The heart of a good relationship
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
17th June, 20130 Comments
If communication is the lifeblood of relationships, then surely trust must be the beating heart. We know that trust is key to any relationship, and that any betrayal of trust will usually throw that relationship into crisis.
In recent years we have been encouraged to look after our hearts, and similarly we have to build the trust in our relationship. Often it is the little things that cause the cracks to show. A promise is made to "do this" or to "be here", and it is broken. Over time this becomes a habit, and the partner begins to lose trust and feel that they are very much playing second fiddle; so pay attention to the little things and do what you say you will.
If you are in a relationship there is a shared bond and there is a sense that your partner’s happiness is your own, so try to do things that are in the best interests of your partner. Now, while I am not suggesting that you make your needs subservient to theirs, it is important that you show your partner that you value their needs and happiness.
Sometimes in relationships there can be a power struggle, with one partner trying to be the dominant one; while relationships will often naturally follow a pattern of one person leading and one following (pursuer and pursuee if you will), it is unhealthy for one person to hold all the power in the relationship because this is not an equal partnership, and it can be hard to be open and honest in such an environment.
Communication is important, but again it's the little things like remembering important dates or checking how your partner’s day has gone that can really add up. All of these show that you prize your partner and that you can be trusted to support them when they are going through good and bad times.
Of course, we all get it wrong from time to time and a quick, honest apology will show that you are open to your mistakes and ready to learn from them. It is of course easier to apologise if you have a strong relationship in the first place. Making a mistake makes a withdrawal from your relationship so it is beneficial to have built up your reserves beforehand.
A big part of a relationship is being able to trust the other person when you need to be vulnerable, knowing that they will not ‘attack’ you when they are at a low point and need support, and that they can be completely honest with you. This is of course a two-way street and if you expect your partner to be open, honest and vulnerable with you then you can expect nothing less of yourself. It is perhaps the ultimate act of trust to let your partner see you as you are without hiding behind any pretence.
All relationships need trust and if that trust breaks down there can be serious consequences, so it is worth putting in the effort to build the trust and put it at the heart of your relationship.
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