My wife and I have been together as a couple for almost 14 years (married 11 of those). And, while we have had our shares and ups and downs, including some long stretches that seemed to be nothing but downs, overall, I would describe our relationship as a strong one.
One of the reasons for this is we understand the importance of trusting each other and, because of that, we have made three simple changes that have helped us keep that trust.
The first thing we did is stop hiding our cell phones. This is actually as simple as walking out of a room and leaving our cell phones on the kitchen table or couch while the other person is still sitting there. We actually have no real reason to look at each other’s phones (it’s not as though either of us gets late-night text messages or phone calls). It’s just our way of showing each other that we aren’t trying to hide anything.
Another thing we do is make sure we both understand where our money is spent. Money was a big stress causer early in our relationship and, on a couple of occasions, almost resulted in it ending. A big part of the reason for this is we each have separate bank accounts (something that is somewhat of a necessity since we each have our own home-based businesses) and there was always some tension created from not knowing how the other person was spending that money or if they were stashing money for something devious. Now, our bank accounts are pretty much an open book and we know each other’s balances and how our money was spent.
The last thing we did was start going to bed at the same time. There are some exceptions to this, such as when one of us isn’t feeling well and goes to bed extremely early as a result. However, making sure to have the exact same bedtime most nights, much like with the phones, is our way of showing each other we aren’t trying to hide something by waiting for the other person to go to bed first.
As is the case with most relationships, I’m sure my wife and I will continue to have our ups and downs. However, by taking these simple steps, we are able to add a little more trust to our relationship, something that makes us feel confident we can survive the rough patches.