Archive for crisis

Building and Repairing Trust

As we watch with varying degrees of disbelief the goings on between the Conservative candidates vying for the job of Prime Minister, it’s very difficult to believe that we can trust any of them to fulfil this important position.

Being able to trust your partner is one of the cornerstones of a healthy strong relationship.  Without trust it’s difficult to build a strong connection that helps deepen and grow a relationship.  We need trust to feel safe and secure and have confidence that our partners are there for us physically and emotionally.

Building trust in a partnership is a gradual process and requires commitment from both parties.  It is the foundation of any long term relationship and ensures confidence and security with each other.  It helps us cope with challenges that may arise in the future trusting that our partner is there by our side throughout more difficult and testing times.

Being able to trust ourselves is an important element in being able to trust a partner.  Perhaps you may have been hurt in the past, which may affect your ability to trust yourself and therefore others.

At Coupleworks we see many couples struggling with trust issues in their relationships for many different reasons such as money, addiction, texting, emotional and physical affairs. Trust is one of the easiest feelings to loose and the hardest to regain.  Without it couples find it hard to deepen their relationship.

How to build Trust – It’s worth checking out these pointers:

Are we there for each other?

Does your partner listen to you and is open with you?

Do you feel your partner supports you?

Do you feel genuinely cared about?

Do you feel its safe to talk about feelings and you don’t get a negative response?

Can you depend on your partner?

Is there consistency in what your partner says and how they behave?

What happens when we lose Trust

Not being open and honest with each other, keeping secrets erodes trust.

At times lack of trust can be something we experienced as children growing up in our family of origin. This imprint we can take into our adult relationships and may make us feel more vulnerable around trust issues. It’s important to understand whether the mistrust is a pre-existing condition or something that has developed in the relationship due to the behaviour of your partner.

Believing that your partner does not have your best interests at heart can lead to a lack of trust creeping into your relationship.  

Losing trust in one another can be damaging and long lasting often creating wounds and scars that prevent closeness and intimacy growing between partners.  

Betrayal of trust such as an affair can lead to trauma and injury.

Affairs can completely rock a marriage. According to psychotherapist Esther Perel while infidelity can shatter trust, it doesn’t mean couples cant find a way to rebuild trust in their relationships.

How to repair Trust

Understanding this is a crisis in a relationship

Consider each other’s views and feelings and listen to each other calmly

Engage in positive and constructive discussion 

Strong shared motivation to work together to resolve the issue

Understanding and appreciating the damage caused

The more effort put into the repair process the more you will make it through the crisis

Sometimes, despite all efforts, repairing a relationship when trust has been tested is not possible, seeing a couples counsellor may be a good idea if you are stuck and unable to move forward.

“The most precious thing in the world is trust – without trust you have nothing – with it you can do great things”

Dawn Kaffel

Rupture in a Relationship and the Idea of Kintsugi

‘The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love. It is perhaps the price we pay for love…’ (Dr C. M. Parkes psychiatrist St Christopher’s Hospice)

‘Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in…’ (Leonard Cohen)

Coupleworks often works with couples who fear that they cannot recover from, or continue after, an event which causes such a crisis in their relationship that they are driven apart. They can feel lost to each another – as if the partner, suddenly, is a stranger.

An affair or even, strangely perhaps, a new baby, can have a disorientating and disturbing impact on their understanding of each other. The couple come into counselling shaken and bewildered. A life which they saw as certain and secure appears shattered, and they no longer know what to trust. It feels as if ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.’ (W.B.Yeats) The comfortable patchwork of their relationship feels broken up and the counsellor is asked, ‘Is there hope for us?’.

A crisis is always a turning point and now things will happen differently. However, it can be an opportunity for positive change and growth. Embracing and engaging with change is hard, but giving up on love and belonging can be worse. There may be horrible fear and vulnerability but the experience of brokenness can shed a light on what has previously not been understood.

Through talking and listening, the means of recovery and repair and healing can begin to emerge. Safely exploring the issues with a counsellor can lead to the deliberate rewriting of the ‘contract’ – building a relationship that is different (and never could be quite the same). A relationship that is safer, deeper, richer, and more resilient than the one that existed previously, can be created. The vicissitudes of a committed relationship are recognised and, crucially, hurt is not disowned, dismissed or repressed.

Japanese ‘Kintsugi’ means ‘golden repair’ or ‘join with gold’. It is the Japanese art form of repairing ordinary broken pottery with seams of precious metal such as gold.

‘Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… The ceramic is, in fact, more beautiful after the break and after the repair’ (Christie Bartlett). Rather than throwing away the damaged article or trying to disguise or minimise the break, the pot or dish is transformed into a piece of art. Kintsugi is a way of acknowledging the history, and wear-and-tear, of an everyday object. The repair takes time, cannot be rushed, and is done with great respect, care, and consideration – and the result is beautiful.

The philosophy that ‘there can be treasure in life’s scars’ is at the heart of the craft. It challenges expectations of ‘perfection’ and promotes the concept of forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion.


Kathy Rees