There's Only One Thing More Important Than Love In Relationships — How To Make Sure You Have It

Photo: Alex Brisbey via Unsplash
couple kissing in the snow

By Theo Harrison

Love feels great. Entering a new romantic relationship can feel truly amazing with exciting dates filled with laughter, long walks at late nights, curling up together on the couch to watch horror movies and those passionate kisses.

But what doesn’t feel great is being in a relationship without trust.

When love and excitement are replaced with doubt and fear, that’s when things start to turn ugly. And this is why trust in a relationship is sometimes more important than love.

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The fact is that we all have baggage and whether willingly or not, we bring that baggage into our relationships. Whether you’re dealing with childhood trauma or trying to overcome infidelity in your previous relationship, our past always affects our relationships in one way or the other.

That’s why trust forms the core of any relationship. Trust is crucial for relationship success and satisfaction. However, trust is also fragile. Once it breaks, it can be really, really hard to rebuild it in a relationship.

What is trust?

Trust in a relationship means you believe that your partner is reliable and has your best interests in their heart. It means you have faith and confidence in them. And you feel emotionally and physically safe with them, just as they do with you.

It means you expect respect, integrity, loyalty, and honesty in your relationship. You expect your partner to keep promises and secrets and to support you when the tides get rough.

However, trust also means that you understand your partner and forgive them when they break promises and agreements. You cannot have trust in a relationship if one partner is willing, while the other one is unwilling.

Signs of Trust in a Relationship

  • Being compassionate

  • Having faith in them, regardless of who they spend time with

  • Being considerate of their need

  • Listening, understanding, and supporting them

  • Not dominating or controlling their partner

  • Being considerate and caring

  • Doing what they said they would

  • Believing that your partner knows what’s best for them

  • Trying to resolve conflicts in a mature and healthy manner

  • Respecting personal boundaries

  • Being respectful towards their partner

  • Feeling safe and making them feel safe

  • Relying on your partner without being dependent

  • Focusing on building a deep connection

  • Being reliable and available when they need you

  • Respecting their boundaries

  • Not doubting or checking up on them frequently

  • Giving them the freedom to live life their own way

Trusting each other gives you the freedom to be your genuine self in the relationship. You and your partner can build trust in your relationship gradually and naturally by loving and caring for each other.

However, you cannot force someone to trust you nor can you demand it. It will take time to develop trust in your relationship.

Why is trust so important in relationships?

Although you might be keen on saying that love is the most important part of a relationship, I would say that it is trust that is most important in any relationship, romantic or otherwise.

Take a moment to truly think about it. Imagine a relationship without trust — you and your spouse/partner love each other a lot; however, you don’t necessarily trust them.

Now, when they tell you they will be going for a business trip over the weekend, how would you feel? Would you feel that they are working hard to give you a good life? Or would you think that they are having an affair with someone from work?

Most likely, you would think that your partner is cheating on you.

You will lose your peace of mind. You will start doubting them. You will keep checking their laptop and phone. You will try to track them. You will ask them a lot of questions. You will have arguments and fights. And this will lead to the probable end of the relationship.

Love without trust doesn’t look that good, does it?

A relationship can easily turn into a nightmare if there’s no trust in it. Your relationship will gradually become unhealthy, dysfunctional, chaotic, and toxic. And that is a recipe for disaster.

Trust is crucial for your relationship to thrive. Trust is essential to love and feel loved.

Did you know that lack of trust is the reason why most people end their relationships? The Relationships Surveys Indicators of 2011 claims that among the top four causes of relationship breakdowns, lack of trust is the most common.

Trust is the foundation on which your relationship survives the toughest seasons of life. A relationship without trust will never sustain for a long time, regardless of how much you love each other.

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Why does trust drive a relationship more than love?

Here are 11 solid reasons why trust is so important and is the driving factor in a healthy relationship.

1. Trust and love go hand-in-hand.

If you knew that a person would definitely cheat on you, would you still choose to love them? No, you won’t.

No one wants to get their heart broken deliberately. As rational human beings, we can only love people we trust. It is the building block of a relationship.

