Trust in a relationship isn’t just about answering the question “will this person cheat on me?” Trust is also about whether a person believes that his or her partner will provide experiences that reflect back a sense of self worth and interpersonal value.
As stated previously, each interaction is an opportunity to show concern and love or to express apathy or resentment. Whether we know it or not, we are in constant communication with our partners, continually reflecting back messages that may remain only subconscious to us but are entirely felt by the person to whom we are communicating.
Trust, in this context, is a daily, conscious act.
As part three in the marriage series, I am sharing four research-based strategies for building a healthy marriage: functional conflict, scanning for positive interaction opportunities, affirming one another’s successes, and building a trusting environment.
For each of these four, I will summarize the research and suggestions from the experts, with a particular focus on the work of Dr. John Gottman, an influential researcher in the field of marriage.
I have also created resources for couples to inventory their current use of these strategies and look for opportunities to grow together. Each strategy will have a short quiz couples can take and score. These quizzes are exploratory tools; they are not definitive measures of a couple’s health. I hope that they will be useful in creating discussion, exploration and possibly growth; that is the only goal.