It’s impossible to have a lasting or healthy relationship without trust. It’s not even exaggerating to say that trust is the number one concern for most couples in a relationship, whether they know it or not. Without trust, everything else suffers, whether it’s intimacy, communication or general happiness. If you’re in a relationship where trust is an issue or if you’re trying to work on rebuilding trust, then let us introduce you to some trust-building exercises that couples therapy professionals swear by.
What Are Trust-Building Exercises and Why Do They Matter?
Trust-building exercises are fun and safe prompts and ideas that you can do with your partner to help build trust, deepen communication and increase honesty. Building trust for most couples takes time. Rebuilding trust after it’s been broken also takes time. Trust is the solid foundation for any relationship. Trust is also the main way that couples connect with each other in order to build their lives together.
Trust doesn’t just bring couples together, it also helps them stay together. If you lack trust in your relationship, then it’s likely that you don’t really feel emotionally safe in your relationship with your partner. When you don’t feel emotionally safe with your partner, then you can’t really open up to them or build emotional intimacy. If you don’t have emotional intimacy, then your only connection is surface stuff. It’s impossible to connect on a deeper level with your partner if you don’t have emotional intimacy. All of this stems from trust.
How To Use Couples Trust Exercises
Before you try the trust exercises in this article, it’s important to remember that they are geared at healthy couples. If you find that your partner is using the exercises to shame or disrespect you, then you may want to discuss the issues during couples therapy. The goal of trust exercises for couples is to practice being honest and respectful towards your partner. It’s often difficult to build trust on words alone. These are tangible exercises that let you build trust with your partner through actions. Let’s take a closer look at some different trust exercises to try with your partner.
1. Go Through Each Other’s Phones
One of the biggest trust issues for many couples these days are social media and mobile technology. It’s too easy to engage in anonymous activity on social media and keep it hidden on your phone. Phones are tangible things that allow you to see each other’s lives on social media and with other friends. For many people, it takes a lot of trust to let someone else see into that digital life.
2. Give Your Partner Privacy
Opening up to your partner by letting them see your phone and social media is a good way to build trust, but it’s also good to let your partner have privacy at times. Are you someone who needs to know where your partner is at all times? Is your partner this person? Needing your partner to check in constantly is also a form of distrust. Find moments to allow your partner to have space and privacy without checking in.
3. Complete A Random Task
Both of you can give each other a random task to complete. Something small, yet specific is best. For example, you can ask your partner to get you a particular brand of food or drink at the grocery store. Ask them to text you if the store doesn’t have it. This exercise isn’t about testing your partner, but about communicating expectations and showing that you can listen to each other.
4. Find Areas To Give Up Control
Trying to control your significant other is essentially a manifestation of distrust. If this is you, or if your partner has issues with giving up control, then these exercises are good ones to try.
• Let your partner tell you when they’re going out, but don’t text or call them to check where they are
• Work up to your significant other going out without telling you where they’re going or who they’re meeting
• If you’re the one who mostly plans date nights, give your significant other a chance to do it instead
• Let your other half choose an activity such as which movie or restaurant to go to
5. Make a Vision Board
Remember how we mentioned earlier that a lack of trust means a lack of connection? No connection means that only shallow things are keeping you together. What is your vision for the future? Does it match your other half? Think about how your future might look with your current relationship. Use magazines to cut out words and images of what you think of your future with your other half. The result of the vision board should give you a chance to talk about where things are going in your relationship and what you both have in mind. Better yet, you can turn it into a date night.
6. Open Up About Your Fears
Another big part of trust is being able to open up about your weaknesses and fears. Showing vulnerability in your relationship also helps create emotional intimacy. One of the best ways to show vulnerability to your significant other is to talk honestly about your fears and insecurities. This is especially true if some of your fears and insecurities have to do with past relationships. The goal here is twofold:
• To leave things in the past so that you can move forward
• To give your significant other an opportunity to comfort you
7. Play Trust Games
Sometimes one of the best ways to build trust is to play a few games. Trust games can be fun and lighthearted while also helping you learn more about your significant other and how to trust them. One such game is called Two Truths and A Lie. You and your partner take turns coming up with two truths and one lie. Then, you try to guess which one is the lie. Tell your partner the truth after the guessing round is over.
Another fun idea is to share personal songs with each other or make each other a playlist. They can be songs that show how you feel about each other or songs that illustrate your life story in some way.
Play a blindfold game where you take turns leading each other through an obstacle course while the person being led is blindfolded. This game allows you to put your full trust in your significant other not to lead you into any obstacles.
8. Going to Couples Therapy
Many people end up going to therapy for reasons like poor communication and a lack of emotional or physical intimacy in the relationship. However, the core issue behind these problems is often trust.