When we cherish our partner, we think that he is irreplaceable. We simply cannot imagine our life without them, even in difficult times. We find ways to tell them that we appreciate them, and we often do. This builds trust in the relationship. Trust and commitment go hand in hand, but they are different. Commitment is really a verb because it is the actions we take daily to let our partner know that we are with them and that we make decisions with them in mind. When we choose engagement, we resist the temptation to betray our partner. We build trust and security by turning to them to resolve our differences. Gratitude is nurtured by knowing what we have rather than focusing on what we don’t have. There is no gossip or rampage from our partner to others. Some offers are more valuable Lego bricks and require a lot of confidence to take the risk. This is why we only share them with a few selected people throughout our lives. It takes time to put these bricks on the deck.
In Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s book, they share that every partner’s number one concern in a relationship is trust. Their number one fear is betrayal.
What is Trust?
According to Dr. Gottman, trust exists in a relationship when the partners behave in a way that is in the best interest of both partners. The more you trust in a relationship, the more you support each other. Reliability, according to Dr. Gottman, is the willingness of each partner to make sacrifices for the relationship. When the partners are trustworthy, they intrinsically say to their loved one: “You can count on me”. Repeated manifestations of trustworthy behavior allow lovers to take refuge in the relationship. To maintain trust, both partners must be fully engaged. Without commitment, there is no security in trust.
Trust + Commitment = Security
“The heart of a happy relationship is a deep trust that the partners count for each other and will respond reliably when needed.” At the beginning of our species’ history, we survived by staying close to each other from others and, as a result, our brain has adapted by building a fastening system that:
- Monitor the emotional and physical proximity of our lover as an adult
- Motivates us to reach out to our lover for help when we are unsure, upset or feeling weak
- Count on our lover as a safe base to enhance our personal growth and promote exploration around the world.
Essentially, this attachment system analyzes the relationship and asks, “Is it safe?” Can I depend on this person? Is this person trustworthy? Are they attached to me? When we perceive a disconnection, real or imagined, with our lover, or feel something that could threaten the security of the relationship, our attachment alarm goes off. The objective of the fastening system is to obtain security and protection from our partner. This motivates us to seek proximity when we are in distress. When this goal is not reached, all the Legos go wild.