A strong relationship foundation, a.k.a trust, isn’t something that begins in a relationship, or any sort of romantic love. It’s something we carry within ourselves long before that. Something we picked up from our parents, teachers, friends, and many others.
It’s something we’ve seen and felt as kids but struggled to put into words or definitions.
It’s something we truly and consciously think about when we step into our first serious relationships. When we’re young, we truly believe that the main foundations of a relationship are all regarding love—just pure love and compassion. And if you’ve ever been in a serious relationship, you know love is sometimes not enough.
Despite there being many foundations and levels of trust, we’ll be focusing on the main ones that can really put things into perspective.
But before dissecting the concept of trust in a relationship, let’s define its sheer role.
The Role of Trust in Relationships
Trust in a relationship is much more than not having to worry about cheating. It’s the most intimate bond you will ever have, especially if you plan to spend your whole life with your partner.
In other words, they are your most intimate person–the only one who has seen your ugly, your pretty, and everything in between.
And you allowing them to see these things about yourself is exactly what trust is. You trusted them, so you showed them.
For some, trust comes naturally and gradually over time.
You meet, get to the talking stage in a relationship, get close, then closer, and trust naturally forms over random movie nights, talks about the future, and household chores.
For others, usually carrying a restraint when it comes to trust, it’s not as easy. Without it, though, the relationship is on the brink of collapsing into itself. Kind of like a house with no foundation.
And that’s the role trust plays.
It’s the safety you feel when you talk about your childhood. The safety you feel when you are alone, while still having full confidence in your partner. The safety of a hug, even.
The role of trust is to know your partner is there for you, no matter what. It’s the type of unconditional love that can only be built–which not everyone is capable if doing.
Luckily, it goes brick by brick, and not all at once.
What Are the 4 Foundations of a Relationship?
There are a lot more than just 4 foundations, but these are, as some would say, the ones to break the ice and help with orientation when you feel lost or have just started a new relationship.
To build a strong relationship, your focus and attention should be on the following 4 things above anything else:
Trust is the cornerstone of any healthy and enduring relationship. It is the relentless belief in your partner’s reliability, honesty, and intentions. In a trusting relationship, individuals feel secure, genuine, and vulnerable with one another, knowing that their words and actions will be met with understanding and support.
Even when your relationship is just beginning, from the first conversation regarding interests to looking for online dating green flags, it’s important to have trust in their willingness to get to know you.
Trust allows couples to navigate challenges, speak openly, and build a strong emotional connection. Without trust, a relationship is built on shaky ground, often leading to insecurity, suspicion, and potential conflict. And we’ve all had those shaky petty and stormy fights with our partners. They’re not the most comfortable experience.
In other words, nurturing and maintaining trust is essential for the success and longevity of any meaningful relationship.
Effective communication is the lifeblood and even a potential lifeline of a flourishing relationship. It involves not only talking but also listening, understanding, and empathizing with your partner.
When couples communicate openly and honestly, they can express their needs, feelings, and concerns, leading to a deeper connection and greater intimacy. It’s the foundation for resolving conflicts, making joint decisions, and maintaining trust.
You have to speak up, no matter the feelings. And if you feel as if your feelings are too intense, and fear your words can only match that, best sit down and think about what you’ll say before actually speaking up.
Healthy communication allows both individuals to feel heard and valued, reducing misunderstandings and promoting a sense of unity. In essence, a strong and vibrant relationship hinges on the quality of the communication between partners, making it an essential element in building and sustaining a loving connection.
Understand that communication is just a verbal version of you. And what is your relationship if not a place where you can be exactly who you are, freely?
Compatibility is the alignment of values, goals, and personalities that forms the bedrock of a successful relationship. When two people share common interests, beliefs, and life objectives, it creates a strong sense of unity and harmony.
Compatibility doesn’t mean identical personalities but rather a complementary blend that enables both partners to thrive together. It makes navigating challenges and compromises easier, as well as fostering a deep emotional connection.
And let’s say you don’t share much in common. Who’s to say you can’t pick up new common grounds together?
While chemistry and attraction are important, long-lasting relationships are often built on the foundation of compatibility, ensuring that the journey together is enjoyable, fulfilling, and enduring.
