One of the links in last week’s Reading Corner contained the statement “In successful relationships, respect is more important than communication.”
Usually communication is touted as the most important thing in a relationship, so this was an unusual claim. We started talking about this and realized that respect is such an intrinsic part of our relationship that we’ve never really noticed it or written about it, like the clichéd fish that doesn’t know it’s in water. So we decided to rectify that with this blog by looking at how respect plays a role in relationships. Funnily enough, all the aspects start with “A”, which is probably something to do with Aretha.
Accepting your mate as a unique individual, and that being in union and love means accepting all aspects of how they are, expresses a deep respect which creates trust and is one of the foundations of most successful relationships.
Learning to listen and hear your partner also shows your deep respect. Remembering what is said and acting upon it is a reassuring way of letting them know that they are truly heard and asking for and honoring their input communicates how important they are to you.
Taking time to be together, where you put aside everything else and dedicate yourself to your union is critical to each of you feeling important and respected by the other. When we are too busy to find time to be alone with each other or to make the time for this kind of sharing, then it is very hard to feel respected or honored.
When you’re not appreciated by your partner, you have to find that support from within yourself. You have to pat yourself on the back. How you judge your worth has to come entirely from your own assessment.
At first that may seem perfectly reasonable. Isn’t that simply a self-esteem issue, saying you should hold yourself in high regard? But the reality is that we see ourselves as others see us – more accurately, as we think others see us – and constantly adjust our appearance, language and behavior to earn their approval. Think of it like the way each bird in a flock adjusts its course to match all the others and thus gain the benefits of flocking behavior.
It is humbling to realize that our own behavior, which we so proudly think of as autonomous, is in large part chosen to fit in with others. And so the approval of others is something that most of us need. It’s a tricky balance, though. We must be careful that this push towards the norm does not smother our uniqueness, and at the same time also avoid letting our ties to others weaken so much that we become socially maladjusted or a sociopath.
So it’s hard when you’re not appreciated by your partner. But it’s even worse when your partner actively disrespects you,, an active pulling-down of how you see yourself, and in this case, you have to work even harder to retain your sense of self-worth. Disrespect is corrosive, and leaves permanent scars on the relationship.
Autonomy is an important part of respect. If you don’t let your partner act as they want, if you tell them what to do or how or when to do it, you’re not respecting them as being able to act freely in the world; you’re halfway towards treating them as a slave or a child.In successful relationships, respect is more important than communication #relationships #quote Click To Tweet
Behaviors that Express Respect for your Partner
- Loyalty: honoring your partner with your unbroken support
- Acceptance: knowing your partner is a unique individual, not attacking them for their differences and not trying to change them
- Listening Actively: giving your partner your attention, hearing what they are sharing, and acting accordingly
- Being Present: giving yourself to your partner by being present with your full self when with them
- Acknowledgment and Appreciation: treasuring the special person your partner is and letting them know that you do
- Setting Aside Time: The deepest showing of respect is to make sure that no matter what else is going on, you make being together a priority and create special time for the two of you to be alone with each other
Feeling respected and honored by your mate is something that strengthens not only your relationship, but your ability to be successful in the world. When you go forth with loving respect from your mate in your back pocket, very little can daunt you. Successful relationships are relationships that make us better people. Giving and receiving respect is a key to achieving that.