Trust: The Stuff That Holds Relationships Together
Bill Cottringer

“You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

Successful relationships are built on unconditional love. Without the following implied assurances that collectively define such unconditional love, any degree of compatibility in a relationship is subject to erosion by tiny trust termites which will eventually eat through the foundation of the relationship:

• My partner will always be there for me, truly for better or worse and especially worse.
• She understands and accepts my whole package, including the annoying baggage.
• He won’t ever want to trade me in for a new or better model.
• I can’t image wanting to head for what is to come after this life, with any other soul.
• We will be together no matter what.
• Things will always work out in this relationship in the long run.

If both partners aren’t 100% assured that the above assurances aren’t a “cemented given” in their relationship, then no matter how solid the foundation and compatibilities are in the relationship, then its longevity thermometer is in jeopardy of breaking. Without being able to trust fully in these assurances, the relationship will surely become fragile when the inevitable stresses of life come along during the journey—physical illness, weight gains, unemployment, unattractiveness, financial troubles, destruction from natural disasters, old age and all the other bruises, bleeding and broken bones that come our way. This is the way life works, like it or not, and thinking you can stop the river from flowing is a waste of brainpower.

The most important question here is, how do you make sure these assurances themselves are or aren’t there in a relationship? The bottom line about trust is that it will always be more tentative than certain and the only way to get trust is to give it without hesitation, to test it. In many relationships where trust is not assured, they usually involve one or both partners holding back or hesitating in displaying their own trustworthiness for whatever reason—real or assumed. But we are all familiar with the very real consequences of the true saying, “what goes around comes around (both bad and good karma).

So then, why do we hesitate in being trustworthy ourselves and not giving that trust to another freely and without reservation, through this thing that has come to be known as unconditional love? This is probably because we have a hard time trusting life and other people in general, having been on the receiving end of trusting in situations that didn’t work out very well. It is a real challenge to not let ourselves get over-influenced by bad experiences to the point where you start expecting trust failures to happen.

The key here is in realizing you can’t really control life and other people to do as you expect or want. At some point, you simply have to let go and trust that life will work out better for you more times than not, and accept the “not’s” as a part of life you can’t avoid. And, by letting go with your trust with life and people, that ratio gradually becomes more in your favor. Of course this is never an easy thing to have patience with, but that is always when you need it most! We all know about what happens when you don’t do this.

Consider the trust level in your relationship and how you can improve it with your own trustworthiness. Letting go to trust without fear is the pure unconditional love that created the whole universe.

“The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now.” ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, Adjunct Professor at Northwest University, member of IACP since 2003, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the peaceful but invigorating mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden), and “If Pictures Could Talk,” coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or