There are 5 main things that go into building the kind of trust that will let you give your heart into another person’s care. Do you and your guy have all five?
Hi Claire, my boyfriend and I have been dating for 7 months now and are starting to talk about getting married. It’s weird though because I was always the one who was dying to tie the knot but now I think I’m getting cold feet? He’s such a beautiful, sweet man, and can talk anyone into anything lol. He always gets what he wants, and there are lots of women in line behind me if I don’t figure this out. I’m wondering if he’s talking me into getting married when I’m just not sure… Only a hunch, though. Can I make a decision about such an important thing on a freakin’ hunch?? — Giselle
Hi, Giselle. What you’re experiencing is inner conflict around whether or not you can trust your gorgeous, smooth-talking guy, and there’s a really good reason for that…
Some people may not talk so smoothly, but they DO things that give you a sense of comfort (which = higher trust).
When someone’s words and actions match 100%, that’s a person of deep integrity, and nearly everyone who encounters them feels a profound sense of trust. It’s one of the building blocks of trust.
5 Powerful Ways to Build Trust
Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about the very specific ways you can build trust. After each point, you’ll find a True/False question for both you and your boyfriend.
1. Listening and Understanding
- True or False: My boyfriend tries to understand before he tries to be understood.
- True or False: I try to understand before I try to be understood.
Integrity is when your words consistently match your actions and beliefs. People of high integrity also have a high level of trustworthiness.
- True or False: My partner’s actions match his words 75-100% of the time. When he says he will do something, I feel pretty confident he will. And the things he does are in line with his values and beliefs.
- True or False: My actions match my words 75-100% of the time. When I say I will do something, I almost always do it. And the things I do are in line with my values and beliefs.
3. Clear Personal Boundaries, Life Goals, and Expectations of Others
- True or False: My partner knows his own goals and boundaries, and is very clear in his expectations of me, and of others.
- True or False: I know my own own goals and boundaries, and I am very clear in what I expect of other people.
4. Knowing What Others Want and Need
You can learn what it takes to build up another person – what does each specific person value? What things can/will/do you do that make them feel loved? Long-term love relationships have absolutely figured this out!
- True or False: My partner does the “little things.” He knows what acts of love and kindness fill my emotional bank account, and he does them regularly.
- True or False: I know what acts of love and kindness fill my boyfriend’s emotional bank account, and I do them on a regular basis.
5. Being Responsible and Accountable
When you are trustworthy, you are responsible and accountable. And a big part of that means that when you mess up, you apologize and make things right.
- True or False: My partner will apologize when he screws up, and he always does his best to make it right.
- True or False: I can and do apologize when I screw up, and I do my best to make it right.
If you found yourself hesitating to circle “True” on any of the quiz questions, you need more time and work to build trust between you.
What to do next
So, now you know where your trust level is. You have a better idea of whether you trust him and WHY. You also know if YOU have a high or low trustworthiness level.
Your next step is to talk together about the “wobbly” areas the two of you have, and work on them together.
And give yourselves time. You can’t rush toward trust. It doesn’t work that way. But it can be built up, and it’s worth your time and energy.
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