|10 Crucial and Surprising
Steps to Build Trust
1. Be predictable
When do seeds of suspicion emerge? When
one begins to think, Whats up? Why is he doing that? Hes
never done that before? That is so unlike him? He loses 30 pounds, buys a
new wardrobe and comes home late from work. He changes his patterns. His
behavior becomes unpredictable. You get the picture? Any movement away from
predictable behavior can become suspect and trust can deteriorate.
Focus on acting predictably if you need
to build trust. Be consistent in what you do.
This doesnt mean you must be boring.
If there is a twinkle in your eye and a dose of spontaneity every so often,
for goodness sakes be spontaneous and fun loving. But, be spontaneous
consistently! Be true to who you have always been and be that consistently,
whoever you tend to be!
2. Inform your significant other when
you become unpredictable.
No one goes through life the same person.
We all make shifts and changes. Frankly sometimes we may be fairly clueless
about what is happening and where we are going. Those times may be very intense
and we do some silly things or make some downright dumb decisions. Life gets
can get very squirrelly and unpredictable. (I have a favorite phrase: Gold
is refined through intense heat.) Growth in an individual, marriage or family
often is accompanied by a little chaos.
Welcome these shifts, for there is a
part of you searching for something better/different/richer/deeper, but for
heavens sake, inform your partner of what you are experiencing. Say,
I really dont know what is going on in me right now, but Im
moving in a different direction. Be a little patient with me while I figure
this out. I might do some silly things, but my intent is not to harm you
or scare you. Accept some of my wondering and wandering and please be there
for me? I may need to run some of this by you every so often!
can you do in one minute, right now, that will recapture the passion
in your relationship?
3. Make sure your words match the
Mean what you say and say what you mean.
When your partner hears one thing in your words but your tone of voice, body
language and facial expressions are really saying something else, you open
the relationship to some crazy making days. Which message is she to believe?
This can waste a tremendous amount of energy and she learns not to trust
part of what you are saying.
Heres a very simple but common
example. You are getting ready to go to a formal dinner. Your wife comes
to you and says, How do I look? (And shes wearing a dress
you dont particularly like and her hair is pulled back in a way that
turns you off.)
Not to spoil the evening you enthusiastically
say, You look great. You dont really mean it and a part
of her knows you really dont mean it. But, you leave it at that.
This might not seem like a big deal
we all have done something similar but if trust is shaky to begin
with, it is even shakier now.
Heres how to match the words with
the nonverbal: I think you are a beautiful person. I want you to know
that. I love you dearly and it will be wonderful to have you by my side tonight.
Others will see your beauty. (As you say this, you look into her eyes as
you put your hands around her waist.)
Shes not concerned so much with
how she looks but is expressing a need for affirmation. Shes not talking
about her dress or hair, but about wanting to know the evening is going to
go just fine. You respond to the real message.
You can take this one step further, if
you like. At some point you might bring up her need for affirmation and talk
about that. Ask her is there is anything you can say or do so that need is
Trust is awareness of the intent beneath
the obvious message and responding to that!
4. Believe the other person is
I hear this phrase very often: But,
I dont want to hurt the him. A couple things are at play here.
First, she may not have the skill of confronting the other with the truth
in a way that brings reconciliation and understanding. She believes truth
telling is destructive or entails some sort of drama. Neither is true. The
truth is never destructive and can be conveyed in loving ways. (With that
said, what we believe to be the truth may indeed be a distorted perception
that fits our personal needs.)
Or, she may see the other person as a
wimp; someone she believes cannot handle rigorous personal confrontation.
She doesnt trust that the other personal has the internal strength
or stamina or skills to be in a relationship of mutual respect and equality.
The other person picks up on this mistrust and does what he does (feigns
inadequacy and incompetence) to avoid the personal confrontation as well.
A dance is acted out.
Believe and know in your heart that the
other person, somewhere and somehow, beneath the games, has the internal
strength and capacity to handle anything. Such trust builds trust in the
other person and begins to pervade the relationship. Hey, she thinks
I can handle this! Hmmmm, this is mighty good! I CAN engage her and be truly
you call your partner, they will become.
