(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
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:
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?
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
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.
Thomas Kuster started his coaching career in 1995. He has trained inside the work of Peter K. Gerlach Parts and the internal family, Patricia McDade Consulting Alliance, and is certified through HeartMath Institute and the Awakening Coaching Alliance. His systematic approach The Heart Path along with his unique point of view helps couples and individuals see new possibilities for their relationships. A regular contributor to All Ageless and Thrive Global. (www.thestagesoflove.com)