I watched as people filled the room at the annual company summer party and noticed several married couples. They ranged from newly married, who seemed to be on their best behavior – to older couples, who had long since started to act alike and were able to complete each others sentences – to couples more attention to their electronics than each other.

It got me wondering, “What makes the difference in a marriage?”

As a little girl I believed you grew up, got married, and lived happily after. While fairy tales are nice, there is more to a successful marriage than that and we all know it. So what makes for a strong marriage? There are many factors, but I believe trust is central to a happy marriage. Below are three aspects of trust we must begin to develop to help maintain a good marital relationship.

You must have trust in yourself as a partner. 

The fact that your spouse has chosen you should help build your self-esteem. It shows they love you and need you. You need to trust and believe in yourself that you have the capacity to do great things. When the going gets tough, you can get even tougher. The more you are comfortable with yourself, the more you will feel connected and safe with your loved one.

You must have trust in your spouse.

Trusting that your partner is being faithful is extremely important, but it is equally important to trust in their talents, abilities, and potential. The more we are appreciated and given praises/compliments, the more we want to become the person described in those compliments. The more someone trusts in us, the more we want to prove we can be trustworthy. Try to give what you would like to receive. Show your partner you trust in them in little ways each day (even if they might fail).

You must have trust in marriage itself.

While some marriages bend and some break, you shouldn’t let this scare you or cause you to lose trust in the institution itself. You made a vow to work through things together. It is a big leap of faith and takes a lot of trust, but it is not impossible and can be one of the most amazing journeys you can take. Get in, hold tight, trust in each other, and love every minute of the ride called marriage.

By trusting you can get through difficult times, make the right decisions and learn from your mistakes together, you hold the key to a fulfilling marriage. The absence of trust, more than any other virtue, has doomed many good relationships to failure. Trust is a must.