5. Be very very careful of keeping
If he knows there is an elephant in the
room and doesnt talk about it, the elephant takes up tremendous space
in the relationship. It takes energy for him to walk around it. She may not
see the elephant but knows he is bending his neck to look around something.
She will be curious, mildly disturbed, have feelings but no words to wrap
around them, might wonder if something is wrong with her or struggle with
trusting her intuition (her intuition KNOWS an elephant is there.) And, when
we cant trust the messages that come from within us, we find it very
difficult to trust the messages of the other person.
Secrets demand tremendous energy and
erode trust. The relationship is doomed never to experience wall-banging
intimacy. This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging. She is not so
much concerned about him having sex with someone else as she is about the
betrayal, lack of trust, the secrets and deception that are crazy making
and energy draining.
Now, please. Im not saying that
you sit your partner down and divulge the 23 secrets of your illicit past
behaviors. If you have resolved those, i.e. forgiven yourself, understand
those behaviors, learned from them and were able to use them to make the
internal shifts necessary for your personal development, they do not qualify
as an elephant. Hopefully, in the course of growing intimacy in your relationship
you may want to share some of those events as you disclose to your partner
where you were and where you are now. You do so without emotional
However, if a secret takes up room, i.e.
still has an emotional charge and holds you back from disclosing more and
more of yourself in the growing stages of intimacy, you have a problem that
needs to be addressed with your partner.
6. Let YOUR needs be known - loudly.
Be a little - no, be a lot - self-centered.
(Be self-centered, but not selfish!)
Heres a problem I run into almost
every day. He is backing away (perhaps attached to work, another person,
etc.). She feels the trust and intimacy eroding, is scared and wants to
win him back. So she begins an all out effort to work on
the marriage. She invites him to do so as well. He may reluctantly
agree. She blasts full throttle ahead trying to be nice and meet
every need he ever said he had. Shes going to fill his tank with
Doesnt work. Her eyes are riveted
on him. He feels smothered or maybe even resentful: Why
is she doing this NOW! Shes hopeful, but eventually that turns
to resentment. Her underlying motive if I meet his needs, he will
feel good and meet mine just doesnt work. Its perceived
as manipulation, which it is. Of course, he doesnt say anything. After
all, how do you get angry with someone who is so nice and
Trust disintegrates under a blanket of
Start with your eyes focused on YOU.
What do YOU need? Explore your personal need system. Dig beneath the surface.
And then say to him: I need
x, y and z. I would like to talk to
you about them. I would like us to work out a way so my needs are met. Are
you open to that?
He is empowered to say yes or no. Or,
he may say, What about my needs? You respond, I am very
interested in hearing what is important to you, certainly.
Have you ever been around someone who
stated clearly what they needed/wanted?
Didnt you respect that person?
Because you knew where he stood, and
therefore where you stood, didnt that interaction move toward a trusting
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7. State who YOU are loudly
It is very sad to see those in relationships
of emotional investment hold back from letting the other person know who
they really are.
You build trust in a relationship by
entrusting your SELF to the other person.
This sounds easy but I find it difficult
for most to pull off. Most of us have a difficult time declaring our SELF.
For one thing, if youre like most of us, you havent given much
thought to what it is that makes YOU truly YOU. Dont you feel like
you glide through life on autopilot, focusing on tasks, goals, accomplishments,
problems and the external realities?
Dont you tend to focus on those
things out there or that person out there? Youre concerned about what
he is thinking, how he is responding to you, whether he likes you, whether
he will be an obstacle and where he will fit in your life?
Your conversations may be pleasant but
fairly superficial and bluntly, boringly inane. You converse about
thing/relationships/events out there. You are reluctant to share your thoughts,
values, and impressions or take a stand. This doesnt destroy trust.
But it doesnt create it either.
And, if you do take a stand it may serve
the purpose of protecting you or entrenching you as you react against someone.
