Trust is a fundamental part of every healthy and happy relationship. In relationships, the best way to convey trust is with communication—it is the best way to let your partner know how you are feeling. However, trust is a process that takes time. Once you have earned someone’s trust, you can then maintain it with communication and honesty.
If you are looking to improve trust in your relationship, try a couple of these exercises with your partner to strengthen your bond.
1. Tell your partner a scary secret.
No doubt you and your partner have shared amazing moments and memories where you have shared a part of yourself with them and they were happy you did. It is very likely that there are still things that you have chosen not to share with your partner, and a great way to build trust in your relationship is to share one of your scary secrets. Your honestly and vulnerability will strengthen the bond and the trust in your relationship.
2. Make eye contact with your partner for 3 minutes.
This may seem like a silly or intimidating trust exercise, but the openness of the activity will emotionally connect you and your partner. Set a timer for 3 minutes, sit on the couch and get comfortable, and then gaze into each other’s eyes. You may laugh a little, but that will only make the activity more fun!
3. Make your actions match your words.
The most important part of trust is consistency. The best way to create a trusting bond between you and your partner is to be reliable and honest. Remember that trust cannot be built in a day—this is a trust exercise that you can commit to for your full relationship. A good way to build this trust is to set a date night every week, and always show up on time. This shows your partner that you are committed, consistent and reliable.
4. Tell each other why you love each other.
Often people in long term relationships can start to take each other for granted. They don’t mean to do it, but it results in their partners feeling rejected, lonely—and less trusting. Counteract this with gratitude by taking it in turns to tell each other why you fell in love with each other – and why you are still in love with each other. You can either set a timer for a few minutes each or you can each list 5 things about the other. Make sure you choose a method that you are both comfortable with.
5. Ask for forgiveness.
No one is perfect, and often people do little things during relationships that they feel guilty about, like telling white lies. Squash your guilt by opening up to your partner about anything you feel bad about, and then communicate calmly to forgiveness. If you feel nervous, remember that opening up creates trust, and keeping secrets can destroy trust.
6. Ask how you can restore trust.
Once you have asked for forgiveness, you should ask your partner “How can I make up for it?” This shows your partner that you are more than sorry; you also want to show you that you know you made a mistake, but you are invested in improving your relationship. Listen carefully to your partner’s response to make sure you are both on the same page.
7. Say “I love you.”
After you have had a serious conversation with your partner, it is always beneficial to tell them that you love them and that they are important to you. It shows that the discussion was a positive one, and that nothing has changed. Remember that these conversations can be emotionally draining, so it is very likely your partner is craving affection.