Showing Respect to Your Partner
We often focus on what we should be “getting” from our partner in terms of respect. But respect has a giving component as well…
- Choose your words carefully
Words come out quickly and can be hard to take back. So before launch a verbal tirade against your partner, consider the desired outcome of your words. Do you really want to “punish” your partner — or are you simply longing for him/her to be more considerate of your needs? If so, a diplomatic approach is more likely to achieve this goal.
- Acknowledge contributions
There’s no way around it: Your partner is going to let you down sometimes. But most likely, he or she is also making some positive contributions to the relationship. Be sure to affirm these qualities, even amid other frustrations. Doing so will help your partner lower his/her defenses and lead to a more constructive partnership.
- Honor boundaries
Understand and respect your partner’s personal boundaries regarding time together/apart, physical contact, etc.
- Be willing to compromise
Being respected doesn’t mean your needs always take priority over your partner’s. Compromise provides a relationship the flexibility it needs to keep from ripping apart.
- Show consideration
Help with the housework, give sincere compliments and be generally thoughtful toward your partner.
- Be strong enough to admit when you’re wrong
When you are confident in your self-worth, apologizing shouldn’t make you feel threatened. We all make mistakes; admitting so when it happens allows your relationship to move forward, rather than back.
- Protect your partner
Never compromise your partner’s physical or emotional well-being.
Being Respected by Your Partner
- Understand your worth
Self-esteem isn’t about thinking you are better than others; however, you should have an unshakeable conviction that your thoughts, feelings and physical person warrant respect. If you are truly convinced that you are worthy of respect, others are unlikely to doubt it.
- Act honorably
While our fundamental human dignity calls for respect, being a person of character makes it easier for people to respect you. People who act with integrity rarely do anything to harm another person; accordingly, such people are more likely to be respected by others.
- Be a man or woman of your word
When you lie to your partner or break promises, you undermine trust in the relationship. And lack of trust often leads to a lack of respect.
- Show respect
To be truly respected, we must also respect. If some of your partner’s actions or attitudes are causing mistrust or resentment, actively address those issues.
Respect means recognizing our own worth—and the worth of others. When we respect our partner, we are able to rise above pettiness, jealousy and cruelty. When we respect ourselves, we are able to transcend insecurity, defensiveness and fear. And respecting both ourselves and our partners enables us to build strong, lasting and mutually-supportive relationships.