“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”
― Steve Hall
Respect is not Fear or Contempt
In fact, respect is one of the opposites of both fear and contempt. If you have some measure of fear or contempt towards the person that you are in relationship with, then you can’t respect them…and it is likely that they don’t respect you.
“Respect is love in plain clothes” Frankie Byrne
Let’s imagine a couple…they have been together for a couple of years…and they are out for dinner. During that dinner, Jane is ready to order…and she picks her favorite meal…a burger with fries. Her partner, Jim, looks at her and says with a tone of contempt, in front of the waiter, “You’re not ordering that, are you? Shouldn’t you get a salad?” and he looks pointedly at her waist.
That is not respect. That is not love…is it? You might argue that he is doing it because he is concerned about her health…maybe he is…that isn’t the way to go about it, though, is it? That is contempt and shaming…and it’s not a good thing…
Where does Respect in a Relationship Begin?
Respect for Yourself
- It begins with a deep and abiding love of yourself and respect for you and all that you are…and for some people, this can be difficult…
- It starts with self-care and actually knowing what you want in life. ..
- It is a deep acknowledgement of the past that you might have had…and realizing that even if it was difficult…that you are here now…
- It is about knowing your own boundaries and where to draw the line. If you don’t have a good system of boundaries to protect you, then you won’t know when someone is crossing that invisible line…and you do need to know…
- It is being able to look into a mirror and feeling good and proud of the image that you see looking back at you…
- It is recognizing that you have responsibility for your own life…
Respect for Your Partner
- No name calling or ridiculing
- Listening while they have their say…give them the space to do that…
- Acknowledging and respecting the other’s personal boundaries
- Letting go of criticism and belittling
When you have respect for your partner, there is an abiding love that is bigger than the romantic love that we see on the Hollywood screen. There is a deep caring for the wellbeing of the other, physically, emotionally and financially.
When you have respect, you want to see your partner succeed.
When you have respect, you have trust and that is a beautiful thing.
What Does Respect Look Like in a Relationship?
- Making important decisions together
- Financial fidelity
- Emotional and physical fidelity
- Keeping your word and promises to the relationship
- Honoring your dreams and those of your partner
It all comes down to this…how do you feel when you are with the other person? Do you feel that you are respected? Do you feel that you respect your partner? Talk with your partner and see how they feel. If the answer is yes…wonderful! Keep doing what you are doing!
If the answer is no…then there is some work to do…isn’t there…because the bottom line is this…we all deserve to have respect…both for ourselves and for our partner…and most definitely for the relationship. Respect is like a fertile plot of land with deep, dark and rich soil…when you have it, love can flourish. If you don’t have respect, then your relationship is built on a rocky, thorny piece of ground with poor soil and it will have difficulty growing and blossoming…
“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner
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