Many couples want to know how they can build trust in relationships. When we are first getting to know someone we have no idea if they will treat us with honesty and integrity. As time goes on, trust hopefully develops, but not always. Even marriages can suffer from a lack of trust because of a lack of emotional intimacy. However, if both partners can learn to be honest about their hopes and fears and are able to discuss them with their partner in a way that shows their love and respect for the other person, it can go a long way toward saving a marriage.
Emotional intimacy is an important component of building trust in relationships. Many of us spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what our partner will think if we express who we truly are. However, it is amazing at how a relationship can change for the better when we get the courage to be honest with both, our partner and ourselves about who we are and what we need from them.
Being attuned to your partner’s needs and being open to speaking with them about it is a surefire way to begin building emotional intimacy. Couples counselor Dr. John Gottman, in his book “What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal,” says “When one partner expresses a need for connection, the other’s response is either to slide open a door and walk through or keep it shut and turn away.”
Many of our fears, insecurities and anxieties get in the way of establishing true trust in relationships and emotional intimacy with our partner. Rabbi Aryeh Pamensky says, “You cannot be dishonest about yourself with your spouse and be truly intimate at the same time. Emotional intimacy is a growth process, where you are always working to connect at deeper and deeper levels. You need to uncover any hidden layers within you that block the emotional connections to your soul mate.” Pamensky adds, “Each layer that you remove uncovers more of your true self and character; an intimate marriage is the one place where you cannot hide from yourself.”
In order to maintain trust in your relationship it is important to remember to share your feelings only with your partner and within the confines of your relationship. Nothing kills trust in the relationship faster than finding out your partner is airing your dirty linen in public. Friends are a good support, but it is our partner that deserves our trust, openness and respect. Many Jewish marriages can be saved by developing this emotional intimacy.