Compromise is the art of finding a middle ground and making sacrifices to maintain balance and harmony in a relationship. It’s a fundamental aspect of any healthy partnership, as it involves both individuals working together to meet each other’s needs and find solutions to conflicts or differences.
Successful compromise requires open communication, empathy, and a willingness to prioritize the relationship’s well-being over individual desires. It helps create a fair and equitable partnership, where both parties feel heard and respected.
Ultimately, compromise is a valuable tool for resolving issues, nurturing understanding, and ensuring a relationship can weather the inevitable ups and downs that come its way.
And best believe there will be many ups and downs.
Tips for Building Trust in a Relationship
We all get love stuck sometimes, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You argue, followed by a string of doubtful thoughts, and now, you don’t even know what to feel. Despite knowing the foundations of a healthy relationship, you don’t seem to feel them just right.
Well, here’s how to minimize these negative feelings, and even resentfulness that may occur every now and then in any romantic relationship.
- Open and Honest Communication: Foster transparent and honest communication. Share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly, and encourage your partner to do the same.
- Consistency: Be consistent in your words and actions. Trust is built when your partner can rely on you to follow through on your commitments.
- Keep Confidences: Respect your partner’s privacy and keep their confidences. Avoid sharing personal information without their permission.
- Apologize and Forgive: When you make a mistake, take responsibility, and offer a sincere apology. Similarly, be willing to forgive your partner when they make amends.
- Set Boundaries: Establish healthy boundaries that define your individual needs and the needs of the relationship. Respect each other’s boundaries to create a sense of safety.
- Dependability: Be reliable and dependable. Show up for your partner when they need you, and be someone they can count on.
- Empathy: Practice empathy by trying to understand your partner’s perspective and feelings. This helps create a sense of emotional connection.
- Conflict Resolution: Learn to resolve conflicts in a constructive and respectful manner. Avoid blame and focus on finding solutions together.
- Quality Time: Spend quality time together to strengthen your emotional connection. This can include date nights, deep conversations, or shared experiences.
- Patience: Trust takes time to develop fully. Be patient and give your relationship the time it needs to grow and strengthen.
- Be Transparent: Be open about your intentions, motivations, and decision-making. Transparency fosters a sense of security.
- Demonstrated Trustworthiness: Show through your actions that you are trustworthy. Consistently meeting your commitments and demonstrating integrity are crucial.
- Avoid Secrecy: Keep your partner informed about important aspects of your life. Avoid keeping secrets that could erode trust.
- Show Appreciation: Express gratitude and appreciation for your partner regularly. Feeling valued and loved builds trust.
- Seek Professional Help: If trust issues persist or are deeply rooted, consider seeking the assistance of a couples’ therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support.
Remember that trust is built over time and can be fragile. It’s essential to work continuously to maintain and strengthen trust in your relationship, as it is the foundation upon which a strong, lasting partnership is built.
Overcoming Trust Issues and Moving Forward
To overcome issues from the past, it’s important to understand that they are right where we left them–in the past. Sometimes, we look for red flags and issues that already occurred, rather than perceiving our partners for who they are.
In other words, just because you were hurt or disappointed in the past, doesn’t mean you will face the same fate again. And the only way to move forward is to regain faith in yourself, more so than your partner.
This means, having faith that you’ll be okay no matter what. With this in mind, building a foundation for your relationship becomes much easier when you have a strong foundation within yourself, as well as the capability to validate yourself.
In addition, when your self-confidence is low, it is easy to start relying on your partner to improve that aspect of your life. And being too dependent may cause a lot more harm than good.
It could lead to losing your sense of self and obtaining that sense of security in your partner. The more you rely on them, the less you trust yourself.
Conclusion: Trust as an Ongoing Process
You have to understand that these things are not something to be done overnight. And as much as you’d like to improve, or even change, these things take time. A lot of it.
And the more self-aware you are, the better you’ll be off. A lot of people, potential partners included, are walking around, with little to no self-awareness. They have no idea who they are and what flaws have sabotaged their past relationships, so they keep reliving the same scenario over and over again.
The fact that you’re even reading this blog only means that you, in fact, are aware and are seeking improvement. For both your partner and yourself.
And for now, best believe that is more than enough.