We all want to be in a loving relationship, where we totally trust our partner. Dr. Gottman’s research has found that trust is built over time and in small moments. He calls these sliding glass door moments. This is where you can turn towards your partner or turn away. For example, you come home after a long day at the office and your wife would like to talk to you. You can either, listen to her and console her or you can ignore her. At that moment, it may not have the biggest impact on the relationship. But, if you keep ignoring her or turning away over time this can hurt the relationship and decrease trust. Also, when you say I will take the dog for a walk and you don’t, then this is also turning away. This is the build up to betrayal, and I mean having an affair. What we have found with the research is it’s all the, so called, small betrayals that can ruin a relationship. Here are four helpful and researched tips to build and keep trust in your relationship:

  1. Attunement:  This is when a couple has a deep understanding of each other. They can lovingly express their knowledge of each other. This is when real intimacy exists. For example, some couples learn to parrot the right words but don’t have a profound understanding of them. It’s like learning to memorize French sentences, if you don’t understand what they mean then you aren’t speaking French.
  2. A love map of your partner’s inner world. This is where you have a detailed description of your partner. What their partner cares about, what makes him or her sad, or happy? Do you carry positive energy for your partner? A deeper connection conveys respect for what makes your partner tick.
  3. Me-ness vs. We-ness:  Happy couples sense they are “in this together.” They often, have similar values, beliefs and goals. This creates we-ness in the relationship. They both agree they have a really good marriage and remember the good times in great detail. They enjoy one another’s company, even doing simple house chores together.
  4. Transparency:  Your life should be an open book with your partner. You shouldn’t feel like you have to hide anything. When you ask your partner, “Where have you been?” They should answer without hesitation. There are no secrets in a loving and trusting relationship. 
To learn more about trust and betrayal, read What Makes Love Last? by Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver. Many years of research have gone into writing this book. If after reading this book, you decide you need couples counseling, then please call me for a consultation at (650) 892-0357. I have been trained to use the Gottman Method for Couples.

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