Do you trust your partner? Even when we say no, we often don’t consider exactly what it is we don’t trust about them.
This goes beyond cheating, by the way, which is what most people automatically think of when it comes to trust in a marriage. Having a lack of trust anywhere in a relationship creates disappointment, disconnection, and a lack of intimacy with your spouse.
What areas of your marriage do you need to reconsider when it comes to trust? And how do you resolve it when you find that there’s mistrust?
In this episode of The Loving Truth, you’ll learn about the different types of trust to consider inside your relationship. I’ll give you examples of how these mistrustful issues can affect your marriage and teach you what you can do about it.
Listen to the Full Episode:
What You’ll Learn In This Episode:
00:46 – Why trust is important inside of relationships
4:53 – The biggest type of trust issue I see in my community
7:16 – How lack of physical trust doesn’t always show up as physical abuse
9:03 – The third type of trust that can erode your relationship
10:21 – An area of trust to keep an eye on even if you’re in the process of divorcing
12:43 – Other areas to look at and uncover any trust issues
Featured On Different Types of Trust You Need to Consider in Your Marriage
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Welcome to The Loving Truth Podcast where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host, relationship expert, and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope.
Sharon Pope: Hello, loves. This is Sharon Pope and this is The Loving Truth. I want to dive into the idea of trust today and talk about the different types of trust. Now, I know when we start talking about trust in the context of relationships, I think that most people begin with the idea of “Do I trust them to not cheat?”
But when you start thinking about trust, it doesn't take you too long before you start peeling back the layers and going, “Wait a minute, there's more to trust than just do I think that they'll be monogamous or not.” Now first, let's talk about why trust is important inside of relationships. I don't want to breeze by that.
Trust is the stability and the foundation of a healthy relationship. We have to feel safe in our most intimate relationships in order to be fully honest, to be fully ourselves, to feel whatever it is that we're going to feel, to be real with our partners, and to be vulnerable with our partners because there is no path to intimacy that doesn't walk through the land of vulnerability.
We have to be able to trust our partners in order to be able to go there with them. This is what leads to closeness and connection that everyone seeks. We all want to feel connected and close in our most intimate relationships. But we can't do that if we don't have trust.
Trust will literally calm our central nervous system because it provides a veil of safety. We're safe to be honest, we're safe to feel whatever, and without it, then the relationship is going to lack the stability that it needs in order to be able to thrive. It might be able to exist without trust. There are lots of couples that remain together that don't trust each other but that doesn't mean that they're happy. It doesn't mean that they're connected. It doesn't mean that they have intimacy.
Trust cannot exist where there is dishonesty, where there's actively keeping secrets from each other, and where there's gaslighting. Those two things cannot exist simultaneously.
Let's say you have a partner who lies a lot or keeps a lot of secrets, there might come a time that you have to say to them, “Look, you either are going to keep your secrets or you're going to keep this marriage because there is no path to you keeping a bunch of secrets, us never trusting each other, and then creating a healthy relationship. You can't get there from there. If I can't ever have a healthy relationship with you because I can't ever trust you, then what are we doing? We know how this story is going to end, we might as well just base that ending now.”
But that's having some very direct conversations about the choices that we're making that are eroding trust inside of our relationships. Now, I want to tell you a story about a client. This is a woman in my membership, and she was struggling to trust her husband. She had the thought, “I'm not safe and I can't be vulnerable.”
I asked her to give me an example. She gave me an example of her husband being out in the garage doing some DIY project and she was helping him. Whatever it was that they were doing, she was trying to help and she was trying to hold something in place. I guess she wasn't holding it correctly and he got mad and started yelling at her.
She noticed that what she did when he started yelling was she withdrew. She went within herself and got really, really quiet. It was interesting to her because she's like, “I didn't get angry and start yelling back. I didn't get sad and start crying. I just withdrew. I went within myself. I just got smaller and went inside. That I think is what has led to so much disconnection over such a long period of time.”
That was one example. But when you do that, when you blow up over someone not holding something correctly who's just trying to be helpful to you, then I promise you, there are a thousand other examples most of which she's probably written off, forgotten about, or blocked out of her memory so that she doesn't have to deal with it.
Of course, she doesn't trust him. But what kind of trust does she not have for him? Now the biggest one that I see in my community is really a matter of emotional trust. Do I trust you with my heart? Do I trust you with my innermost thoughts and feelings? This is what starts to erode when we are hurt repeatedly by our partners when they get mad and start yelling for no reason or for very little reason.
Or if I'm constantly misunderstood or if I'm degraded. If I'm constantly degraded or rejected, how in the world am I going to trust you with my heart? The only way to fix that is to change how we're showing up in the relationship because if our degradation of our partners makes our partner not trust us emotionally with our heart, we don't have much to build on.
I'm going to share my innermost or even just my basic thoughts, feelings with you, I'm going to walk beside you during this life in my most intimate relationship without being able to be fully me because I don't trust you? There's nowhere to go from there. That's one that is so, so toxic inside of our relationships, and it is fixable. But we can't fix anything that we're not willing to see so we have to be able to see and that means we have to be able to communicate.
For instance, with this client. When you get mad and yell at me like that, it causes me to withdraw. When I withdraw, that creates more and more disconnection. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to withdraw anymore. I'm going to let you know that when you do that, that is not okay.
