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Trust Building Behaviour for Healthy Relationships

Why Trust Matters

A key trait of a successful relationship is trust.

That sounds obvious and simple enough, but what exactly is trust?

How do you describe it?

How much trust is enough?

What happens when the trust is broken?

How do you rebuild it? and…

Whose responsibility is it to maintain trust?

As you can see, many questions arise when you dig deeper into the sometimes prickly topic of trust.

Trust is built over time, it’s what allows ‘grace’ in your relationship; benefit of the doubt. Trust enables peace, contentment, happiness… What else? Think of the emotions that describe how you feel and your Life Values. You may want to refer to the wheel of emotion for tips.

Trust is formed with consistency over time

Digging Deeper into Trust

What specifically makes you trust your partner?

How would you describe the trust in your relationship?

Activity: Take a minute right now to think of the things (behaviour, activities, what’s said, etc) that create a sense of trust in your relationship.

How did you go?

What if you have secrets?

How does having secrets impact on the authenticity of your relationship?

Aha! Now we’re getting your gears turning, aren’t we!

Trust - An Essential Pillar of a Sound Relationship

Building trust is an essential pillar of your happy healthy relationship. In the Gottman method of couples counselling, Trust is ‘a wall’ of the sound relationship house theory (see graphic below). It’s a neat concept and easy way of thinking about the components that make up a healthy relationship.

With this in mind, what happens if you are missing a wall in your house?

That’s right the whole house is shaky and a stiff breeze could blow the whole thing over!

sound relationship house trust
With Thanks to the Gottman Institute

If you already have a strong relationship, use the trust building behaviours to maintain trust in your relationship and keep your relationship resistant to external pressures.

Trust After Infidelity

If you’re relationship has suffered from broken trust from incidents including:

  • Infidelity
  • Emotional betrayal
  • Jealousy
  • Broken promises
  • Lying / Deception
  • Avoidance / Withholding


Then trust building behaviours will be essential to start the healing process and restore a close relationship.

Let’s get into it.

The ten trust building behaviours are broken into two categories, Low-Cost Trust Building Behaviours and High Cost Trust Building Behaviours.

Low Cost Trust Building Behaviours

  1. Talking with your partner about any trigger / incident / behaviour / event as needed or as it arises. For example if you receive a text from ‘an ex-partner’, you’d mention that and reassure your partner.
  2. Spending time together to connect, talk, share ideas, feelings, passions, needs and laughs.
  3. Connect during the day, it could be a short phone call, a brief ‘messenger chat’, or a catch-up for coffee on your break.
  4. Practice self care and look after your mental wellbeing. This could mean taking time for meditation, relaxation, personal development or talking to a counsellor / professional.
  5. Stick to your commitments and goals. Follow through with what you say you’ll do. This includes the small seemingly trivial things like “I’ll empty the dishwasher before I go to work” to the bigger things like, “I’ll book our holiday soon I swear!”

As you can appreciate the Low Cost Trust Building Behaviours are fairly straight forward, and you may even be doing them already! Excellent. Keep up the good work.

couple trust in love
Practice Trust Building Behaviour Like Spending Quality Time Toegther

High Cost Trust Building Behaviours

The high cost trust building behaviours are especially important when you need to strengthen the trust in the relationship quickly and substantially. If you or your partner have ‘slipped up’ (we are only human after all) then dive in to these trust building behaviours to rekindle affection, deepen your friendship and create faith between you.

  1. Quitting the behaviour / habit / circle of friends etc, causing the erosion of trust in your relationship. For example, cutting ties with ‘enabling’ “friends” that are on a different life trajectory than you.
  2. Being open and honest with each other while respecting each others privacy. There is no need for secret accounts, etc for divulging in a secret second life.
  3. Write a letter to your partner to apologise, unpack and describe your motivations and what you have learnt from this experience. Explain what you will do differently.
  4. Deepen your communication. Commit to improving the quality of your communication and your relationship as a whole. Be open and honest about temptations, moments of relapse and how you can support each other.
  5. Make a significant change. This could be moving town, changing jobs, re-inventing yourself, getting professional support – or going full Harry and Megan and leaving the royal family!

Start Building Trust in Your Relationship

Choose one or two of the trust building behaviours that stand out for you and start doing them today. Even if your relationship is ‘great’ could it be even better? Can you ever have too much trust?

Try it and see what happens, what do you notice?


Trust...And What Else?

Like a house gains strength from the sum it’s parts working together; trust is strengthened when connected and supported by commitment, love and responsibility – to name a few.

Click here to learn about the benefits of understanding your Relationship & Life Values

I’d love to hear how you increased the level of trust in your relationship. Which trust building behaviour did you like the most?

Click here to send me an email and let me know.

Repairing Relationships Based on Trust

Are you looking for one on one help to create a relationship you can be proud of?

Contact me to learn more how I can help turn your relationship around and achieve a more satisfying level of love, peace, trust and connection.

Many couples see me after an episode of infidelity. If your relationship is going through a rough patch and you’re tired of the same old routines, give me a call.

Being proactive as alarm bells are ringing and taking responsibility for your relationship is a smart move for committed couples before disaster strikes.

Going through a discovery session with me and having a relationship checkup could be the best thing you ever do.

Some couples suffer needlessly for years. Don’t let that happen to you. Having a fresh perspective from a professional who has your best interests at heart is reassuring and a welcome relief.

Breaking free from gridlocked issues unleashes a new found optimism between you and creates a genuine sense of hope.

Could couples counselling open a gateway to a world of relationship bliss, intrigue, fun and adventure?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards, Jacqui.

Jacqueline Hogan Couples Counsellor - Mornington Peninsula & Melbourne

Jacqui Hogan

BASW, Dip PsyC, Gottman Lvl 3

Arrange your private and confidential discovery session

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