Trust is a topic that comes up every day with my clients. Usually when we talk about trust in their marriages we’re talking about overcoming lies or infidelity. They usually want to know if they can trust their spouse again. Or they ask “How can I trust her again?”. Those are big questions and of course very impactful ones too. That kind of trust is important to any healthy and committed marriage, but there’s another kind of trust that is equally important. Being able to trust your spouse emotionally.
Emotional trust is being able to trust your partner with your heart. It’s knowing that they wouldn’t intentionally hurt you. You can feel safe being yourself, expressing your ideas and opinions without the fear of being degraded, laughed at or rejected. You can see how important it is to have emotional trust and maybe you recognize how that is missing.
Maybe you are wondering how you will know that you can trust your partner with your heart. Here are ways that might ring true for you:
Emotional trust means your partner will choose you.
Choosing your partner and their needs over other available options even when it’s not convenient or comfortable. This includes choosing you and your needs over their career, family, friends, and even over themselves and their needs.
Choosing your partner means having their back and genuinely caring that their needs are also being met in the relationship.
If one of your family members says something derogatory about your spouse and you don’t defend them, they could feel as though you chose that family member over them.
Emotional trust means your partner will keep their promises.
Keeping our promises and commitments in our relationships is one way that we demonstrate emotional safety to our partners. When we make a commitment to be home to assist with a special project but one partner chooses to work late we’ve now betrayed our partner and taught them that we can’t be trusted to keep our word.
Emotional trust means your preferences will be honored.
We all have specific wishes and preferences in our lives, some more important than others. for instance if your kids nutrition is really important to you you would expect that your spouse would feed them whole and nutritious food even when you’re not present it’s a simple way to build emotional trust knowing what’s important to your partner and then honoring that preference even when they’re not looking even when they’re not there
Emotional trust means you won’t betray your partner through your behavior.
Our choices, actions, and behaviors are how we best demonstrate that our partners can trust us emotionally. When we withhold love or affection we’re betraying our spouse. When we shut down and stop talking and sharing our feelings because we’re angry, we’re betraying them. When we treat our partners with disrespect or prolonged coldness, we’re betraying them.
Trust is a cornerstone of relationships but as you can see, trust goes way beyond knowing that your partner won’t lie or cheat. It also means that you can trust your partner with your heart. It means that you know your partner will choose you time and again. It means they will keep their promises to you and honor your preferences. It also means that your partner won’t readily betray you through their actions and behaviors.
Emotional trust is just as important so that we can readily open our hearts without the fear of betrayal.
Maybe you recognize ways your spouse has not shown you that you can emotionally trust them. Maybe now, you can see how you may not have shown your spouse that they can emotionally trust you. If you are ready to take the next step forward for yourself and find other ways to create change in your marriage and see if it can feel good again, I invite you to schedule a complimentary Exploratory Session with me.