Building Trust in Marriage
Building trust in marriage is a common marital issue that often propels couples into marriage counseling or couples therapy.
It is about the dance of attunement, each partner attuning to each other.
Attunement means: will you be there for me when I reach for you? Will you be there for me when I need you?
It means turning toward each other during good and hard times…it also means aligning your actions with your words.
Attunement also means, a want/desire to understand your spouse’s emotional world.
ATTUNE: Acronym for Building Trust in Marriage
I often reference Dr. John Gottman, expert relationship researcher.
Dr. Gottman has identified 5 elements that contribute to trust.
To keep this simple, you can remember the word: ATTUNE.
Let’s look at what each mean as it relates to building trust in marriage for long term healthy relationships.
Awareness starts with how well do you know your spouse’s inner world…
It’s the awareness of your spouse’s emotion.
Turning Toward Your Spouse
Turning toward means turning toward your spouse by showing interest in the emotion(s).
Sometimes this can be the most difficult part for couples. Difficult because some emotions might feel counterintuitive to turn toward.
But, to build trust, it’s about turning toward your spouse. Showing curiosity about them and what they are feeling and experiencing.
(*Special note: This concept is not intended for couples experiencing a physically and/or emotionally unsafe relationship environment.)
As you continue building trust in marriage, turning toward emotions is an important aspect of attunement. It means being there for each other. Letting your partner know you care about them. And that you want to understand them.
Tolerance of Emotion
This one can also be difficult for many couples. Tolerance of emotion means understanding your partner’s reality. Not trying to fix it or talk them out of feeling a certain way. Instead, it’s about being with them as they are experiencing their emotions.
Understanding the Emotion and Your Spouse
This is where curiosity also comes in. Curiosity to truly want to understand and know your spouse’s emotions. It’s not about winning the discussion or inserting your point of view. Rather, it’s about being there for your partner. Desiring to understand them.
Similar to understanding the emotion…Truly listening to understand, not to express your point of view. Having a curiosity stance can also help with non-defensive listening.
It’s about listening with an openness rather than judging.
Trying to understand your partner…to feel what they feel, to understand what their experience might be like.
Building Trust in Marriage: Help is Available
If you’re struggling with building trust in your marriage and need help, please consider reaching out to a couples therapist.
If you live in or around Austin, TX, please contact me for more information or to schedule an appointment.
*Blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only.