Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Build Trust in a Marriage

photo by Derek Bennett

Trust cannot be bought, only earned. Simple acts that generate trust, repeated over time, are the building blocks for a strong and healthy marriage.  Here's some advice for couples to build trust and respect in their union. When the cement of love and commitment are added, the edifice can be formidable.

Make a Marriage Work

Nothing sabotages respect and trust more than by a person failing to keep his or her word. If a husband or wife promises to do something, he or she must follow through even if it becomes inconvenient. Promises must be kept. If someone has to break one, there should be a good reason, clear communication about it, and something to compensate for the failure.

Also, husbands and wives need to be careful when discussing private and even not-so-private details about each other with others. They must especially refrain from sharing embarrassing information. If anyone finds it difficult not to gossip about their spouse, they may find a certain technique quite useful: pretend the loved one is sitting right there, listening in to the conversation. If they wouldn't say the thing in front of his or her face, they should withhold sharing the damaging information, or else reword it in a way that protects the loved one's reputation.
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Let a spouse know how appreciated they are with sincere praise if they look attractive, have completed a task or chore, or are exhibiting a good character trait. Compliments that are heartfelt mean much to a loved one. Better yet, compliment a spouse behind their back and let them hear secondhand the good things said. It is essential, however, to have no ulterior motive to manipulate. People can sense when they are being falsely flattered, and it will breed resentment.

How to Help a Marriage

To build one's marriage, don't place a spouse in the center of one's life. This may seem like a contradiction, but the healthiest marriages avoid idolizing each other. A perch on a pedestal can be awfully uncomfortable as the pose can't be held forever. People are human and fallible, and icons come crashing down all the time. Even if a wife is as beautiful as a goddess, she is still human, and a wise husband will be realistic and cut her some slack. He will feel less disappointment when she inevitably fails to meet his expectations.

Instead, center the marriage on core values such as love, truth, respect, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, patience and hope. Let these values act as guiding principles, especially during times of conflict, and trust will be cultivated in the marriage. Healthy relationships with others is an art, and the most intimate relationship is with one's spouse. Building trust takes determination but the rewards of mutual love, security and having a peaceful home in which to recharge one's batteries are quite worth the effort.

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