0

What Does Trust and Commitment Look Like in a Relationship?

Trust and commitment are built in a relationship every time we choose our partner.

Share this post:

With bellies miserably full of Thai beef and noodles, he washed the dishes and I dried. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran was playing in the background.

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks

“We’ll start our low carb diet tomorrow. This time for real,” I said with conviction to my husband, Sean. He nodded in agreement. He’s heard it before. But he knows my weaknesses after 25 years together, noodles being at the top of the list. I overeat and then complain.

Instead of judging me, he grabbed a bottle of wine and some dark chocolate (this man really knows me) and sat down at the table to continue our quiet, stay-at-home Valentine’s Day celebration.

“So, who wants to go first?” he asked.

Earlier in the day, I told him I wanted to have the first date from John and Julie Gottman’s new book, “Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.” Each date is focused on a topic crucial to a healthy relationship.

“I do!” I said, not giving him a chance to respond.

Date One is “Lean on Me: Trust and Commitment.” Conversation topics include: What does trust and commitment look like in our relationship? How can we make each other feel safe? What are our agreements about trust and commitment?

After reading that chapter earlier in the day, I followed the directions in the book and compiled a list of things I cherish about Sean. While there were many things on my list, there were ten that stood out. I envisioned sharing in David Letterman Top 10 List fashion.

Trust, Cherishing, and Commitment

When you cherish your partner, you feel that they’re irreplaceable. You simply cannot imagine your life without them, even when times are rough. You find ways to tell them that you appreciate them and do that often. This builds trust in the relationship.

Cherishing and commitment go together, but they’re different. Commitment is really a verb because it is the actions you take daily to let your partner know we are with them and that you make decisions with them in mind.  

When you choose commitment, you resist the temptation to betray your partner. You create trust and safety by turning towards them to work out your differences. Gratitude is nurtured by knowing what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t have. There is no gossiping or trashing of your partner to others.  

How can you know you’re in a happy relationship that’s both good for your health and everyone around you? Can such a thing be measured? It can! Take this free quiz and find out how well you know your partner.

Commitment in Action

Sean and I have had our share of difficult times, that’s for sure. When our son was a colicky infant, we leaned on each other for support despite being sleep-deprived and cranky with one another. When my mother and beloved dog both died in the same year, I had a hard time shaking off my depression. We argued more than ever and found ourselves in couples counseling. Despite these and other challenges, we never gave up on one another.

The thing that sealed the deal for me was when I had a major health crisis 12 years ago. My mysterious illness had my doctors stumped and I was terrified. Our lives were turned upside down for months on end with scary symptoms and no treatment. My life and my outlook were forever changed. It wasn’t until I got a diagnosis and learned to manage my chronic symptoms that I could reflect on how it changed us as a couple.

I had been too absorbed in my own fear to recognize how scared my husband was, too. His life was also forever changed. But instead of complaining, he expressed cherishing and commitment by supporting me through my illness in ways that I took for granted at the time.

He rubbed my back when I was scared. He drove me to the emergency room in the middle of the night on countless occasions. When I had to change my diet, he joined me. He developed a patience with me that had not been there before. He was less quick to argue over small stuff and he started leaving love notes for me.

While he never came out and said it, almost losing me made him realize how much I meant to him. I felt loved and cared for. We now joke that my near-death experience is the secret to our healthy marriage.

Thinking Out Loud

As I compiled my Top 10 List for our date, I realized I was describing our everyday life. I wrote down things like playing and laughing together and that we get each other’s sense of humor.

I wrote down raising a child and dogs together, a connection that is precious to us but was often fraught with stress, cleaning up bodily functions, and money we could have spent in far more fun ways.

I wrote down being comfortable to be myself with Sean and having my faults and bad habits accepted. And that includes eating noodles, knowing full well I will complain about it afterward.  

The song was still playing as I started reading my list to him.

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are

If you are not sure where to start improving your relationship and are looking for a personalized plan based off your unique needs, the Gottman Relationship Adviser is for you. This world’s first proven solution to relationship wellness takes the guesswork out of a great relationship. Measure your relationship health with a research-based self-assessment, then receive a tailored digital plan proven to heal and strengthen your connection.

You Might Also Like


Sign up for the Love Notes Newsletter

Get the latest on relationships, parenting, therapy and more from the experts at The Gottman Institute, plus get a FREE download every month!

.

Share this post:

Mary Beth George is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Gottman Therapist, and Master Trainer in Gottman Method Couples Therapy. She is co-owner of Couples Counseling and Psychotherapy Associates in Kingwood, TX. She is a happily married empty nester with a love for rescued dogs and travel. You can visit her website here.

Recommended products

Original price was: $250.00.Current price is: $189.00.

The World’s First Proven Solution to Assess and Improve Relationships

The Gottman Relationship Adviser is a complete approach to relationship wellness. Measure your relationship health with the research-based Gottman Assessment, analyze five key areas of your partnership to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then start a tailored, step-by-step digital program proven to heal and strengthen your connection—all on your schedule and from anywhere.

The Adviser uses the legendary scientific Gottman Method to help you understand what’s really going on in your relationship—and gives you exactly what you need to improve it.

$45.00

Ever wonder what’s really going on in your relationship?

Tired of getting into fights and unsure what to do next? Or perhaps you’re curious about which areas of your relationship need improvement?

The all-new Gottman Assessment, powered by the legendary scientific Gottman Method, can help you understand the state of your relationship—and get you the help you need to improve it.

Original price was: $298.00.Current price is: $139.00.

Drs. John and Julie Gottman are excited to introduce a new Gottman Relationship Coach collection, All About Love.  With more than 40 years of research into relationships, Drs. John and Julie Gottman are here to share their knowledge with you. Learn from the experts in this new Gottman Relationship Coach Bundle, All About Love, which combines three of our most popular products: “How to Make Your Relationship Work,” “Loving Out Loud,” and “Building a Life Together.”

$30.00

Improve your relationship in 30 days! Backed by over 50 years of research, the 30 Days to a Better Relationship challenge will help you reconnect with your partner and bring more positivity into your relationship. The tools and exercises, delivered once a day for 30 days by email, build on one another and take five minutes or less to complete.

 

Related posts

Authenticity in Relationships

Anna Aslanian

To create a close, intimate connection we need to be authentic in our relationship. However, this is easier said than done. ...

Read More

Couple not talking where one person is stonewalling.

What Is the Difference Between Stonewalling and Gaslighting?

Laura Silverstein

Read More

Couple using the power of touch to strengthen their relationship

Touch More, Touch Often 

Cheryl Fraser

How to strengthen fondness and admiration - without saying a thing ...

Read More

Couple having a romantic date.

Date Your Mate!

Cheryl Fraser

Why date night rejuvenates long term relationships - if you do it right. ...

Read More

Turning toward and emotional bank account

The Secret Ingredient to a Thriving Relationship: Turning Towards Each Other

Kyle Benson

Read More

What Porcupines Can Teach Us About Making Love

Laura Silverstein

Dr. Gottman's "porcupine sex" story is a comical depiction of an all-too-familiar dynamic between men and women in the bedroom. ...

Read More

Subscribe to Gottman Love Notes

Sign up and start your relationship transformation. Subscribe and get the latest on relationships, therapy, and much more from the experts. Includes a free download and access to special pricing on Gottman products every month