Trust and Affection: Do you Really Trust Your Spouse or Partner?

Trust and Affection
Do you trust your spouse?

Trust is a function of predictability.

You trust your spouse, when s/he responds and acts predictably.

That sounds very simple, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not.

Trust is a huge factor in a marriage or relationship and that fact is brought to light when one spouse cheats. Trust is shattered and is extremely difficult to regain.

The underlying need system of each spouse can make trust a fragile commodity.

I’ve encountered very few in my 30 years of private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist who initially were aware of their personal need system.

As with most, your personal need system rules. Your personal needs are extremely powerful if they dwell under your immediate awareness.

Personal needs vary from person to person: the need for attention, need for power, need for control, need for excitement, need for affirmation, need for love, etc. The list is long.

If you or your spouse unconsciously feels that your personal needs are not met, the internal turmoil may erupt and you or your spouse may experiment with other ways of acting which you believe might calm the turmoil (such as an affair.)

You or your spouse no longer is predictable (in the eyes of the other.) You think: “What in the world is happening?”…as you fear losing your world as you once knew it.

Trust and the predictability of the relationship are in jeopardy.

And, you revert to old ways of emotionally protecting yourself be they, withdrawal, conflict, overeating, over-drinking, excessive spending, working out, compulsive socializing, etc. etc.

Your marriage loses its warmth and the possibility for affection vanishes.

Affection is a by-product of trust.

Once you trust, once your martial or relational world feels safe and once you experience predictability, you and your spouse move closer.

Consider these characteristics of trust and affection:

  • I trust my spouse as much or more than anyone else in my life.
  • I know that I can count on my spouse’s word.
  • I keep my word to my spouse; if I see an obstacle I express it as soon as possible.
  • I am careful about what I promise; I do not set my spouse up for disappointment.
  • I respect my spouse’s friendships with attractive people; I do not worry or get jealous.
  • I look for opportunities to keep our love fresh and exciting.
  • I receive all the kind of affection and touch I want from my spouse.
  • Our marriage has moments of tenderness, kindness and gentleness.
  • laugh at my own humanness and can tease my spouse lovingly
  • I like the amount of lightness and play between us.

Now, here’s what I want you to do.

Copy this list. Print it out and take it with you.

Spend two days reading it periodically. Paste it on your fridge. Make it desktop on your computer. Tape it to your mirror. Keep it in front of you, just for two days. Think about the list. Reflect on the list. Allow the list to sink deeply in to you.

Then, put it aside for a week.

Come back to the list a week later and see what shifts have taken place in your mind or in your relationship. Describe how the list has impacted you and your marriage. What did you do differently? What new attitudes do you now possess? What mental breakthroughs did you make, if any?

If you are separated, divorced and/or single, feel free to use this exercise targeting any relationship of significant emotional investment.

4 thoughts on “Trust and Affection: Do you Really Trust Your Spouse or Partner?”

  1. I liked this artcle except, i am married to an alocohlic and we are seperated because of : relapse into drinking(been a year), he cheated after he moved out, took our retirement and spent/hid it.

    He wants to come home but doesnt want to quit drinking. He’d been trying to convince me he would when he was ready, but no sign yet.He wanted me to take him in without having really done anything.
    I dont know how this would apply or if..

  2. “Affection is a by-product of trust”. For the first 13 years of my marriage, to a man 12 years older than me (both of our second marriages) I would have believed him if he’d called to say he had to go to the moon to pick up some bread. In the 13th year I discovered a short lived affair (that he still denies), and now I know it was a stripper. After much turmoil I stayed and then again in our 19th year of marriage I discovered his addiction to strip clubs. We work in two cities. This time I demanded he no longer travel in any manner overnight, other than to see his elderly Mother in another state. He complied with my demands and I thought we were on the way to healing our relationship. Then this 21st year, while attending to his Mothers estate he “accidentally” slept with one of the women that ran the assisted living home that his Mother had resided in pre death. I KNOW for a fact, again that this was a one night stand, so I’ve resolved myself that if this man can be unfaithful at the same time he is kind and good to my face then there is NO man on the planet capable of sustaining a long term faithful relationship. So, I have decided to stay for the companionship, keep my options open, and take care of ME before him always. He has a problem with sexual addiction, plain and simple and its NOT because he’s not getting it at home. Like an alley cat, he lives an alter life and no I don’t worry about disease. I know his particular brand of sex. We still have a good time, but my feelings of affection are forever altered, and he would have his nerve to expect such. So, I’ve decided to stay based on the face value of how he treats me on a daily basis, and the fact that leaving now would destroy our company. I’ll never understand how a man getting everything he needs at home, married to a sexy, fun, younger, hard-working woman will still cheat. But they do, they ALL do. THAT is the part I don’t find you addressing in your BLOGS. I have women friends that complain their husbands don’t want to have sex, yet they later find out he’s out in “the alley” having sex, or in front of the computer having sex, or having an affair. I just think it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep a man from straying. Even if he doesn’t have chemical addictions.

    1. Brian Persinger

      I hope you still read this from time to time Kathryn, but I could say the same thing about women, I’ve been cheated on by every woman I’ve dated, so I guess all women are just sluts. I’ve never once cheated on anyone and I’m now 50 years old. I think staying in a marriage for a business is the same as cheating, the relationship is still a lie, I would rather live in a ditch then stay with a woman just for a business or companionship. That’s just my 2 cents worth. My wife of now 27 years is a cheater too, if she wants to stay with me she will have to do things my way until I feel safe again, and that may be never, and she will have to take a polygraph test if I feel the need for her to do that. I love her, but I won’t let her hurt me that way again, it hurts way to much.

      1. Thank you ,
        I do think women cheat and do so not even knowing the true reason why ! Lack of intimacy and the inability to allow through communication to let our spouses know what we need ! Women want romance and sex !
        Men look at a body and thinks it’s sexy for a no problem … no stress sex !!
        until the woman says the truth!!!! All women whom have sex with married men …
        I want your Life you give your wife !
        Cars and houses and paychecks…
        These days women will stray for a steak and lobster and glass of wine !!
        Both sex’s want to feel special by the one they love and can’t get that !!
        The one nighter is just an outlet !!
        Most men don’t have a clue how to say what they really want because they can’t give it to receive it! So do women !!

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