This more often than not creates trust barriers.
Take some time to reflect on your standards.
What are your standards for a relationship? What standards do you hold for
yourself? What do you order your life around? What are the 4 top values in
your life? What are some themes that you live by? What are you known
begin letting significant
people in your life know.
They will respect you. They will know
you more deeply. They will thank you for the opportunity to know you. They
will see you as a person of character.
They will trust you. They can count on
you. They know exactly what is behind and within you.
8. Learn to say NO!
Sometimes you need to say NO! Often it
is crucial to say NO!
Saying NO sets boundaries around you
that protects you from being hurt or venturing into territory that will be
destructive to your heart and soul. You draw a line. You stop tolerating
that which drains energy and makes you less than YOU. You refuse to allow
the destructive behaviors of others to destroy you. You build a moat around
the core of your life.
You do this by informing the other person
of what they are doing. You request they stop. If they dont stop, you
demand they stop. If they dont stop you walk away without a snide remark,
eye-roll or comment.
To some this seems harsh, but saying
NO is RESPECTED.
Fear is the basis of mistrust. If you
fear that someone will hurt you and believe you have no recourse but to endure
that hurt, fear will prevail. How can you trust when you are in fear?
Saying NO, protecting yourself, sends
a message to the other person that you will not live in fear. This usually
triggers a response of respect from the other person. After all, if you can
protect yourself and refuse subjugation to that which is destructive, will
not the other person come to trust you and see you as a person who just might
protect him/her from harm as well?
every relationship has communication problems or challenges of one kind or
9. Charge Neutral
When your significant other expresses
something powerfully, charge neutral.
Most of us are afraid of strong feelings
or points of contention in a relationship. I commonly hear people respond
by defending themselves (to a perceived attack), explaining themselves,
counter-attacking, shutting down, or walking away. Of course, the relationship
remains stuck in this quagmire of mistrust and fear.
Rather than reacting and having your
feelings flowing all over the place or shutting down, practice charging
Communicate calmness, not only in your
tone of voice but also in how you carry your body. Dont speak with
a charge to your voice. Control your voice! Say what you must say, state
the truth and do it directly and calmly.
You can do this, once you master your
fears. It will dramatically change the flow of the relationship.
You will be able to point out something
big, without making a big deal out of it. You will be in control of you.
This not only feels great, but your partner trusts that you wont fly
or fall apart.
You will experience your personal power.
This makes you very attractive. Dont people really trust someone who
knows their personal power and how to use it for the welfare of themselves
Your partner will love the fact that
she can trust you consistently to operate from your quiet center,
remain engaged, not back down and speak the truth with conviction and calmness.
10. Dig into the dirt.
Relationships of emotional investment,
by their nature, bring trials, tribulations, fears, chaos, turmoil, change,
stretching and growth. They become the grist from which your life is shaped
Be fearless when faced with turmoil,
upset, crisis, questions, and fears. When the time is right, seek them out.
Move toward the frightening unknown. Dig into the dirt of your relationship
and uncover the treasures. Do you really TRUST that this can happen?
The purpose of your relationship is not
to make you happy. Do you realize this? Happiness may be an outcome, but
your other is given to you to move you to where you really want to be.
Obstacles, trials and moments of pain
are given as lessons on which you intentionally write the script of your
life individually and together. Embrace the difficult. Trust that in this
embracing you will find more of your true self.
Trust that you are given the resources
and capacity to face what you and your significant other are to face.
Once you are able to believe and trust
these ultimate purposes, trusting your significant other will be that much
you really been passionately loved by a man before?
About the author: Dr. Huizenga, The
Infidelity Coach, is a respected Marriage and Family Therapist with over
two decades of clinical experience, study and research. He is an expert on
infidelity and extramarital affairs and author of Break Free
From the Affair a groundbreaking and best selling e-book
offering hard-hitting strategies for 7 kinds of affairs. He offers personal
coaching and resources for those facing infidelity that result in marriage
problems and possible divorce. Visit his website:
Free From the Affair
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