view of themselves seems to be disconnected from realities that the people around them can plainly see. They work hard to create a perception of themselves that the people who know them can see right through. They are out of touch with the consequences of their choices or actions. If someone can’t tell themself the truth, that is a bright red flag concerning their trustworthiness.

Trust Lesson #2. Trustworthy People Don’t Project Negative Motives Onto Others.

Trustworthy people tend to be trusting. Thieves are super paranoid about their stuff being taken. Liars don’t believe anyone else. Cheaters commonly accuse their partners of cheating. When someone thinks everyone else is untrustworthy, that’s usually a sign that THEY aren’t trustworthy. (Interestingly, research on video game players seems to confirm this. The study found that players who were trusting and happy to cooperate and rely on other players were less likely to double-cross their partners in a game.)

Trust Lesson #3. Trustworthy People Don’t Share Too Much Too Soon.

Have you ever known someone for all of five minutes and they started to divulge their deepest darkest secrets to you—from their marriage to their childhood? Or it’s your first day on the job and they are telling you what’s wrong with the company and all your new co-workers? That’s nice of you to listen politely or even sympathetically, but BEWARE. This person is demonstrating that they don’t understand boundaries or the dynamics of trust. (And rest assured that they will be sharing whatever you tell them to the next person they chat with.)

Trust Lesson #4. Trustworthy People Display Self-Control.

We’ve all struggled with that last Oreo cookie or one handful of chips too many, but untrustworthy people are characterized by a lack of self-control. When someone continually displays a lack of self-control or self-discipline, there is no reason to think that they can keep something you said in confidence or keep a boundary that you have asked them to respect. 

Trust Lesson #5. Trustworthy People Are Right—About A Lot.

We aren’t talking about Jeopardy! questions here. Untrustworthy people tell you things about your co-workers, friends, other family members, or current events that you find out later are totally off the mark. Untrustworthy people are wrong—about a lot. This is often because they have an agenda of some kind and honesty isn’t part of it. RED FLAG! Trustworthy people look for and care about the truth! 

★ Look at your trust as a precious commodity. Not everyone is capable of taking care of it and respecting how valuable it is. Invest your trust wisely. To trust is to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of another person. Trust can make or break a relationship. Make sure you are a trustworthy person. The more you do, the easier it will be to spot untrustworthy people.

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