No relationship can thrive without trust. It keeps couples together; it both cements and molds their love. Trust is as challenging to maintain as it is easy to break.
Relationship coach Jordan Gray defines “trust as having an underlying belief in the reliability and consistency of someone.”
A true trusting relationship is built on consistency and reliability, nurtured and tested through the years. No matter what your relationship’s trust level is like with your partner, there’s always a way for you to feel more connected, to trust them more, and to deepen your love.
Here are trust-building exercises for couples, according to Relationship Coach Jordan Gray.
1. “20 minutes of tenderness”
Gray believes that communicating is only secondary to connecting. Before going deeper into more complex exercises, it’s important for couples to connect physically.
You can choose how to do this specific exercise, as long as it’s something that makes you both feel cared for and comfortable. You can cuddle or spoon in bed or on your couch. The important thing is to be sweet and loving towards one another.
After enjoying 20 minutes of tenderness, it’s time for you to come clean. Over the years, there will be minor offenses that go unnoticed. It’s important to have uninterrupted sharing occasionally to take ownership of your mistakes, regardless of how inane or inconsequential they may seem. Truly trusting and loving your partner means being mature enough to take responsibility for your actions and not assigning blame.
Sincerely apologize for raising your voice that one time they lovingly asked you to pick up after yourself, for instance. Did you snap at them when you were cranky and hungry? Owning and apologizing for simple things shows your partner how much you value them.
3. Share something you’ve never said out loud
Tell your partner a big, scary secret–even if it’s dark or embarrassing. It can be a childhood trauma, or an insecurity you’ve never voiced out. Opening up about it will free you and it will also show your partner how much you trust him or her.
It can be as simple as shoplifting as a child or deeper, like cheating on a partner. Think of anything you’ve been keeping from family and friends. The act of making yourself vulnerable is a powerful thing and an effective way to strengthen your love.
4. Follow through with the little things
Being reliable and consistent takes years and no exercise can instantly assure you or your partner of this. Instead, Gray suggests partners share what helps them feel the safest and most loved and commit to do those things on a regular basis, as best as they can.
It can be weekly dates or helping out with the chores. It can be promising to give them a massage at least once every other week.
The important thing is to be seen/felt/experienced as reliable, consistent, and trustworthy.
5. Say you’re sorry
Are there things you still feel guilty about? It doesn’t matter if it’s been years, sincerely apologizing shows your partner you don’t want any resentment to build up between you.
It’s also important to forgive yourself and not dwell on past mistakes. For instance, did you embarrass yourself in front of their relatives when you lost your temper? Tell your partner about the memory, how it makes you feel, and ask them how it made them feel. You might get an unexpected answer and find out it wasn’t a big deal to them at all.
6. Spend 5 minutes of loving eye contact
For this exercise, get comfortable and set a timer to 5 minutes. During this time, stare deeply into each other’s eyes. It’s okay to giggle if it makes you silly. What’s important is keep eye contact.
Aside from the obvious emotional connection, soft eye contact can also bring other emotions to the surface. Gray likens this to checking your relationship’s “pulse”. If this is difficult for either of you to do, then it might mean you have to re-evaluate your level of comfort and intimacy.
7. Play the “Gratitude game”
Deep within many of us, there are fears and insecurities of being rejected or abandoned. Our issues throughout childhood and adolescence can follow us into adulthood. Being in a relationship can either resolve or amplify them.
Overcome your fear of being left by your partner by playing the Gratitude game. Remind each other how much you love one another. You can cite specific things you love about your partner, taking turns, or setting a timer. You can each give ten things or just keep going, if you feel like it.
Reassuring one another of your love and appreciation will strengthen your bond and help you hold on tighter to one another through life’s storms.
READ: 5 Ways to bring back the trust you lost in your marriage
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