If you don’t have this one thing, your relationship will fail.
By The Mind’s Journal — Last updated on Aug 16, 2023
Photo: jacob lund via Canva
By Shreyasi Debnath
Do you often feel devalued by your partner?
If you are asked to pen down three important ingredients of a successful relationship, what would you include in it?
It would most probably include, ‘love’, ‘understanding’, and ‘communication’, or maybe ‘love’, ‘acceptance’, and ‘trust.’
Love will surely top the charts, but how many of you would include ‘respect’ in it?
I fear that only a few of you would.
Even when so much of a relationship hinges on respect, we never really focus on its significance to change the entire chemistry of a relationship.
There are several relationships that are spiraling down the wrong way because the partners consistently function on disrespecting each other.
Doesn’t respect come as an obvious complement in a relationship? We like to believe so.
But, no, love is not synonymous with respect.
Love is, “I need you. I want you to be happy.”
Respect is, “I look up to you. I value your words and opinions.”
Even though respecting looks like an easy task to accomplish, you will frequently see couples eroding each other, often actively participating in disrespecting each other.
Disrespect has its expression in various forms.
It comes in the form of derogatory comments to belittle your partner, like you are having a dinner date with your partner and friends and suddenly you make a comment on your partner’s behavior like, “Please ignore his crazy antics!”
Being inconsiderate of their opinions, like saying, “I have decided what to do about my future. Please don’t comment on what you have no idea about.”
Questioning their potential, like saying, “Are you sure you can do this? Think again.”
Subtle body language that shows indifference, like rolling your eyes, grimacing at something your partner said that you don’t agree with, dismissing something your partner said with a sway of your hand, breathing deeply as if you are containing your anger and contempt at your partner.
Constantly sticking your face into the phone, even when conversing with your partner.
A partner who constantly compliments other people, but is indifferent to all forms of positive qualities their partner has.
Respecting takes the ability for us to look for the qualities and capabilities in our partner and adore and admire them for that.
Respect in a relationship is the pedestal you put your partner on because you accept the person as they are.
Respect also means being able to look up to, get inspired, and be encouraged by your partner’s qualities.
Believe it or not, when a person you love so much admires you, lifts you up, and appreciates you for who you are, rather than pulling you down for what you are not and that’s when you feel complete.
Half of the attraction works when the other person honors, values, and considers you more than anything else.
Even though disrespecting doesn’t have any immediate impact on the relationship, other than an argument or two, over time it breeds contempt.
Gradually, resentments start growing into grudges and the intense passion is replaced by a toxic connection.
Once a relationship is sabotaged, it often gets difficult to save it.
You no longer have the trust in your partner that you once had.
There is always sheathing anger rising in you every time you face your disrespectful partner.
The feelings are no longer that of love and adoration, but it turns into a cycle of finger-pointing and a complaining session.
If you don’t want your relationship to materialize into a failure, bring back the fire of romance in your relationship.
Here is how to respect your partner:
1. Walk the talk
Are you keeping all the promises you make? Or are they just hanging on as empty words?
If you say something, make sure you do it, or else never say it.
Nothing screams disrespect louder than putting someone on a high pedestal of expectations and pushing them down from there in the blink of an eye.
This means that you don’t value the presence of your partner in your life.
Once your partner comes to realize that there is no value attached to him/her, they will start distancing themselves.
2. Show your efforts in other aspects of your life
When your partner understands that you are giving an effort in other aspects of your life — professional, familial life, and in your friend’s circle, he/she starts respecting you.
Never dodge the execution of a plan or face challenging situations or take responsibilities under control.
These small efforts speak more than anything.
They will slowly start trusting in your ability to take account of everything about you.
Respect in a relationship is a two-way gate.
Once you earn that respect from your partner, he/she will also start to respect you.
3. Don’t avoid confrontation
You can avoid conflicts today, tomorrow, or even for weeks, but the situation won’t get better by itself.
If you really want the relationship to work out, sit down for a hard conversation.
Remove blockages, and walls between you both, and discuss both of your boundaries, insecurities, values, and outlooks towards life.
Be patient with each other. Don’t be afraid to fight for both of your needs in the relationship.
A relationship requires you both to give mutual efforts, to be a team to fight negativity, and not fight with each other.
The common enemy is toxicity, which when fought by you both, can bring mental peace and sunshine.
Disrespect for your partner kills his/her sense of self-esteem, his/her autonomy, and drags the relationship towards pain and suffering.
To respect your partner, means to treat him/her carefully, tenderly, and considerately.
It is not so difficult to respect the other person when you genuinely care for their personal growth.
Remember, real love, is not based on romance or a candlelight dinner.
It is based on respect, compromise, care, and trust.
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Shreyasi Debnath is a psychologist and writer who focuses on mental health, self-care, and self-love.
This article was originally published at The Mind’s Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.