(This article is Part One of a 3-part Trust Trilogy.)

Many of us have probably considered, in one way or another, what we value most in a relationship. We might not say it explicitly, but we have thought about it.

Recently, I asked some people to express it. What is the number one value you want in your relationships? The most common answer was trust. I am not surprised, but I am now more curious than ever about the subject. 

Taking the risk of trusting another, in return for the adventure of being in love, opens the heart to growing and expanding. But on the flip side, the loss or lack of trust can close the heart too. Romantic love is an act of faith, and trust is required. When a connection is new, there is not much to go on except your feelings, and feelings are not exceptionally reliable.

There are many different views on trust—what it is and what it is not—but here is the real deal:

The word comes from the Hebrew, Batach, which means to be carefree, or free of concern.

Here is Webster’s definition of trust: confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principles of another person.

The Pathway to Trust

The 3 Elements of Trust: How Do You and Your Partner Stack Up?
Ali and Fressia‘s relationship is grounded in the kind of trust every couple strives for. They are confident in each other’s capabilities, they find it incredibly easy to be honest with one another, and where one might not be completely reliable the other is available to step up. The dance of their relationship is extraordinary.

Many couples I talk with will tell me how they need to rebuild or restore trust in their relationships. It all sounds very reasonable until you follow the thought process all the way through, only to find you cannot do it—you cannot restore trust in and of itself. Maybe trust, then, is the endgame, the response—the outcome.

So then, what is the pathway to trust? Remembering that trust is what we value most, we might consider putting our attention on trustworthiness. Isn’t that what is measurable and definable?

To be trustworthy is merely being worthy of trust, and this is where the plot thickens. There needs to be a basis for giving our trust, and our partners need a basis for giving theirs. That basis or foundation consists of actions and attitudes that express that I am trustworthy. In fact, one only needs to watch the actions of another to determine where they can be trusted. As an example, my spouse is extremely loyal, I know I can trust him in any area where loyalty is involved. Where I cannot trust him, is being on time or with anything that requires detail and precision.

Capability, Honesty, and Reliability

After interviewing a dozen or so individuals and couples, I found that the top three elements regarding trustworthiness in a mate are:

Capability

Honesty

Reliability

If we develop our trustworthiness in the eyes of our partners, then that is the foundation for winning more trust. There needs to be evidence that says we are trustworthy and in what areas. Raising our trustworthiness levels can become the richest opportunity for being in love.

Using the list below, and adding to it with your beloved, determine your expectations, and get aligned. 

In what areas are he/she/I capable?

Managing children

Setting up travel or parties

Cooking dinner or grocery shopping

Getting our schedules worked out

Opening up about difficult topics and matters

Owning and dealing with mistakes

Paying the bills and being on time

In what areas are he/she/I honest, and where do we draw the line?

What about income taxes; cheat—just a little?

Lying about a headache to escape (sex, party, or gathering)

Transparent or harboring secrets

Speaking the truth—are white lies acceptable?

Gossip or complaining about others

In what ways are he/she/I reliable?

Showing up on time or early

Doing what we say

Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and essential dates

Honoring things that matter

Keeping secrets in confidence

Naturally trusting

When I did this with my spouse, he scored high in the CAPABILITIES and HONESTY categories and not as high in the RELIABILITY category. This is a totally acceptable compromise for me. Where I can trust him far outweighs the areas where I cannot.

Here is what we know for sure: If you pay attention to the actions and reactions of yourself and others, you will see a foundation for trustworthiness. Getting aligned with your beloved and measuring against the same principles will strengthen your bond.

We all have the opportunity and the ability to raise our standards, to form a higher basis in becoming more trustworthy and earning more TRUST. Fostering trust within your relationships can make them better, more fulfilling, more meaningful, and longer-lasting.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Great article Thomas! I’ve always thought of “trust in a relationship” in terms of fidelity— But you’re totally correct to expand the concept into other kids of “trusting” (e.g. financial, child care, showing up on time, etc..) While I totally trust my spouse’s fidelity and loyalty to me/us (our marriage), the areas where we have breakdowns are usually related to one of us “breaking the other’s trust” that he/she understood “how” something should have happened, and it didn’t go that way…

  2. Wow! It makes so much sense! Can’t wait to start paying attention to my actions and reactions. Thank you for this great article!

  3. This article is so true and a great read to practice.. Trust is something I always am free to give to someone I love and tend to extend it to long for some. So having my spouse give it freely to me is so important and makes our relationship strong.

  4. I loved reading this today. It came at the perfect time. I struggle with trust issues based on past experiences. Your advice really hits home. I’m learning how to trust again. This really helped me see things in a totally new perspective. Thank you Thomas. Your wealth of advice is so greatly appreciated

  5. Thank you Thomas great article. You always make me think about my actions and how they inpact people around me.
    Great article

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here