Do you sometimes think your partner doesn’t have your best interests at heart? Do you think their “friend” might be a bit more than that? Trust issues can creep up in your relationship without you even realizing it. Let’s take a look at a few trust exercises for couples recommended by an expert that will help you avoid a panic attack every time your partner says, “I’m going out”.
Before your issues make you act out in unfavorable ways, try to implement these trust building exercises for couples that might just prevent you from demanding to go through your partner’s phone. No, these exercises won’t magically make you go from wanting to snoop through your partner’s email to nonchalantly saying goodbye to them as they set off on a solo trip, devoid of any doubts. However, the exercises we list out today will undoubtedly help you get started.
To be able to let these relationship trust exercises for couples work for you, it is important to understand the purpose of these and commit to them. Understanding trust and what the lack of it can do to a relationship may motivate you to implement these exercises effectively. Relationship expert, Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, will help you reach that point.
The Importance Of Trust In Relationships – Relationship Expert Explained
Does your partner’s “friend” suddenly seem like they are crossing a few boundaries? A boys’ night out is just him having some fun with his guy friends, right? Did your partner intentionally stay a day longer on that trip when they could have come to you and your kids back home? Do you doubt they changed jobs without telling you? These are just a few of the many possible moments of mistrust a couple may have to face in their journey together.
All forms of mistrust do not have to be about cases of infidelity. That a partner may be hiding things from you, that they might be losing interest, that you might mistake their need for space for emotional distance – these are all signs of mistrust. You might not trust they are being honest with you or have your best interest in their mind. You might not trust that they are as invested in the relationship as you are.
Pointing toward the root of the desire for trust in us, Shazia says, “Trust falls in the basic critical emotional needs of any person.” She adds, “In a relationship, you are with a person day in and day out. And if you do not trust that person, it will begin to have an impact on your day-to-day life. So, trust is a factor that has to be taken care of.
“When there is a lack of trust, you are always in doubt, always in a state of contradiction and conflict. This starts to happen even for trivial things. For example, “Where is he right now?” or “What is she doing?” or “What are their intentions toward me?’”
We ask Shazia what it means for the couple. She says, “It’s simple. You are never at peace!” This inevitably impacts both the mental health of the person who is distrustful of their partner and gradually their physical health as well. She adds, “You are always disturbed. It might start impacting your sleep pattern and your diet. Your day-to-day activities become difficult for you.”
Top 7 Trust Building Exercises For Couples Recommended By Expert
It is clear, and Shazia says so in her own words, that the impact of the lack of trust in a relationship is “far-reaching and intense”. So what can one do to strengthen and rebuild trust. First of all, do yourself a favor and stop watching shows that glorify relationship drama. No, it’s not the most dramatic thing ever if your partner wants to lay down a few healthy boundaries on communication. No, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t like PDA.
And no, it doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is hiding you from the world if they don’t post a picture of you on Instagram. We can list out the best ways of building trust in a relationship all day long, but unless you really want to change, all your attempts will be futile.
That being said, let’s dive right into the best relationship trust exercises there are, so you don’t end up texting “S/he’s cheating” to your best friend every time your partner steps out to buy eggs.
Related Reading: Expert Suggests 7 Ways To Help Someone With Trust Issues
1. Be vulnerable and talk about your issues
Shazia says, “Strengthening trust is one thing, but building trust in a relationship that was lost is a much more intensive exercise that needs your commitment in the form of action. Trust can be built only when it is experienced. So you will have to take active steps toward showing trust.”
Do you think your partner is cheating on you because they spent the weekend away from you? Do you think they’re not loyal because they’re not showing you off on their social media? Do you worry they don’t love you because they don’t express it? Well, tell them that. Talk to your partner about your fears, open yourself up, communicate all your inhibitions and your deepest trepidation. Not only will you instantly realize how baseless your doubts are, but your partner will realize what’s going on inside your mind, so you can both figure out how to tackle it.
If we had to pick just one exercise for building trust in a relationship, it’d undoubtedly be healthy, open communication. Once you explain to each other what goes on in your heads and why you feel the way you do, you can also start getting to the bottom of it and analyzing what you want to do henceforth.
As an added bonus, the more you communicate, the more you’ll be able to put forth how you expect your needs to be fulfilled – kinks and all. Who knew couple exercises to build trust could end up improving your sexual compatibility too?
2. Discussing the future of your relationship is a great trust exercise for couples
What this basically means is, you need to ask them ‘that’ question. The question that has incited panic in a million comedies, the question that makes people freak out, and the question that makes most partners say, “This is going to be a long conversation, isn’t it?” Yes, the infamous “Where do you see this going?” question.
So make sure you both have the time for a long conversation and discuss the future. Does your relationship have a timer on it? Are you only together for the winter, and once your cuffing season needs have been fulfilled, you’ll both be on your separate ways? Talk about where you want this to go.
Shazia says, “And then, take an active step toward the future that you just discussed. The action after the promise is what will help build the trust.” Once you’re secure about both of you being on the same page, you’ll feel a little safer, knowing that you and your partner are always working toward that common goal. And then go ahead and do something together. So, for example, if you found out that you both would like to get married the next year, introduce each other to a trusted family member.
