How can we create more trust when we continue to lie to the people closest to us in countless ways? Honesty is a key component of a healthy relationship, not only because it helps us avoid harmful breaches of trust, but because it allows us to live in reality instead of fantasy and to share this reality with another. Of course, every human being has his or her own unique perception of the world, but by sharing these perceptions with each other, we get to know each other for who we really are.
It makes sense that we want to keep promises we make to our partner, but often the little things get overlooked. Make keeping your promises about little things as important as keeping your promises about the big things. Call when you are late, remember to pick up that item from the grocery store and remember to pay the bills on time. While these things may seem small, they go a long way towards building trust.
Be open to feedback.
Just as we should be direct with our partner, we should be open to hearing honesty directed toward us. We should always be willing to listen to our partners and to see things from their point of view. What are they trying to tell us about how they are experiencing us and feeling toward us? Rather than argue every small detail, we should look for the kernel of truth in what our partner tells us. It’s important not to be defensive, reactive, or punishing for feedback. If we get victimized or fall apart when we hear criticism, then we emotionally manipulate our partner, and encourage them to sugarcoat or even deceive us in the future. Having a partner who feels comfortable to open up to us is the best-case scenario for having an honest relationship, in which we can both mature and develop ourselves.
No matter how connected we may feel to someone else, we will always be two separate people with two sovereign minds. If our partner doesn’t see things the same way we do, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lying. It just means that we are two people who observe the world from different perspectives. The more we accept this reality, the more comfortable we can feel in accepting that we won’t agree on everything. By being honest with each other, we can know and accept each other for who we actually are, not who wewant each other to be. In this scenario, neither one of us has to pretend to be someone else or try to fit an image or expectation.
Do not keep secrets from each other, instead keep them for each other. Keep your personal conversations at home. It is only right to talk about something once you hear your partner bring the subject up in a conversation. Also realize, he might share information only with certain people. It’s his story, so let him tell it and follow his lead.
Make it a rule that most communication, especially important subject matter, must happen in person. The true meaning of a message can get lost via text, email and sometimes even on the phone. Make sure you are both heard and understood by talking face to face.
You might not understand why something is important to your partner, but the fact that it is important is all that matters. Before you can trust, you must respect each other and your differences without judgment.