Trust is a big one. It's the foundation for free, uninhibited, blossoming, giving, and genuine love. It's also the basis for a peaceful relationship in which each partner feels heard, supported and like they can simply be themselves without fear of judgment.
Trust is a key player in many areas of life. However, in this post, I want to share with you nine steps to create real trust in your love life:
1. Trust that who you are and what you have to say is equally important to your partner.
This is really a question of your own feelings of self-worth: Do you trust that you're worthy? Many people I talk with have a tendency to put their partner (or sometimes themselves) up on a pedestal, therefore creating emotional or spiritual inequality in the relationship. This leads to the constant feeling that you have to catch up to your partner or that you have to prove your own worth. As long as you're caught up believing that your partner is somehow superior to you, you are constantly operating from a place of personal lack, which makes trust impossible. In order to build trust, it is fundamental that both people consider each other equally valuable.
2. Communicate your needs and ask your partner to do the same.
You can try to anticipate another person’s needs, but you never actually know what’s going on unless you've really let someone in and expressed your desires out loud. Voicing your needs is a really empowering experience that will help you create confidence in the relationship, which in turn deepens trust. Another important component of this is that meeting someone else’s needs and giving to someone you love, fosters a greater sense of value and dependability in the relationship.
3. Spend quality time with each other.
Do you eat in front of the TV every night? Is your phone never on silent (even while you make love)? Do you rarely go on adventures together? It’s time to shake things up and give your partner and yourself some good old quality time where your focus is on connecting, exchanging, tuning in, and appreciating each other. Spending quality time together reawakens a sense of curiosity and excitement about the other person, which fosters a deeper sense of connection and trust.
4. Create a joint vision of your ideal life together.
This is a really fun exercise I like to do with my coaching clients: Write a few paragraphs together describing what your ideal life looks like. How do you want to feel in the morning? How do you see yourselves connecting today and in 5, 10, 30 years? What do you do for fun and pleasure? What do you want the physical parts of your life to look like (like your home, your travels, your hobbies, your circle of friends)? Actively creating your future together bonds enormously.
5. Check in with your respective value systems.
If each of you wrote down your three top values, is there resonance in the ones you picked? Basically, are you building your life and your expectations on the same pillars? Do you have common roots that will inform the way you make decisions in your life? Even if your values don’t totally overlap, it’s a good idea to know your partner’s values so you understand his or her intuitive processes and judgment calls.
6. Give your partner the space he or she needs.
Trust can't be forced; it has to be cultivated over time. Giving someone else personal space allows them to reflect and fuel themselves. Plus, they can realize on their own how much they miss you and enjoy your company. In other words, you are giving them the chance to come to you, which is a very different way of forming a deep connection and trust. Love and attention that is given freely is the most beautiful kind.
7. Never take each other for granted.
Make it a regular practice to check in with yourself to notice what you love about your partner and what they're already doing and giving to you. Sometimes, especially in a stressed-out world, it’s easy to notice what your partner hasn’t done yet, what he or she could do more of, and where he or she screwed up. Make sure you also pay attention to the things that DO work and that your partner DOES do wonderfully. And let them know this as well. Gratitude is key to continuously invoke feelings of trust and appreciation for one another.
8. Dare to talk about money (and other uncomfortable things).
Couples often feel uncomfortable bringing up money, because it frequently comes with a sense of uneasiness and potential disagreement. However, money is real and something we have to deal with. As long as these fundamental-yet-tricky areas are silenced, they remain unclear in your relationship. This makes it really difficult to trust, simply because money is a big component of safety and freedom — both things that are instrumental in life. If you can be on the same page about money, it is much easier to trust that you have equal ambitions going forward and that you are truly pulling on the same string as a team.
9. Know when it’s time to leave.
I don’t even like to include this one, because of course the primary emphasis should always be on making something work, but unfortunately, this too needs to be addressed. If you torture yourself through an unhappy and heartbreaking relationship for too long, one in which you lose trust and begin to doubt yourself heavily, it will make it that much harder to trust again in the next relationship that's really meant for you. That’s why it's really important to be honest with yourself if you can really fully trust the person you're with. This is less a head question and more of a heart question.
Be gentle with yourself. I know this is a big topic. Let me know in the comments below which of these points resonated the most with you!