Respect: A key to successful relationship

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I used to have a boss who didn’t understand my craze for respect and space in a professional environment. I’m very finicky when people try to get too familiar and very fidgety when I feel the respect is gradually been lost over situations that could have been averted. Like in any form of relationship at all, be it, professional, family, and friends or with loved ones, some form of respect and space is necessary to keep the relationship appreciated.

Unlike many write ups about love and relationships, this is set to identify respect as necessary for relationships to thrive. Mutual respect is one of the essentials of all successful relationships. When that is lost, the relationship can be destroyed quickly, or more often, lead to a painful, stressful and unhappy life, especially for a couple. However, while mutual respect is not sufficient – because spouses or partners may treat each other respectfully, but still struggle with major issues – it is still necessary for the sustenance of a relationship. Without mutual respect couples are unlikely to be able to solve problems amicably, having at the back of their minds that any problem is not longer than the lifespan of their time together. To have mutual respect in a relationship is treat your spouse or partner in a thoughtful and courteous way. It means that you avoid treating each other in rude and disrespectful ways. Name calling shouldn’t even be a joke where respect is practiced. Insulting or demeaning your spouse or partner only tells of your weakness and inept culture. It also means that you do not talk sarcastically to, or ignore or avoid your partner.

While this sounds very simple, it takes a consistent effort to treat the people around you respectfully. Respect is not just the absence negative behaviour, but the presence of conscious positive behaviours and manners to those around you. To be conscious of respecting your spouse or partner’s is to do things such as: considering his or her opinion, consulting him or her before making decisions that affect your partner, taking an active interest in your spouse’s or partner’s life (work, daily activities and interests), compromising and negotiating with your partner about important issues that affect both of you and your family. While this list is far from exhaustive, it captures the essence of a respectful marriage or relationship.

Sustaining respect during the course of a relationship takes effort. We are all human, and if someone begins to treat us negatively, inconsiderately, and disrespectfully, we often tend to respond in kind. The pattern of mutual disrespect actually feeds on itself. The more one partner is rude and inconsiderate, the more likely it is the other spouse or partner will behave in similar ways. Thus, disrespect can grow until most interactions are characterized by sarcastic, inconsiderate, blaming and demeaning behaviour. Yet, the lack of respect in a relationship is not always so obvious. Spouses or partners can show their disrespect in more subtle but equally destructive ways, like ignoring your spouse or partner, responding with indifference to your partner. Once a couple has fallen into a pattern of treating each other disrespectfully, it is often difficult fall back in line. If both partners are angry and hostile towards each other, an unconscious indifference may ensue. Similarly, if one person makes a good effort to change things, this effort may go unnoticed if the other is set in his or her defensive mindset.

To re-establish respect in your relationship, you can only work on changing your own behavior, you cannot police your partner’s behaviour. However, given the level of tension in a respect starved relationship, it is unlikely that either you or your partner can effectively influence each other. Thus, it is better to focus on your own behaviour and adopt the golden rule – Treat your partner as you would like to be treated!

If you truly want love and respect in your relationship, you need to accept and appreciate the differences in you and your partner. It is almost a cliché to marry or become involved with people who are different from you and then spend the rest of your relationship trying to change the other person. Give room even while you’re consciously maintaining your respect to your better half.

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