The 4 Pillars of Trust – And How They Keep Your Marriage Strong

We all know that a marriage without trust is like a car without gas, it just won’t run. Knowing how to regain trust and even better yet, maintain it in the first place is essential to creating a thriving marriage relationship.

But did you ever consider that there are different kinds of trust and we need all 4 of them to make our relationship work?

This great article on Your Tango talks about the different kinds of trust your marriage needs and was the inspiration for this week’s post.

Even though we are all familiar with wedding vows, to love honor and cherish, there are promises that we might never say out loud that are the foundation for a marriage to last and, more importantly, be happy.

Safety, Faithfulness, Commitment and Reliability are 4 pillars of trust every marriage needs.  If any one of these is missing, the roof starts caving in and the relationship starts to deteriorate.

Here is why they are so important:


Marriages thrive when both partners feel safe and secure.

You have to trust that your partner isn’t going to hurt you, to be able to reach out to them when you need help, to be vulnerable and share your life with them as well as your hopes and dreams.

Whether it’s physical or verbal – any kind of rejection chips away at trust.

One form of rejection that you may not be aware of, is the all too common “nagging.” If you nag, you are saying, “I don’t trust you will do your part.”

A loving reminder is okay. “Nagging” is a sign that there is a trust issue that hasn’t been addressed and a deeper conversation is called for. The next time you hear it or feel tempted to do it – pause and ask, “What is really needed here?”

That goes two ways – we also have to keep our commitments once we make them. More on reliability later in this post.


Another kind of trust that marriages need is faithfulness. That goes without saying right?

Without sexual fidelity we just can’t develop any of the other types of trust.

Physical fidelity and emotional fidelity go hand in hand, so sharing your secrets with your spouse is actually a way to build emotional faithfulness in your marriage.

Marriage researcher John Gottman says, “Trust is built in very small moments in which one person turns toward their partner when they’re in need. When our partner responds positively, by “being there” for us, that builds trust.”

Once we are “there” for each other over and over again, we can also begin to trust each other in the face of anger or upset.

Going back to that feeling of safety – we all want to know that person will be there even when something is going wrong.

Having a ground rule that says, “its okay to be angry, I am not going anywhere,” is a very important building block to trust and like emotional cement in your relationship.


It’s also critical that both partners declare their marriage as a top priority both in spending time together and in carrying out the commitments of daily life.

First, by investing time in your relationship, that shows the other person they matter to you. You are putting them above other things. It also helps build trust because you are creating evidence that you are reliable, that you can be counted on and trusted. The ability to rely on each other as a team is essential to sustain trust over time.


As you can see, each pillar builds and supports the other. Reliability is the glue that holds all the pillars together as – trusting you will do what you say you will do is essential for safety, faithfulness and commitment.

Knowing the ingredients of what creates trust can also help you see if there is an area in your marriage where you are not feeling or expressing trust. This way you can re-build that pillar before it breaks down.

The Gottman Institute has a great quiz that helps you calculate “The Trust Metric” in your relationship. You can use this as a tool to determine where you might need to learn how to regain trust in any of the critical areas of your marriage.

By: Maggie Reyes

About the author:

Hello! I am Maggie Reyes. A Life Coach, Writer and the feisty voice behind ModernMarried.com.I love helping whole-hearted women (yes, that means you) re-think, how deep, rich and fabulous (and sexy!) married life can be.

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