(Taken from “Mentality” for men monthly newsletter, October edition. Sign up at www.phoenixmenscounseling.com)
The compromising of trust is such an infectious and widespread problem, especially in intimacy and relationships. Distrust corrodes relationships, breaks down friendships, prevents career advancement and creates a schism within ourselves that widens over time.
In intimacy, the number one problem I hear women discussing is how they don’t trust their guy. They may be holding onto distrust from past incidences, or they may be reacting to things that you’re doing to stoke that distrust today. But the barriers that distrust creates block real intimacy, sexual connection and the chance to deeper and strengthen a relationship or marriage.
There are a myriad ways in our culture to erode that trust: other women, a sexually repressive culture, divorce, excessive behaviors and addiction. In our culture, men are taught to stuff their feelings and emotions, which automatically both magnetizes us to those “erosion behaviors” and sets the stage up for distrust to come.
Questions to consider in the building of trust:
- Are you a man people can trust and rely on?
- Do you make a practice of doing what you say, when you say it?
- Would others say you compromise their trust at times? How so?
- How do you deal with others emotions? Can you listen and accept them when others are down and need support?
- Do you focus your emotional or sexual energies on other women, and not your wife? (e.g. thinking about other women, excessive masturbation, pornography, even flirting with other women)
A theme that I refer back to is the idea of values vs. behaviors. Are you practicing what you preach? Are your deeper values producing behaviors in the world that line up and are consistent? If not, what prevents them from mirroring your values?
Values could be anything like these:
- You see a vision of a strong and healthy relationship in your life, which may be different from past relationships
- You believe in truth and honesty, and seek to communicate those values through your behaviors
- You want people to know, like and trust you – do you give them reasons to do that?
If you’re in a relationship now, or would like to be, I’d invite you to open this discussion up with your wife, girlfriend or partner. Talk about the insecurities that come up, and the blocks or potential threats to building that trust. If you want to build more trust, ask your partner how you could go about doing that if you suspect your relationship could benefit from more trust.