Blindfolds are risky. Wear one in a firing squad, the outcome is fatal. In a magic show or circus event, you definitely have to trust the skill of the person tossing the knives.
Relationships are risky too! If you are married you may remember making a covenant with your spouse. The statements you made established a commitment based on trust. When it comes to trust, we take a risk that the person we are married to will do as they promise.
Trust is a fundamental element in a relationship that ensures its survival. It is as basic as food and water.
Marian and I were previously married. We both had issues of trust coming into our relationship. In order to make our marriage work, we decided to build a bridge of trust with each other. We knew trust was more than vows on an altar, but actions that supported it. After 14+ years of marriage we continue to build the bridge of trust.
How do we do it? Let me just say it is a daily effort of honoring important commitments that build trust. I think every couple can build a bridge of trust by reaching for these 10 commitments.
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1. Honoring each other
Honor means to hold a person in high respect. I write about wearing a lens of respect in my book: Bringing Respect Back: Communicating Without the Conflict.
Having a lens of respect will shape how you talk and treat your spouse at all times, even in conflict. If you don’t know how to do this, I recommend you read the book.
2. Living within the boundary of your covenant
Have you made a covenant together? Couples married in a church generally do. Whether you are married or living together, you probably made some kind of commitment toward each other. If you want to build trust in your relationship, live within that boundary. Don’t stray! If you do and it is exposed, you will sever the trust in your marriage/relationship. Repairing trust is a colossal exercise.
3. Becoming an open book with each other
Opening up to someone is risky. Right? You don’t know what they will do with the sacred stories of your life. In a building a bridge of trust it is important that you open up. This is not easy especially if you come from a family that does not talking openly. Nonetheless, to build the bridge, you have to do your part in becoming vulnerable with your spouse/partner.
4. Protecting each other’s personal stuff
This goes hand-in-hand with being an open book. You must protect each other’s personal stuff. Sharing it without permission violates trust. When we open up to our spouses we want to know that we will not be judged or exposed. Avoid discussing personal matters of your spouse with family and friends unless you have been given the green light by your mate.
5. Loving each other, warts and all
Face it, we all have warts. Welcome to the world of imperfect people. Do you want your spouse to love you in spite of your warts? Do the same. I have warts in my personality, my mood, and in my attitude sometimes. I thank God my wife loves me warts and all. I do the same for her. I suggest you do it for each other. It is liberating!
6. Striving to be the best for each other
Have you ever had actual warts? I did recently. I learned if you don’t deal with them immediately, they spread! While my wife loves me warts and all, I think it is important that I work on them. One of my warts is what Marian describes as occasionally being mopie. I own that and work on it.
Striving to be the best for each other can go in several directions. I suggest you work on being healthy in all areas of your life. I have a free tool for you called: The Guide for Remarkable Relationships: 5 Ways to Become a Healthier, Happier, and More Present Partner
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7. Owning your faults and repairing them
Honesty is essential in building a bridge of trust in marriage. Without it, your marriage will suffer. Owning your faults and repairing them goes a long way in building trust. If you deny, blame, or minimize your faults it will make you untrustworthy. The first thing to do when you are at fault is to say you are sorry.
8. Forgiving each other
As important as it is to own a fault, it is equally important to forgive each other. If your spouse owns a fault, do your very best to extend forgiveness. Why? Because you are going to need it too sometime. Your warts are going to act out in your marriage. It is best to be a forgiver, knowing you will need it too!
9. Stepping in when called upon to support
“For better or worse, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad…”
These are commitments to support one another we make at the start of marriage. A covenant of trust is established with these vows. To build trust in marriage we must be ready to step in and support when called upon.
Every relationship gets tested in the course of life together. One of you will be struggling with something and need the support of the other. Trust in marriage is built when you step in for each other during these hard times. It forges a strength in marriage that can withstand anything.
“Two are better than one…If one falls down the other is there to pick him up…”
Words of King Solomon.
10. Defending each other when attacked
Life is a battle at times. On occasion your spouse may be attacked. It can happen at work, with family, or friends. Personal attacks are painful. How important it is for a spouse to be a defender in times like this. If you want to build a bridge of trust in marriage, I encourage you to be a front line defender of your spouse when he/she is attacked. This level of support will form a bond so strong, no one can come between it.
Look out for my next blog!
Next week I will write about what you can do to rebuild trust after it has been broken. I work with many couples who suffer a breach of trust in marriage. I will share proven strategies to help you.
Now It’s Your Turn
You’ve seen my 10 commitments that build a bridge of trust in marriage. Do you have some in your relationship you can add? I encourage you to comment here or on one of my social media sites.