In the early stages of a relationship, couples latch onto ethereal feelings of love, affection and physical attractions. When asked for key planks in a strong relational foundation, most long term partners state mutual respect as a source of strength and endurance. Researchers point to a link between love and respect in promoting healthier relationships. Seeing the power of respect, how it can be shown and its supercharging impact on love proves the critical nature of respect in a relationship.
The definition of respect notes “esteem for an intrinsic sense of worth.” Partners in relationship see the value of one another and this value flows from their essential person. Some may possess certain qualities respected by others like intelligence, compassion, wit or generosity. When asked to distill what they respect about a partner, a list of features morphs over time into the essence of the person. With a holistic view of respect, separation from qualities to the partner ceases to exist within the relationship.
The challenge in exhibiting respect for a partner centers around several behaviors issuing forth from a single heart. Respect proves impossible to show when it comes from a place of insincerity. The best avenue to demonstrate respect is by keeping the acts simple.
* Pay Attention: Awareness of what is happening shows care for the other person.
* Mean What You Say: Though it sounds simple, doing what one says and being on time points to the focus of respect.
* Remember Kindergarten: Be kind and polite because no one feels disrespected when treated humanely.
* Build Them Up: Supporting a partner lets them know how strongly they are cared for and respected.
* Share Time, Energy and Thoughts: Hearing how they are being considered when not around cements a feeling of being seen.
* Apologize: Judiciously acknowledging a wrong done helps a partner know their feelings are being considered.
* Stand Guard: Act as a shield when they are not present to defend themselves and stand by them when they are.
In a mutually respectful relationship, both partners will be acting in this way, so it should never feel like a burden. The sensation will be closer to a strong team responding in unison to strengthen one another. A risk only exists when sincere respect erodes creating an imbalance. Communicating respect in verbal and non verbal ways will maintain a couple’s bond.
Love and Respect
Love powered by respect proves unstoppable. A relationship where the partners possess mutual respect means frank discussions about things occurring within and outside the relationship can take place. A disrespectful partner may resort to hiding feelings or undermine the other around friends and family. A lack of support eats away at the foundation of relationship leaving it vulnerable and unstable. Even the strongest love may buckle under repeated acts of disrespect leading to a collapse of the relationship.
Respect, like love, challenges a person to look outside of themselves to what their partner needs and deserves. While easier to take care of oneself, respect rewards couples with longer and more fruitful relationships. Both partners need to earn, receive and foster respect for the betterment of themselves, each other and their future together.