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How Does Trust Grow and Support Non-Interference in Your Relationship?

Acrobats balancingMAUDE: Today while reflecting on what contributes to our peaceful harmonious way of being together, we zeroed in on the way we move through our lives separately within our connectedness. We are well matched in our desire for independent action, while being deeply committed and involved with each other.

I am taking care of my grandchildren for around 9 days while their parents are away. This involves staying over some of the nights (there is another grandparent in the house), getting them up and ready and delivered to school, picking them up from their various activities, dinner, bedtime etc. There are two sets of weekends where I will be there full time.

When I consented to this, I did not ask Phil’s permission, nor immediately discuss it with him. I did take him into consideration in the arrangements and planned to come home during the school day as well as some of the evenings to give us time to be together. I also made sure of the negative Covid situation and vaccination status of the children before taking on a risk to myself and thereby Phil.

I do not want to give the impression that we are two passing ships in the proverbial night. We are, in fact, the furthest from that. We share an unwavering commitment and connection as well as the deepest core values.

The peace with which we move through our togetherness, even when physically apart, comes from our reassured knowing of each other, from years of having been able to show and share our inner selves. Much of this derives from our appreciation and pleasure in the differences between us, in our varied ways of exhibiting our shared core values, as we discussed in last week’s blog.

The foundation of this ability to view with grace and comfort our comings and goings is the trust we have in each other and in our union. People find many different ways to be happily together: some as we are with separate and apart threading through their days; some being together all the time. Whichever way this manifests in a relationship, it works when there is a deep underlying trust in each other.

Trust is built through direct experience; it can be talked about, the groundwork for it can be set, but the reality must grow through actions and commitment to honest communication. Love reassures and truth brings us trust. May we all dwell in this circle of reality that generates true peace.

PHIL: We think that an important reason for the success of our relationship is that we practice non-interference. Maude is taking care of the grandkids for a week and a half. I retreat for days at a time when a programming project invades my brain. Neither of us try to change what the other person is doing.

This may make us sound like two billiard balls careening around the table, only colliding by chance in the kitchen when we both need to make breakfast, but it’s more that we are rolling across the baize in parallel, close to each other but not interfering.

OK, enough of the metaphor. We can live this way because of the trust we have in each other to not do anything to harm the other. This is based on the caring that all humans have for each other, and the sense of do-as-you-would-be-done-by (to quote Charles Kingsley). But to get to that point, for each of us to know that the other believes and lives up to those standards required watching each other operate in the world over time, seeing from our multiple interactions how we treated other people, how we reacted, how we handled problems and stress.

Building trust in this way is an iterative process. One of us trusts enough to be open and honest, and that gives the other more trust to reveal themselves, and it’s just gone on like that, building more and more trust, without either of us ever criticizing the other or lashing out or feeling defensive. This trust is the basis for commitment, and in its turn, commitment creates trust. (If there are any physicists reading, think of the way that electricity creates magnetism, and magnetism creates electricity. The two play off each other, and bingo! An electromagnetic wave, also known as light.)

All of this is supported by the knowledge that we have shared values, and that essentially stems from a sense about each other. We can put it into words like respect and caring, but they derive from our feelings about the other. I am coming more and more to the view that we live in the world of our feelings, and find words to match.

So do you trust your partner? Because when you do, you have what you need to practice that non-interference.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: As seen in local park

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Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about how trust grows and supports non-interference in your relationship. These writers examine aspects of trust in great detail.

What to Do if You Don’t Trust Each Other "One of the hardest things about trusting someone is learning to have confidence in your own judgment. Trust is about much more than finding signs that your partner has been unfaithful. It’s about believing that they have your best interests at heart. Every person is born with the propensity to trust others but through life experiences, you may have become less trusting as a form of self-protection. Falling in love and getting married can be invigorating and scary all at once. An inability to trust a new partner may take several forms, from feeling they’re dishonest or secretive, to doubting they’re going to keep their promises or be dependable."

10 Ways To Build Trust in a Relationship "Trust: You cannot have a healthy relationship without it. And yet, virtually all of us can bring to mind a scenario where our trust has been broken. But how do we develop trust in the first place? Can trust that’s been broken be rebuilt? This article explores how to build trust in a variety of relationships, including practical tips and activities that build trust."

How to Build Trust in a Relationship “To trust means to rely on another person because you feel safe with them and have confidence that they will not hurt or violate you. Trust is the foundation of relationships because it allows you to be vulnerable and open up to the person without having to defensively protect yourself.”

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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