On the first date, the most common scene in the western world is of two people, sitting across from each other, sizing each other up.
“Is this person different than the others?” At least, is he/she different than the others who hurt me or who never earned my trust?
Trust and faith in the other person is important for more reasons than you might think. Obviously, we want to be with someone who will be loyal to us and not sleep around (and there is more to loyalty than that). We want to have privileged rights with that special someone who wants the same with us.
When there is suspicion of the partner sleeping around, it usually wreaks havoc on the relationship. The one who is suspicious of the other feels hurt and insecure – whether warranted or unwarranted. This can cause the suspicious person to want to leave the marriage. It can also encourage them to behave in ways that could eventually cause the suspected person to want to end the relationship.
If the suspected partner is actually a cheater that could be a blessing in disguise for the suspicious partner. But if the suspected is actually faithful, a good or potentially great relationship could be lost.
Trust, But Verify
That is why it is so important to trust but verify – and to be trustworthy. Assume the best of the one you love, but also keep your wits about you. If a secretive activity or likely lies of the one you love preoccupy your mind, your trust for them will nosedive. That will often call into question the entirety of the relationship. Everything the other said, at this point, is up for scrutiny and doubt.
If trust is not solidly reestablished, the relationship will likely die a slow death. That is why it is important for both the suspicious and the suspected to communicate. What cannot happen is for the suspicions to continue without appropriately being addressed by the suspected. This assumes that the suspicions are truly warranted.
Whether they are warranted or not will be subject to an opinion without a confession or proof. But the suspected should be patient with the suspicious and should desire the return of trust. After all, it is disheartening to believe that your partner is cheating on you. The suspicious partner doesn’t want to feel the way they do.
Don’t Punish Your Partner For Being Truthful
This is especially true if sexual or emotional unfaithfulness occurred. If you punish your lover for telling you the truth, you will teach them to lie to you.
When your partner tells you something that is difficult to hear, be careful that you don’t punish them for telling you the truth. If being honest with you becomes too much of a negative, the chances are good that he or she will stop being truthful with you when the truth is bad news.
In that sense, you teach your partner to lie to you and potentially destroy your relationship’s intimacy. When your partner keeps secrets from you, intimacy is damaged because your partner is hiding from you.
Intimacy is being naked in front of your partner. Not just physically, though that is certainly part of it, but emotionally and in other ways as well. It is allowing your partner to see inside of you. When one of you starts keeping secrets, intimacy is greatly weakened.
The same is true of lying. One way that you can protect the intimacy in your relationship is to never punish your partner for telling you the truth. It will be difficult to avoid a negative response if the truth is painful to hear and it’s only human to react somewhat negatively. But do your absolute best to avoid attacking your partner for telling you or they will likely stop telling you the truth and will probably resort to lying in order to avoid being punished.
In order to have the most fulfilling relationship possible, be honest and expect honesty. Approach overcoming difficulties together and build an environment where openness is welcome and safe. Trust is the foundation on which your love is built and without it, relationships crumble. Devote yourself to allowing your marriage to be an open, understanding, and accepting relationship so that lies and secrets do not occur.
Steps to Building Trust in Your Marriage
- While revealing every secret to your spouse isn’t necessary, like hiding a surprise birthday party, the more that you hide, the less intimacy you will have in your marriage. Build intimacy by refusing to hide from your spouse. Only you will know if you are hiding and, therefore, your motivation should be to experience the unique closeness that can only come when you are open and transparent about the facts and feelings of your life with one special person – your spouse.
- When you ask your spouse to reveal a difficult truth to you, no matter how much it might hurt to hear, do not punish your spouse by yelling, insulting, pouting, withholding sex, or demonstrations of anger such as throwing something. If you do that, it will be more difficult for your spouse to be honest with you in the future if he/she believes the truth will hurt or anger you.
- If you have punished your spouse in the past for sharing a difficult truth with you, start now by refusing to punish the smaller things that he/she might tell you. For example, if your spouse forgets to pick up a certain grocery item. In fact, do the exact opposite of punishing. Reward your spouse by verbally thanking them if it makes sense, showing affection, or even making a playful joke about it. In time, your spouse will share more important and potentially intimate things with you to test your reaction. In time, if you don’t punish the truth, your spouse will share much more of it with you and your intimacy will grow.