Eventually, you are going to honor that boundary or you're not and I'm going to make some decisions based upon how you react and respond. Because for us to keep doing it the same way where you get angry and I shut down so that then you can feel right and a little righteous, but never have to address your bad behavior, that's something I'm not willing to keep doing. When you start having those direct conversations, you can make real headway in your marriage, where they're struggling with the marriage.
Now let's talk about the second area of trust. The second area of trust is let's call it physical trust, like trust with my physical body. What I mean by that is, “Am I safe in your presence?” Now, not surprisingly, this gets eroded when there's anger and rage. By the way, it doesn't have to be physical. It can be vocal. It can be a lot of anger and yelling.
I've had women who are in a relationship where that shows up pretty frequently. They wouldn't say that they're in an abusive relationship, but I always ask them, “If those words were punches, now are you in an abusive relationship?” Even if there are just angry words pointed in my direction on a consistent basis, I am not going to feel physically safe in your presence.
Even if you're like, “Oh, he would never hit me,” well, he would never hit you, he would just stand there and yell at you, degrade you, call you names, make it personal, or whatever. None of it is helpful and none of it creates trust. Your nervous system is never going to feel safe in the presence of the person who is physically, verbally, and mentally abusing you. That just makes sense.
The fix to that is to be much more present and to be much more attentive. Not you to them, but how they show up in the relationship, or you depending on who's doing that destructive behavior. That's the part that has to change. But how you address it and the boundaries you set around it is also what probably needs to change.
The third one would be trusting their decision-making. Now this doesn't mean that you agree with every decision that your partner makes. But it means you trust how they make decisions, how they think through it. Even if it's not the decision you would make, you trust that they know what's best for them, or from their perspective and you don't sweat that too much.
Where this gets eroded is when you're making major decisions or you're making decisions based solely on really heightened emotions that then go horribly wrong. That's when your partner is not going to trust your decision-making. But you can fix that, you can remedy that by having more open, transparent conversations, really talking through it, and thinking through it, and maybe even expressing, let's say that you did all this thinking, you didn't even talk about it with your partner.
But when it came time and you made a decision, and it came time to express that decision to your partner, you were able to articulate, “Well, here are the things I thought through and here's why I made the decision I made,” that alone can help build trust in terms of the relationship, in terms of decision-making inside the relationship.
Now the rest of these are going to be fairly straightforward. Financial trust is something that we need to talk about. By the way, it's something we need to talk about way before we ever get married because once you get married, your finances are interlocked. If your partner takes on $100,000 in debt, that now becomes joint marital debt in most states in most countries.
Now that's not universally true, I'm sure, but that is really important. I once had a client where she decided that she was going to divorce and when they moved towards separation, her soon-to-be ex went out and bought a brand-new camper and a new truck.
I mean, that was like $150,000 that he just took on, and because they weren't divorced yet, that now became joint debt. Financial trust has to be there. We have to trust that our partner is not going to empty the bank account with day trading, with gambling, or by using drugs and spending your life savings on drugs. Financial trust needs to be there. This is solvable as well.
A client I'm working with right now does not trust her husband with money. What ends up happening is that she's doling out an allowance and it sets up this like parent-child thing, which is never healthy for a marriage. If you're in the mother role and he's in the child role, that's not hot. There's no path to intimacy there. It's not setting up a good dynamic.
She's thinking about and trying to wrap her mind around, “What if we separated finances? What if we had these buckets where there's mine, there's yours, and there's ours, and the ours is what pays the bills and the commitments that we have made as a family?
“But then we each have this other money that we're able to do as we see fit, and there's no permission slips or maybe put boundaries around it like anything above $1,000, we're going to talk about as a couple before we just make that purchase or make that decision. But anything under $1,000, if you have it in your account, knock yourself out.”
That's one. Another one is trust with the kids. Do you trust your partner to take care of the kids? Would you go away for a weekend and not worry? You might trust them implicitly to take care of the kids, but not trust them with your heart. That's what I mean when I talk about there are these different kinds of trusts. It doesn't have to be blanket trust, it's lovely when you trust someone implicitly across all the ways.
But sometimes you trust them in some areas and not trust them in other areas. Those are the areas we need to pay some attention to. Another area of trust is “Are you going to keep my confidence when I share with you some of those vulnerable parts of me? Are you going to go tell your family about that? Are you going to have my back when your family says something bad about me or whatever?” I'm just using that as an example.
But there's trust related to you being my person, keeping my confidences, and having my back, and that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It's important to define what having my back looks like, but that's a trust element.
Then the last one is another biggie, which is do I trust that you're not going to intentionally hurt me? That relates to the “Would you ever cheat on me?” Can I trust you with people that you might be attracted to? Can I trust you around them that you're not going to cross that line because we made a commitment? Can I trust you that you're not going to betray the relationship in some way, or actively hurt me?
Those are the ways that I want you to start thinking about trust because sometimes we just will blanketly say, “I don't trust my husband?” But dive into that. What don't you trust? Where do you trust? Is there anywhere that you do trust him? Do you trust him with money, you trust him with the kids, and you trust that he won't cheat, but you don't trust him with your heart or you don't trust him with your physical presence? You don't feel like your nervous system calms down when you're with him physically?
These are the things that we've got to start having more detailed conversations about but we can't have those conversations if we don't understand it. I hope that this was super helpful for you to give some new context and some new information as it relates to trust because a lack of trust is what is creating a lot of disappointment, the disconnection, and the lack of intimacy inside of our relationships and I want you to have that. Alright, until next time, take really good care.
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