Building trust through communication – 6 simple steps
How you communicate is key to building trust, and trust is foundational to any relationship. Trust takes time to develop but can easily be lost in a second. It’s precious, valuable, to be treasured, protected and constantly built on. Without trust, a relationship falls apart – communication fails, insecurities creep in and it’s no longer just the two of you and God. Instead, it’s the two of you and doubt. Trust needs to be built from the very start of a relationship, be it friendship or romance.
In marriage, building trust is vital. You need to be able to trust your spouse with your secrets, vulnerabilities, life, money, time, hopes, dreams and your body. That means not breaking boundaries, not telling friends, family or social media things that your partner does not want shared, not looking at anyone else in a romantic way, knowing that you have each other’s backs and keeping sacred what is meant to be sacred.
Think of trust like Lego – building blocks take time and different blocks have different functions but each block helps towards the end goal. They can also easily be knocked down. Communication goes hand in hand with trust and is also foundational to relationships – how are we meant to know what secrets are to be kept if they’re not shared, or know the past, present circumstances and future dreams of a partner without explaining them?
Build trust through honesty
Right from day one of any relationship, start by being open and honest. Don’t try to be someone that you are not. How can a partner trust you if you change personalities depending on who you are with or if you struggle with something major such as debt, lust, or gambling, but you hide it and don’t mention it until you are too far along so that it feels like a betrayal and like a different person?
You need to be authentic and honest to your partner but also honest to yourself to know your flaws that need addressing. If you are struggling with the speed of how a relationship is going, then be honest. It’s when there’s silence and a lack of communication that problems arise – instead talk through issues, be honest, and communicate so that you can work together as a team, as teamwork is a major building block to trust.
Build trust through vulnerability
It’s important to be vulnerable in an appropriate way. Over time, you will see your partner’s flaws and they will see yours. Appropriate vulnerability builds trust, but be careful as here you need to be discreet and tender as you have been trusted with information that is extremely personal and private.
Someone’s fears, past, struggles or dreams make up who a person is and you need to be completely trustworthy to take on the information given without being dismissive or gossiping. Communication through being vulnerable means breaking down walls and building them back up together, united, and fixing the damaged brickwork.
Build trust through reliability
Trust can be built through communication in the simplest of ways – turning up when you say you will, being punctual for a date, or messaging or calling at the appointed time. Small building blocks at the beginning of relationships are just as important – if you can’t be trusted with the small things like being punctual, then that trust is broken from the beginning and is hard to build on.
Doubt will creep in as to where you are, if you are OK or even if you’re with someone else. Be reliable and trustworthy in these simple tasks and they can then be built upon.
Build trust through respect
Obviously sometimes things happen beyond our control that mean we can’t be punctual, or we forget to message. However, show respect and communicate here – let the other person know you’re running late, or show respect and apologise for not messaging when you said.
Forgiveness comes if you show respect. If you fail to show respect here, then doubt and lack of communication comes in. Show respect for each other in the small things and the big things – respect the boundaries that you place too.
Build trust through speech
How you speak to others and how you speak about them in private can build trust too. Do you speak in love, in anger or disrespect? This can determine whether trust can build here as well – if you disrespect people behind their backs or talk to people with malice and contempt then how does your partner know that you don’t do that behind their back?
The Bible tells us to be careful of how we speak – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29). Your words can build up or break down.
How you communicate and speak, including tone of voice, can build trust. If you’re cold, dismissive, loud or gossipy, does that edify the other person? Instead, speak in love, find the good and keep your tongue from evil.
Build trust through expectations and boundaries
It’s important further down the line to communicate your expectations and boundaries with each other so that they can be kept and not broken. Building trust happens when boundaries are respected. If you can trust with a little, you can trust with more.
Communicate your boundaries regarding money, family, screen time, etc. and what your expectations are for a relationship, the time spent together, physical affection, etc. to know that you are both heard, respected and trusted.
Building trust is vital to our spiritual life too
There are times, when trust is hard to gain because of barriers and walls, and it is hard to maintain when we make mistakes – it is ongoing. Once you have gained someone’s trust, you can’t rest there, you must maintain that trust and build on it for a deeper relationship and intimacy.
The same with God, we completely trust God, but sometimes things shake that. We are constantly working on listening, talking and communicating with God in order to entrust our lives fully to Him. As humans, when we want our own way and don’t trust Him with our lives and paths, then lack of communication, lack of prayer and fellowship ensue which leads to much bigger issues. Trusting God with our lives fully means communicating with Him.
What are your favourite ways of building trust as you communicate?
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