The most important lesson I have learnt about developing trust in my own relationship is not that it depends on the actions of my spouse but that I have to engage at a level with him so that I have an abundance of material to base my trust on. I also have to give him an abundance of material to base his trust on. The trust that I am talking about is the one that creates the environment where there is no holding back, where you feel free to be who you are, where you give abundantly and freely without questioning if you are indeed doing too much for someone who may never do enough for you. No, I should not be in a relationship along with that question – one of us has to go.
You cannot get to this place in your relationship by just basing your trust on whether your partner is of good character or not. Sure, that too is very important but as important as that is that good character may not address areas that you yourself are unsure about, or uncomfortable with. How comfortable would you be with someone who responds to your ‘I love you’ with ‘Okay’? In order for you to find it desirable to keep on saying ‘I love you’ you have to be comfortable with the feedback, else you are going to be tempted to stop. Good character doesn’t fix that problem and in that sense does not give you the desired trust level.
You have to engage each other sufficiently at different levels – the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual – beyond just normal everyday interaction to develop the kind of trust that results in complete comfort. You have to be prepared to engage and engage deliberately to go beyond areas of you where normal every-day interaction would not necessarily take you.
What I am saying here is not for you to disregard any characteristic that foster trust in your relationship. We all know how this trust thing usually works – we meet someone, we have interactions upon interactions and from those interactions we derive feelings of comfort and trust or discomfort and mistrust. There is nothing wrong with that approach and of course it has its benefits.
However, when we meet someone that we like at a certain level, we so much want to trust them, so much want them to be who we would be comfortable with that we are more inclined then to overlook little warnings, little indications that are trying to tell us that discomfort is ahead.
Trust is all about comfort. If you are uncomfortable in your relationship you are going to have a really hard time trusting. The level of comfort you will need to feel to have an extraordinary relationship is not likely to result from a situation where you just interact with your partner from day to day or interact from day to day with someone you are interested in forming a relationship with. Sure you will derive some trust from that but all of us have this place in us that needs a bit more than that level of trust – we need complete comfort. Complete comfort if we are going to have an extraordinary relationship, complete comfort if we are going to allow ourselves to give fully in that relationship.
I knew if I wanted an extraordinary relationship then I would have to go beyond the usual run-of-the-mill advice on trust we are all so familiar with. It is not that this advice is useless or not pertinent. The problem is that, like with so many areas of an intimate relationship, the issues are a bit more complex than they appear and so the tools we employ to deal with them become so inadequate that eventually frustration and fear set in leading to all sorts of relationship dysfunction.
The last thing I wanted in my own marriage was to find that after I had listened and followed all the conventional wisdom advice about building trust, in the end I still had trust issues with my husband, I still had a problem in giving of myself the way I really desired. I knew I would never have the type of relationship I wanted if that was going to be the situation. I wanted a level of trust in my relationship that goes beyond fidelity, as important as that is. I wanted a level of trust that would allow me to be myself fully, to not be in fear of giving fully, and to be fully immersed in the extra-ordinary shared experiences an intimate relationship can offer.
Too often we get the fidelity aspect right but come up so short on the aspect of the relationship that creates the environment which allows us to share and give with abundance, with no holding back – being completely comfortable in that shared vulnerable space which an intimate relationship needs to function properly. Because, yes, being in an intimate relationship makes you vulnerable. The only way to decrease that vulnerability to the point of insignificance is to markedly increase the sense of comfort; and the only way to increase that sense of comfort is to be more deliberate in the processes you employ in building trust in your relationship, rather than just relying on your normal day to day interactions with your partner.
My objective in this book, is to share with you ideas that will get you beyond the usual rudimentary understanding of trust and to a place where you will experience the trust that will give you the freedom and confidence to turn up fully in your relationship; a place where you will feel free to be who you are without inhibitions, a place where you can grow and experience parts of you that fill your heart with a sense of abundance, because your own sense of abundance will not come from what you get from someone else but from realizing how much you have to give.
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