When you decide to be in a relationship with someone, you don’t just invest love in them. You give parts of yourself to your partner that you wouldn’t give to other people, like a hefty portion of your trust. However, trust is perhaps the most fragile thing between two people in a relationship. It’s something that, when betrayed, puts the other elements of a relationship—time, dedication, respect, care and even love—in peril. So why is trust so important in a relationship? And how does communication, or the lack thereof, make it stronger or weaker?

  1. Trust is the first thing you invest in a person.

You can’t fall in love with someone you don’t trust. In fact, when you start dating someone, before you can even fall in love with them, trust is the first thing you invest in them. Think about it. You won’t go out with a person if you don’t think they’re trustworthy, right? And you won’t bother investing further if you don’t trust that your affections will be reciprocated. Trust becomes the foundation of any relationship, with other elements like building blocks that you build on top of it. Therefore, when trust is broken, the relationship you’ve built will inevitably topple over, unless something is done to fix the foundation.

  1. Trust determines how much of yourself you’re willing to give to someone else.

A good and lasting relationship has the perfect balance of give and take. When you trust someone, you’re more eager to give parts of yourself to them. At the same time, you won’t bother investing in the relationship further if you don’t trust that your affections will be reciprocated. Trust is how you measure your willingness to share your life with another person.

  1. Love is subjective, but trust is objective.

Sure, love may sometimes sway your ability to trust someone. Because you love a person, you’re willing to put in trust even if you sometimes can’t find the right reasons to. However, when making big decisions about your relationship, trust becomes the objective arm that points you to the right direction. It’s true that love isn’t enough; in order to stay in a relationship with someone, you measure not only your love for them but also how much you trust them.

  1. Communication makes trust stronger.

Communication is important in any relationship. Think about love as a seed that grows into a plant as you also grow in a relationship with someone. The soil is the trust that you have for the person; it gives the seed room to grow. If you plant the seed in good soil, it will blossom. On the other hand, if you plant it in bad soil, it may spring some leaves but it will eventually wilt and die. Meanwhile, communication is the water. When you spend time with someone and open up to them, you improve the soil and nurture the seed, helping it grow. Conversely, a lack of communication will dry out the soil and kill the plant.

For a relationship to stay strong through the years, you and your partner must work hard to maintain the trust you have for each other. Don’t let the foundation weaken by betraying each other’s trust. Make it stronger with consistent communication.