Love is born out of trust. You still may be attracted to that person, but you can’t love them. A relationship that is not based on trust will never survive the test of time.

2. You can finally heal yourself.

As I said earlier, most of us have baggage from previous relationships. Trusting your new partner will help you heal from previous emotional wounds.

It will empower you to move on and liberate you, giving you the strength to love openly once again.

3. You become a better person.

When you trust your partner, you don’t feel uncertain or insecure about spending time apart. You become more open to giving space to your partner.

As a result, you can find more time for yourself without worrying about your relationship. This allows both of you to focus on your own self-development and become better human beings and partners.

4. Trust leads to acceptance.

When you and your partner trust each other, you don’t seek or feel the need to give justifications for every single thing you do. There is no need for explaining yourself, as you understand your spouse and their decisions and actions.

This helps you accept them as they are without wanting to change them to fit your perception of the ideal partner.

5. It reassures your relationship.

At times, we all tend to doubt and wonder if our partner loves us as much as we love them. Due to the daily grind, we are mostly unable to shower our partners with love or express our feelings towards them.

This can start building a distance between partners. But, with trust, you are reassured that your spouse or partner loves you irrespective of the busy schedules, fights, and arguments.

6. You get closer by facing obstacles.

With trust, your relationship can conquer the biggest obstacles. Every relationship goes through some challenges. Trust helps to create a stronger bond that helps to overcome any and all differences in your relationship.

When you feel secure and safe with your partner, you will feel confident about your relationship, yourself, and your life.

7. You can control emotions better.

When it comes to a relationship, it’s all about emotions. However, things can get awry when your emotions get out of hand. Being emotional individuals, we invest ourselves in building meaningful relationships, because we value a person.

When you trust your partner, you will know better and choose to overlook their irritating behavior. If they hurt you for some reason, trust enables you to realize that there is some reason for their behavior. This helps you to develop a healthy, long-lasting relationship.

8. Love may be blind, but trust is not.

It is hard to trust someone. You need to be vulnerable enough to let someone into your life and trust them enough to love them from your heart.

But when that trust is shattered, it makes you more rational and logical, unlike love, which makes us blind to the many flaws of our relationship. Love makes us afraid, but trust empowers us.

9. It boosts your confidence.

Trust can actually help you achieve more in life. When you know that the person you love will be there to support you and love you even when you fail, you feel an inner strength to face and overcome even the harshest challenges.

Your partner will give you the confidence to learn new skills and take new initiatives to achieve your dreams and goals.

10. Trust makes you more positive.

A relationship without trust slowly turns you into a negative person by making you insecure, doubtful, envious, and disappointed. However, trusting your partner helps you develop a positive mindset and personality.

As you are not engulfed by negative emotions, you can love more openly and use that positive vibe in other aspects of your life.

11. You learn to love again.

You’ve had your trust broken in the past. We all have. And it hurts. But trusting someone allows you to love again. It helps you to find happiness again. Once your trust is broken, you get more cautious about trusting people and this helps you to find the right person who will give you the love you deserve.

Although you shouldn’t trust just about anyone, you will be more than willing to take the risk when you meet the right person. Trust will come as a natural emotion and you will learn to love again.

As long as you realize that your new partner and your old partner are not the same person and not everyone out there is going to break your heart, you will find the strength to trust again.

Remember that trust is a choice. When you go into a relationship with a new person, you choose to trust them. Once you make your choice, honor your decision.

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Wondering how you can cultivate trust in a relationship? Here are some basic and simple ways for you to get started.

How to Build Trust in a Relationship

1. Openly communicate with your partner.

The first thing you need to do is talk to your partner. And I mean really talk with them. Talk about the things that matter to you. Talk about your feelings and emotions. Talk about your concerns, insecurities, and worries.

Let them know if anything they did has disappointed you. Ask them the same and listen. Don’t listen to respond. But listen to understand.

Once you talk, you will have more clarity about their behaviors and decisions and they will understand you better as well. Communicating in a mature way is the very core of a healthy relationship.

