A Powerful New Way to Build Trust in Your Relationships
One of the things that we think is most sacred is the trust that can be developed if both people in the relationship honor that thoughts and feelings, whether they are of a positive nature or negative, will be shared first with each other.
Here's an example from our own lives to show you what we mean...
Both of us, in our previous relationships, felt the need to talk to
friends and not always our spouses about what was really on our
minds and our intimate relationships. We often chose to tell our inner most secrets and frustrations to our friends and omit this information when we talked with our spouses.
Although this wasn't the primary reason both of these relationships
ended in divorce, we think that it was one way that trust was eroded
and not built in those relationships.
When we got together in our relationship, we figured out that if we
hoped to have a relationship built on trust and deep connection that
this type of intimate sharing with others was a pattern of behavior
that had to stop.
When conflict, disagreements or challenges come up, we agreed that we would talk to each other instead of venting our frustrations with a
friend or co-worker. This was our sacred agreement with each other.
We just love Bruce Springsteen's song, "If I should fall behind"
because it says exactly how we have chosen to be in a relationship with each other. In the song he says, "Let's make our steps clear so the other can see."
To us, this means telling the other person what we are thinking as
soon as we have sorted it out ourselves. We don't feel like we have to hide or sugar-coat our truth about a situation or unload on a friend how we are truly feeling without first telling each other.
This doesn't mean we never talk to friends and other family members
about our thoughts or about what's happening in our lives. Quite the
What we are saying is that we have agreed to tell each other first,
things that are personal and feelings that come up about the other
If you find that you have been complaining to other people about your
partner or someone close to you and you are not telling your partner
how you are feeling, stop.
By talking to others first about your issues instead of the person
involved, you may be eroding the safety and trust in your relationship. By talking to others about your issues instead of the person your conflict is with, you could be playing the role of the victim or martyr.
Believe it or not, you may actually be enjoying the sympathy and
attention from other people that you are getting from complaining
about the situation with your partner.
If you want to build trust and create a close, connected relationship, we've found that this kind of behavior has to stop.
Choosing to let your partner know where you stand and what is going
on inside you is not only a way to build trust but also a way to deepen your connection as well..
One woman sent us the following message(that was meant for her partner)and we think she's on the right track to answering this question. With her permission, we are including it in this article.
"Hmmmm, I don't know about you but this will be something that I will work on myself. I definitely go to other people first when I'm upset with you. Not to say that I don't go to you..just not right away. Partially and honestly because I feel that you always fight me on the ways that I feel at times and try to make me feel as if my feelings are wrong. So just maybe you can work on that and I will work on coming to you instead of venting to my choice friends."
Do you hear that this woman is being honest about how she feels when her partner doesn't listen and accept her feelings? Do you also hear that she is taking responsibility for her part in their relationship "dance"?
While both of us have vented in the past to our friends (and we're not denying that it can serve a very useful purpose at times), what we're advocating is getting to the root of the communication and trust problems that are probably there if you are choosing to go to friends first.
Friends are usually "safe" and although that's tough to admit, if you're going to them first, you may think or feel that your partner may not be "safe."
What the woman who mistakenly wrote to us was perhaps saying was that she didn't feel safe to go to her partner and tell him her feelings because she felt like she wouldn't be heard or understood. She went to her friends first because she knew they would listen to her and would allow her to vent.
In her email, she was asking that her partner listen to how she is feeling rather than dismissing those feelings or trying to "fix" her.
What we've found is that the very things that can help you take your relationship to the next level or improve it the most are often the things that can be the most scary or difficult.
Sometimes these things will require you to summon a great deal of inner strength or courage that you didn't know you had.
Sometimes taking your relationship to the next level or creating the kind of relationship that you want will require you to be open and vulnerable.
Sometimes taking your relationship to the next level requires learning to laugh at yourself and your situation.
The woman who mistakenly wrote to us was taking a risk by letting her
partner know that she wanted something more and was willing to do her
part to make it happen.
If you ever wonder whether allowing yourself to risk what might happen if you open up your heart one more time or a little further is worth it... our answer is YES.
Love is worth the risk.
Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including "Communication Magic" and "Creating Relationship Trust." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit:
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