Over the years I’ve helped build a house or two. If I hadn’t done this, then one thing that wouldn’t be obvious to me is just how much time and effort go into preparing the foundations for the house to sit on. You also realise that if you don’t do the necessary groundwork then, in time, cracks in walls and floors may appear. Poor workmanship, shortcuts, and inferior building materials will compromise the quality of the final product.
It’s not hard to see this as a good analogy for developing a secure long-lasting relationship. Like the building process, if we don’t put the effort in at the beginning, then down the track…if not sooner, issues (cracks) compromising the strength of the relationship will show up.
One of the most important materials needed – if not the most important – in forming the foundation for a strong and healthy relationship is ‘trust’.
Imagine having a relationship with your partner where you’re able to share the deepest issues of your soul, your deepest hurts and fears, hopes and dreams, and know you were safe. Safe from criticism, safe from being ignored, safe from being misunderstood, safe from being belittled or hurt.
Real intimacy is found by becoming vulnerable enough to allow the other to see into the depth of your being. But the only way that can happen ‘safely’ is when one builds enough trust with the other to risk making themselves that vulnerable.
The relationship that offers the potential for this to happen best, is found in the coming together of a couple under the commitment of spending a lifetime with each other… for better-or worse, for richer-or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.
In the early stages of a relationship as situations arise, consciously or subconsciously, you’re asking yourself the questions “Can I trust you in this?”, “Can I trust you with our finances?”, “Can I trust you to tell me the truth?”, “Can I trust you with confidentiality?”, “Can I trust you with my sexuality?”, “Can I trust you with my soul’s deepest hurts?”
Life, with its ups and downs, provides the opportunities needed to demonstrate your trustworthiness or to learn to become trustworthy.
Fallouts and stuff-ups are a fact of life, so it’s not about avoiding these, it’s about working them through well enough to build a safe environment for trust and respect to grow.
And ‘when’ we do stuff up, effectively expressing a genuine regret for our behaviour and then receiving forgiveness offers the opportunity to clear the way for trust to ‘begin’ to be rebuilt.
Achieving this quality of relationship doesn’t happen by chance. It takes courage and a genuine commitment to put your relationship with each other above your own self-interest.
What kind of dwelling do you want to live in with your loved ones? A cold unstable house or a warm secure home?
To a large degree, you get to determine that. Because, ‘the love a couple has for each other is the fire that keeps their family safe and warm.’