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5 Pillars of Trust

5 pillars of trust

Have you trusted and been deeply hurt? If you have known the pain of betrayal, you have also known the fear of fully trusting again. Am I right? Trust may be the most powerful asset we possess and the most difficult and painful to lose. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 Pillars of Trust.

In personal relationships, especially marriages, trust is the foundation for relationship satisfaction and longevity. Because human beings are wired to pair bond, a lack of trust at home can be extremely destabilizing. This can have a negative impact on our confidence in other personal and work relationships.

In his book “The Speed of Trust” Stephen M.R. Covey asserts that the cost of doing business goes down when people trust each other. The time it takes to close a deal, manage an employee, or solve a problem decreases when trust is high. This saves money.

A clear understanding of the 5 Pillars of Trust will change your life and your relationships.

How trustworthy are your most important relationships? Take two minutes to run them through this T.R.U.S.T. mnemonic checklist.

The 5 Pillars of Trust


Is the person you are in relationship with an open book? Are you an open book with this person? We all need at least one person that we are completely transparent with. Someone we can reveal the truth of our humanity with. Where there can be an exchange about the truth of the good, the bad and the ugly of who we are.


Every high trust relationship must have the capacity to be responsive to each others’ felt and real needs. We learn to test the validity of what we are feeling by getting feedback from the person we trust the most.

To share how we are feeling is risky business. There is always the chance that our feelings are not based in reality. Nevertheless they are real and can be painful to us. We know we are trusted when we can share our unfiltered feelings with another person without fear of judgment.

This kind of sensitive responsiveness needs to go back and forth. Without it, transparency will be compromised and confidence in the relationship will not grow.


In our most trusted relationships, we need to hear the other person respond to us with compassionate understanding. When we don’t feel understood we will shut down and stop sharing.

The truth is that few people really do understand who we are. As a result we have to be discerning about how we open up with people who do not know the big picture of our lives. There are people like therapists who are extremely skilled at understanding and validating human behavior. A friend who has known us for years can provide the same kind of acceptance.


Trustworthy relationships are safe. They will protect the sacredness of our deepest secrets. They will never use our words against us. If we are married, they will be careful not to form emotional or physically intimate relationships with others. They will stand up for us and offer help when we are in need. They will nurture and protect our children

Trustworthy people always tell the truth. We can trust them with our money. They have spiritual values that lead them to place the interests of others ahead of their own.


Time management is a measure of trust. We only have a limited number of hours in this life. People we can trust appreciate and steward the time we offer them. They also manage their time well in their personal lives and in their places of employment.

In marriages they take the time daily to listen and understand. They place time with us above all other priorities. They take personal time for their own physical, emotional and spiritual development.

Wired for Relationship

Our brains are wired to require emotional connection, intellectual stimulation and physical comfort. We need people that we deeply trust to meet these needs.

Transparency, Reciprocity, Understanding, Safety and Time are the pillars that form the foundation for lifelong trusting relationships.

In a world of light-touch social media connections we need to be intentional to form a few tried and true relationships that we can trust with the fabric of our lives.

Michael W. Regier, Ph.D. is a highly trained and experienced clinical psychologist, Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist and EFT Supervisor in Visalia and San Luis Obispo, California. He and his wife Paula are authors of the book Emotional Connection: The Story & Science of Preventing Conflict & Creating Lifetime Love.



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