Two brothers live at home with their parents. Don, 17, has a strict curfew. Dan, 16, is never told when to come home. The difference is trust. Mom and Dad know Dan will be home around 10:00. If he’s going to be late, he always calls. But Don never lets them know what he’s up to and he’s lied consistently for years. For all his openness and detailed communication, Dan feels free as a bird. Don, however, even though he keeps many secrets, always resents what he experiences as a short leash.
Marriage is a similar dance of trust and credibility. Partners who demand “freedom” and push the limits to see how tethered they really are never experience the sense of liberty experienced by those who respect their spouse, keep no secrets, and keep one another informed about everything. Trust is a sticky issue, but it’s an irreplaceable element if relationships are to experience the kind of freedom and confidence that can only be grounded in mutual respect. Here are 10 ways to get your wife to trust you.
1. Be consistentIt can take literally years of confidence-inspiring consistency to make up for one breach of trust.
That means take the guesswork out. Always follow through and do what you say you’re going to do. It can take literally years of confidence-inspiring consistency to make up for one breach of trust. Make sure trust never has to be an issue in the first place. However, even if it has, the best way to build it back is through consistency.
2. Maintain open access
Your office door – always open, car keys – where she can grab them, computer password – in her possession, your schedule – synced with hers, your address book – out in the open, your thoughts – hers for the asking.
3. Don’t keep secrets – ever
It’s simply not worth the risk. The best way to avoid misunderstandings is to be an open book. There’s no excuse for, “Oh, that checkbook…” “You mean those stop-offs at the bar three days a week…” “Someone called to ask about how many magazine subscriptions?” “Exactly when were you going to tell me about the time share at the beach?”
4. Call if you’re going to be late
This is more than a courtesy – it’s preventative maintenance. “But if she trusts me I shouldn’t have to…” Sorry, but that’s just silly. It’s much easier to hear your wife say, “That’s fine, you don’t have to worry,” than to have to backtrack from another round of suspicion.
5. Try to avoid the appearance
This may sound petty, but trust can be lost over small things too. So try to avoid:
- Not wanting her to see the bills
- Closing the laptop when she enters the room
- Scrambling to minimize windows or delete the history on your computer
- Ever using the phrase, “That’s nothing you need to concern yourself about.”
6. Take her phone calls
If at all possible, try to avoid missing her. If you can’t answer, call back ASAP. This isn’t a “leash” situation, it’s a message that there’s nothing and no one you’re tied up with that’s nearly so important (in your mind) as talking to your wife.
7. Compare schedules every morning (keep her in the loop)
Make it clear that everything you’re involved with is something you’re cool with her knowing about, talking about, or dropping in on.
8. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable doing together
Simple rule – imagine your lovely wife with you. Are you buying something you maybe should have discussed? Downing your third drink at a “business lunch”? Typing a questionable message on Facebook? Surfing certain sites on the internet? Pulling into the parking lot at the casino? Whatever it is, if it’s not something you’d be happy doing with your wife there, then maybe that’s your first clue.
9. Trust her
The cliché is “mistrust breeds mistrust.” Are you the chicken or the egg? It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you facilitate a positive, trusting, atmosphere by trusting your wife and making sure she knows you have confidence in your relationship.
10. Call several times a day, just to talk
There’s no greater confidence-builder in a relationship than knowing your spouse is thinking about you and wants to hear your voice. Even if it’s a quick, “Hey, I’m on my way to lunch with George in accounting. I’d rather be with you. Love you.”
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it takes to earn trust?”