2. Set defined boundaries.

Make sure you have defined clear boundaries that both you and your partner can accept. This is crucial for cultivating trust in any relationship. Find out about what makes your partner feel anxious and worried and what are probable deal-breakers and let them know about yours.

Once you set personal boundaries and agree to them, respect each other enough to stick to them.

3. Talk about commitment.

It is important that you sit down with your partner and talk about what commitment means to both of you. Once you are on the same page regarding commitment, figure out how this may influence you and your partner’s future together.

Most of us have various expectations when it comes to commitment. This is what leads to confusion, complications, and a lack of trust among romantic partners. So, it is a good idea to talk about it and have clarity about the future of the relationship.

Here are more ways to build trust and create a stronger, more intimate bond.

1. Admit your faults and mistakes when you mess things up.

Don’t cover up or deny your mistakes. Taking accountability and doing your best to keep your side of the street clean isn't just about being honest; it's a key ingredient to proving how trustworthy you are, even when you mess up.

2. Learn to forgive each other, and be humble enough to let go of past problems and issues.

Holding onto grudges means harboring resentment, which strips a relationship of trust and is poisonous to its overall health.

3. Try to be as caring, faithful, honest, and responsible as you can.

Your partner will reciprocate your behavior. Because these qualities lend credibility and reliability, two driving forces behind establishing trust.

4. Listen and understand when your partner talks to you, without judging them.

Fostering a safe space where neither one of you judges the other is one of the most effective ways to deepen the trust and connection with your partner. Letting each other be vulnerable without having to fear judgment is part of what trust is by definition.

5. Make sure you keep your promises every time you make them.

Breaking even the smallest promise can break trust in a big way. This goes back to proving yourself to be reliable and credible.

If you don't stay true to your word, it shows a lack of care, in the best possible light. At worst, it can be the end of any chance for trust in what's left of your relationship.

6. Show your partner that you're interested in doing activities they like.

Know his or her hobbies and tastes and help them accomplish their goals. This is a way to demonstrate how much you truly do care about your significant other.

Not only are you paying attention and taking note of what matters to them, but by trying to participate in these areas of their life, it shows how much they really mean to you.

7. Understand your partner, empathize with them, and try to successfully fulfill their needs.

By listening to your partner, really getting to know them, and trying to help them feel supported and happy, they know you're really putting in the effort and investment. And that only comes from a trustworthy individual who's serious about making their partner's world a better place.

8. Solve issues and arguments in a calm and mature way.

Don’t accuse or blame your partner. Do not avoid problems either.

When you address issues head-on with the understanding that you're trying to resolve a problem with a team-player approach, it signals that you want to work through things together and advance the relationship.

When your partner can begin trusting their future with you, it's easier to trust you and fight for each other, not against each other.

9. If they have shared something very intimate and personal with you, keep it to yourself.

Respect and guard their privacy. Remember that safe space of no judgment? There should also be a rule of confidentiality where what's said between the two of you, stays between the two of you.

10. Respect your partner, and try not to judge or criticize them for every single mistake they make.

Being overly judgmental and critical will make your partner start to question you — or worse, themselves. In either scenario, this chips away at trust until it's completely eroded for good.

11. Be a supportive romantic partner and help them in doing what they want, taking risks and achieving goals.

Encouraging your partner and being there at the end of the day, whether it's to celebrate a win or console them after a heartbreaking loss, shows that you're consistent about being caring and reassuring.

Most importantly, it demonstrates that you can be a trustworthy source of comfort and strength, even during times they may lose faith and trust in themselves, which is when they need yours most.

It will take a lot of time, effort, and patience to build trust in your relationship. Moreover, both you and your partner will need to be willing to trust each other and give one another a good reason to trust.

As it is difficult to earn trust from your partner, make sure not to do anything to break that trust. Be as committed, dedicated, caring, and consistent as you can in the relationship.

Once trust is established in the relationship, it will help you love each other on a deeper level and find true happiness.

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Theo Harrison is an artist, traveler, writer, former contributor to The Mind's Journal, and believer in spiritualism, psychology, and science. He writes primarily about mental health, pop culture, and relationships.

This article was originally published at The Mind's Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.