The objective of this article is to provide an exercise for couples – dating or married – for assessing trust that exists and building trust.
By: Susan Adams, M. Ed
Summary: We all carry different levels of trust based on our prior experiences.
The following is an exercise designed to yield information to couples as to their trust in each other as well as to build trust. The exercise has three steps to execute, followed by discussion. Here we go:
The person leading should also be fully aware of feelings generated in him or her during the exercise. Each of you must concentrate on yourself for eight minutes to become more aware of your feelings.
To begin, decide who goes first. Then switch roles after eight minutes. Do not talk–concentrate on how you feel as you lead or follow.
After both of you have led each other, consider the following five points:
Trust must earned. Before we are willing to share our feelings with another person we must trust him or her. In a healthy relationship, trust ordinarily grows if there is a desire to work on it. This exercise may have aroused mixed feelings in you–some anxious, some caring, responsible, secure, or those of dependency.
There are times when you may wonder about your willingness to trust each other, especially if your trust has been violated. It is important to get these feelings out into the open so that you can judge if you are justified in your mistrust or not, and then to understand why you are mistrustful. Mistrust can come from betrayal inside the relationship or from prior experiences outside of it. For trust to exist, both partners must be open and truthful with each other.
Another requirement is that both of you must be realistic. If you didn’t trust your partner in this exercise, it doesn’t mean that you can’t trust him or her in other ways. You must accept that you and your partner are growing people and you both will change over time and continue to discover new things abut each other. There may be some things you won’t like.
It is also important in building trust, to hear what your partner has to say calmly and without an emotional reaction. Many people keep things to themselves because they are afraid of criticism or blame.
You may at times feel deceived because your partner did not make you aware of certain attitudes or faults. Time, experience, and good communication will help you learn more about each other. Very often we take two steps forward and one step back but the direction is forward if we work on it.