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Building Trust In Stressful Times

If you establish positive rapport, you and your partner can make leaps and bounds towards the establishment of trust.

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A couple walks down a boardwalk. The partner on the left has his arm slung over their partner.

Perhaps you read blog entries on Expressing Compassion and Empathy and Mindfulness in Emotional Moments and catch yourself thinking this is all well and good, but totally impossible to apply in my own relationship. As you cope with difficulties at home, on top of work and health stressors, reading books on improving trust in your relationship may feel unrealistic. Drs. John and Julie Gottman understand this and can offer help. 

Try simple changes. See these examples as inspiration. Feel free to improvise:

  • When your partner says, “I’m going to go on a run,” try this: “Great, I’ll watch the kids. When you’re back, I’ll take my turn?”
  • When your partner says, “I’d like to go see Mike tonight. He’s been asking me to see me for awhile,” say “Sure! I’ll hold down the fort. I’ll see Linda tomorrow.”
  • When your partner asks, “I need some time to work on this project,” you can respond, “I know you need to concentrate. I’ll go in the other room.”

This kind of communication is invaluable in any relationship. If you establish this kind of positive rapport (closely linked to Turning Toward Bids), you and your mate will gradually begin to make leaps and bounds towards the establishment of trust. Your friendship will increase as you begin to bond as a team, and your stress will cease to become such an obstacle to romance.


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Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

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