3. Do new things that require coordination
Head over to the sports club in your area that you always wanted to go to, and pick up those tennis racquets. Do things like yoga, gardening, salsa classes, hell, you could even try your luck at a bunch of escape rooms.
Once you ‘literally’ trust your partner to pull their own weight and help you win that game of lawn tennis against that obnoxious couple, Mindy and Brad, you’ll inadvertently be increasing the trust you have in them regarding your relationship too. There’s a reason that every company in the world swears by trust building exercises. The best part about these in particular is that there’s no HR telling you these are mandatory to attend.
In the absence of an HR, it is all up to you. We could point you in the direction of many such relationship trust building activities, but it is your job to show up on the commitment you make with your partner. If you drop out of your salsa class with your partner after the introductory session, that would not paint a reliable picture of you in your partner’s eyes. And vice versa.
Related Reading: How To Trust Someone Again After They Hurt You – Expert Advice
4. Assign planning duties to each other
Got a big date coming up? Tell your partner to plan it, and take up another date to plan yourself. Got a familial obligation coming up? Tell your partner to plan this one for you, and you’ll plan something for them.
The more comfortable you are giving your partner positions of responsibilities for things that matter to you, the easier it’s going to be for you to have faith in them. Trust exercises for couples such as these only work if you’re not a control freak like Monica from Friends, though.
You could even try to out-plan each other. A perfect date, and one step taken toward a more trustful relationship. This is one of those relationship trust building activities that gets you to have your cake and eat it too. Don’t end up blowing your life savings on one date night, though. There’s not a single relationship exercise that will fix your bankruptcy.
5. Talk about your financial goals
Talking about money and finances is another way of talking about your future. The hope here is to make both of you feel more secure in what you expect and where you want this relationship to go, and the size of the house you both eventually want to live in.
Building trust in a relationship doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires you both to feel completely sure about your path ahead. Talking about finances is a good trust exercise for couples even if you’re not married. The “my money is your money” approach quickly falls through, and before you know it, you might just be involved in financial infidelity. Yes, saving/spending money without your partner knowing it is a form of infidelity. The best trust building exercises for couples usually involve honest communication, which is the aim here.
Shazia adds an important reminder. She says, “Yes, talking about your financial goals is a good first step, but you have to show up and follow through by also taking an action that shows trust. Remember, the experience of trust builds trust. So whatever it is that you talk about, do not forget to take action to make it happen. Take the step toward showing up for your relationship.”
6. Give your partner simple tasks to complete
Giving your partner simple, random tasks to complete will act as a small trust exercise for couples, the results of which will add up eventually. For example, “Can you please fix the light bulb soon?” or “Can you get me a Starbucks on your way back?” will help establish trust in them. Plus, you’ll get an iced Frappuccino in the process. Win-win.
However, make sure you don’t overdo this one. You don’t want your partner to feel like they’re your PA. A friend of mine ended up annoying her boyfriend because of the constant tasks she was giving him. “I’m not a contestant on a game show, nor am I your personal butler. Please do it yourself,” he said before he left. So while exercises to build trust in a relationship aim to benefit it, use them sparingly and with consent, lest you annoy your partner and push them further away.
7. Showing affection and care is the simplest trust building exercise for couples
Tell your partner why you love them, what you love about them, and make sure you mix in random ways to show your affection. A surprise hug from behind, a small random gift, a cute handwritten note…can all do wonders for your dynamic and are perfect trust building exercises for couples. Shazia says, “Spend time with each other, give each other space, do things you both enjoy together, spend quality time, show up for each other, show commitment to these steps, respect each other.”
Trust exercises for couples don’t have to be extremely over the top. Sometimes, all it takes for your partner to feel safe is a little note that tells them what you love about them. Or gestures that show you care. No, now wouldn’t be the right time to mention that their snoring habits need to go.
Related Reading: 10 Things To Do To Gain Trust Back In A Relationship After Lying
Notice how we didn’t include a trust fall in our list of trust exercises for couples? Yeah, well, rebuilding trust usually isn’t as simple as indulging in a trust fall. Hopefully, thanks to the couple exercises to build trust that we listed out here, you now know what to do with your partner, so you can go from wanting to read their texts to wanting to send them the cutest texts ever.
Yes, it’s not a long shot to believe that couples can overcome their trust issues, provided everyone involved is willing to do so and will not reject any efforts of trying to fight the issues. Sometimes, all it takes is healthy communication and showing affection to be able to fight your trust issues.
Couples can make sure they initiate healthy and open conversations with each other; involve themselves with activities to rebuild trust in a relationship that require coordination like acro yoga or tennis; or by honestly discussing things about their future with each other. These are few of the many trust exercises for couples that need a display of commitment from both partners.
To fix trust issues, the first thing you need is a sincere willingness to fix them. After that, you can try many of the trust exercises for couples. You can initiate honest conversations about why you think you might have trust issues in the first place. Talk about the future, the fears you have, open up, and give each other simple tasks to complete so you can begin establishing trust little by little.
You fix broken trust by showing up. There are several trust exercises for couples that can do wonders but the crux of the matter is a simple one-liner: The experience of promises kept and action taken builds trust. To rebuild broken trust, take active steps to show trust. The experience of trust builds trust. No amount of activities to rebuild trust in a relationship will work if you do not follow through with the commitment that you make to each other as part of these activities.
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