Catherine Hyde, Paralegal
I first got to know my best friend when we were 12. Many a night was spent together telling our deepest secrets. We were there for each other in times of trouble and in times of celebration. To this day despite living at opposite ends of the country, we rely on each other for support. No one quite knows us as well as we know each other or remembers all the crazy things we did.
Your relationship with your spouse should also grow to be such a relationship filled with trust, knowing you can rely on each other. It is a slow process to build up that trust. Trust is essential to an open, honest and healthy relationship. Even before you decide to get married or live together there must be an element of trust between you, something to base your relationship on and grow with in the future. You should both know the important facts of your past and what your dreams are for the future.
To build trust, think back to those days when you were with your best bud and think about how you treated each other. No doubt you were friendly, kind, and thoughtful with the other person. You planned adventures together and talked about your goals, dreams. You did things with them even if it wasn’t something you necessarily wanted to do but because you were a good friend. Too often in a relationship we think that now that we are a couple we don’t have to be on our best behaviour. You still need to treat your spouse as you would like to be treated and as you treat others. Why save the best for other people?
There are several skills which will assist in developing trust. These include:
- Develop skills to be a good listener. Don’t interrupt your spouse. Both parties must feel free to express their opinions and to be heard
- Do not leave issues unresolved – deal with them when they happen or set aside a time when you will both be fresh to sit down and discuss the issue – otherwise the issue will continue to fester and trust will be lost
- Establish a safe emotional space – the other party must know that they can say and do what they need to without fear of ridicule or retribution
- Develop good problem solving skills – learn how to determine what the problem is and how both of you together can resolve it
- Learn to fight fair – all good marriages still have fights – you are not going to agree about everything all the time – you just have to learn how to express yourself in a way that is not degrading to the other person and does not attack the other person. Stay with the issue and don’t dredge up something that happened 2 years ago
Once broken, the trust disappears and you must start from the beginning. You might think you will never be able to trust again. The quick answer is to terminate the relationship and find a family law lawyer. There are, however, counsellors available to assist couples in learning how to deal with their problems and learn to re-establish trust in the relationship. It will take time but it is worth considering before you throw away everything you have built up over time. As Garth Brookes said in his song, “The Dance” – I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”. Remember all the good times, work through the pain and dance again.