Trust is a key ingredient in any strong relationship.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” – Warren Buffet
The same is true for trust in any relationship.
In this post I’ll share one simple thing you can start doing today that will build trust in your relationship.
I was inspired to write this post after a conversation with someone who has been trying to rebuild trust with their partner after a betrayal. In my years of working with couples, betrayal has never been an easy thing to overcome.
The trust part is especially tricky. Forgiveness is one thing, also an accomplishment, but one never forgets.
How do you build trust?
This is advice is for you only if you deserve your partner’s trust in the here and now. What I mean by that is: Maybe you made mistakes in the past, maybe you betrayed them and deserved to have their trust in you broken, but today, you are looking to rebuild trust because you are committed to doing the right thing by your partner and your relationship.
One of the most simple things you can start doing today to rebuild trust is this:
Show them your cards.
Show your partner your heart. Let them know how you feel. Let them know what’s on your mind.
This may be completely foreign to you, as it was to the person I was speaking with earlier today. Being open was considered a weakness.
The truth is, if you are looking for a secure and connected relationship, being open is a necessity.
Being open and transparent is especially necessary if you are trying to build trust after it has been broken.
If your heart is pure and your intentions are good, share that with your partner. Yet sharing yourself and your experience may be easier said than done.
When you feel bad it can be hard to face your partner.
Doing anything but hiding can feel like an impossible feat if you are swallowed up by your own shame, which is what happens to so many people who have hurt the person they love the most in the world.
If you find yourself in that dark place of shame, please try to be aware of that. Please try to identify that. Shame is a core experience of being human and one that will take you under every time if you allow it to.
You may have done something one might consider bad, but that does not make you a bad person.
If you can even just identify your shame, you are doing great.
One person described it to me as a cloud of smoke that pushes them into the corner and engulfs them.
After noticing it and working with it, they were able to get some distance from that dark cloud. Also impressively, they were able to discuss it with their partner.
What a gift to their partner, who was given a front row seat into their experience.
Letting your partner in and showing them your cards brings relief and builds trust.
As in the quick example above, you’ve got to know your cards before you can show them (cue Kenny Rogers). So maybe the first step for you is getting to know yourself and your own experiences.
Shame makes that hard to do, and when you deeply hurt the person you love, it makes sense why you feel shame.
Another obstacle in sharing your experience is the sense that in doing so you’ll stress your partner out.
“I don’t want to burden my partner with my cards.”
If you feel stress or are having a bad day, maybe you feel like sharing that with your partner would be a burden to them, so you hesitate to do so.
What often happens then is that you wind up carrying that stress around with you and it leaks out anyway. Maybe you have a shorter fuse or you take it out on your partner. Wouldn’t everyone be better off if you just let them into your world so minimally they would have some understanding and maybe even compassion for you?
Showing them what’s in your hand, heart and mind will help them understand you and their importance to you, which will help you build more and more trust every time.
Be patient. It may take decades. And it will be worth it!