8 Relationship Exercises to Build Trust
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Falling in love is exciting. However, you might find it hard to trust if you’ve been hurt before. If your relationship has already gone through a betrayal, you may need to rebuild.
What can you do to develop or restore your sense of faith in your partner? Here are eight relationship intimacy exercises to build trust.
1. Share a Fear You Have
Sharing your fears with your partner can help you build confidence that they will boost your courage when you need it. Consider unions where one partner can’t stand cockroaches while the other has a case of arachnophobia. One half can take care of any 6-legged invaders while the other safely rehome the 8-legged variety outdoors.
Once you feel secure that you can trust your partner with minor fears, you’ll gain more confidence in sharing deeper concerns. For example, perhaps you worry that you’ll never have enough money for a home or retirement. Maybe the thought of your partner leaving you should you become severely ill keeps you up at night.
Confiding these deeper fears in your partner can develop or rebuild significant trust, depending on their response. It takes courage to bare your soul. You want a partner who can comfort your insecurities like they would a crying child and reassure you that you can weather life’s storms together.
2. Write a Letter of Gratitude
Gratitude is one of the most positive emotions you can feel. Generating it toward your partner increases trust and strengthens your bond. Think about everything your partner does for you and write a list.
If you struggle to get started, think of your daily life together. Do they do half of the chores and pay their share of the bills? Think about how much harder your existence would be without their contribution and express your gratitude in a letter. Everyone likes to feel appreciated for their efforts and taking your partner for granted can gradually erode trust.
3. Practice 3-Minute Eye Contact
When was the last time you gazed deeply into your partner’s eyes? Doing so can make you feel surprisingly vulnerable. However, failing to make eye contact could make your partner perceive your words as inauthentic. This exercise can help you tackle difficult conversations without visually cutting off each other.
Sit facing each other and set a timer for three minutes. Do nothing but look into each other’s eyes during that time. It’s okay if you crack up — laughing together is part of the fun. Afterward, discuss how the exercise made you each feel.
4. Take Turns Planning Date Night
Trust can erode if you think your partner no longer cares. One way to show you’re both invested in your relationship is to take turns planning a date night.
Think about what your partner might enjoy. For example, maybe a night of pool and darts at the pub is what they need to blow off steam after a long workweek. You know you have a keeper if they return the thoughtful favor with movie or theater tickets to the show you’ve been dying to see the following week.
5. Create a Vision Board Together
If you’re into manifestation, a vision board can be a powerful tool to help you reach your goals. It’s also a delightful mutual arts and crafts project that can help cement your bond. Discussing where you want the two of you to be in a few years confirms the idea that you’re in it together for the long haul.
All you need is a piece of poster board, some old magazines, glue and scissors. Decide what’s important to you in the future and cut out visual representations. For example, your board could include cutouts of various barns if you’re saving to buy a country homestead together. Alternatively, you could create a mood board together to communicate ideas.
6. Do a Blindfolded Obstacle Course
You’ve seen trust falls. Why not extend that idea a little bit further by doing a full blindfolded obstacle course with your partner?
You hide in another room while your partner sets up the course. Then, they blindfold you, leading you around obstacles and giving verbal instructions to keep you from getting hurt. Trade places and repeat with new challenges.
7. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
Part of building trust means learning what makes your partner happy and committing to honoring it. You can discover which of the five love languages they speak and gain insight into what you can do to strengthen your bond.
For example, if your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, stopping by to pickup an unexpected bouquet on the way home builds intimacy. If they prefer acts of service, emptying the dishwasher without prompting could strengthen your bond.
8. Play “What If”
You might fear approaching your partner with difficult news if you aren’t sure how they’d react. Why not play a “what if” game and discuss how you might respond in various scenarios?
For example, ask your partner how they might feel and what they might do if you didn’t call home to check in when you said you would when away on a business trip. You can gradually work up to more challenging scenarios, such as confessed infidelity.
Relationship Exercises to Build Trust
Trust matters in any relationship, but it doesn’t come naturally. If you’ve been hurt in the past, either by your present or previous partners, it could be challenging to develop faith in your partner. The exercises above will help you feel more secure in your relationship.