Love is respect.
You can’t love your romantic partner if you don’t respect them, and it’s really difficult to love someone who doesn’t respect you. Yet many people stay in loveless and respect-less relationships.
From the get-go, when you meet and start dating your romantic partner, it’s essential to foster mutual respect. From there, you need to continuously build respect to ensure your romantic relationship is healthy and happy.
But what are the best ways to nurture respect?
I’ve got everything you need to know about respect and how to cultivate respect with your partner.
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What Is Respect in a Healthy and Loving Relationship?
Respect, like love, is how you behave, not just how you feel. When you respect your partner, you behave in a way that expresses that respect, and for there to be mutual respect in your relationship, your partner will do the same and treat you respectfully.
When you respect your loved one, you:
In essence, when you respect your romantic partner, you give them the freedom to be who they are and you love them unconditionally.
What Does Respect Look Like in a Relationship
In a healthy relationship, mutual respect is:
Why Is Respect Important in a Romantic Relationship?
When you foster mutual respect in a relationship, you:
7 Ways to Build Respect in Your Relationship
Here are 7 proven methods to build respect in your relationship:
1. Have a Talk about What Respect Means
We all have different ideas of what love and respect means, so “clear the air” and get into the semantics of what respect means to you with your partner. Only when you have an honest and open discussion about the meaning of respect can you both be on the same page and move forward.
When my husband and I got together, we chatted about respect and our relationship. We both had to think about what is and what isn’t respect, and I wish we had the following questions to guide us.
When you and your loved one talk about respect, use these questions to help you:
2. Show Your Partner You Respect Them
You can be respectful if your behavior is disrespectful. So show your partner you respect them by:
3. Improve Your Communication Skills
Aside from the conversation about respect, which you and your loved one should revisit every so often and whenever you feel like you need to set boundaries or talk about disrespect, you should also work on improving your communication skills.
When you don’t talk about issues in your relationship, sooner rather than later resentment will start to fester and anger will come to the fore. It’s easier to nip a problem in the bud when it first appears than five years later when the problem is now a huge volcano ready to burst and spew anger, disappointment, and bitterness (avoid your relationship turning toxic).
You should also talk about your boundaries, and to enforce what you feel comfortable with also requires communication. So work on these skills to help nurture a respectful and safe environment where you and your romantic partner can thrive.
4. Support Your Partner
Being supportive, attentive, and affectionate to your partner goes a long way to showing your loved one how much you value and respect them. So ensure you support their ideas, feelings, concerns, experiences, and needs, and remember, supporting someone isn’t the same as enabling their bad habits and behavior.
When your partner expresses their thoughts, emotions, and what they went through, mindfully listen and be sure that your phone doesn’t distract you from giving your loved one the attention and time they are worthy of. Meet their love language so they feel seen, loved, heard, and supported.
If you don’t agree with your partner, respectfully raise your concerns or thoughts. But you can still be there for your partner and show up.
5. Be Honest and Take Responsibility
When you respect yourself and your partner, it’s essential to be honest and take responsibility for your words, actions, thoughts, and your role in your relationship.
It’s sometimes easy to be disrespectful (and we’re human, so we slip up) when we are frustrated and stressed.
Think back to when you and your partner had a rather heated argument? Did you both act respectfully toward each other? Probably not, right?
Unfortunately, once you begin to act disrespectfully, it is so easy for that to become a habit, and before you know it, you and your partner are in an unhealthy relationship. So become mindful of treating your partner with respect and notice when you are disrespectful.
Apologize, and make sure the apology accompanies changed behavior. Just saying “I’m sorry,” but not living as if you are, are just empty words that don’t mean anything.
6. Be Dependable - Say What You Mean; Mean and Do What You Say
You need mutual respect for your relationship to be healthy, and one way to gain and earn respect whilst giving it is to be dependable.
When your partner asks you to get milk on your way home, ensure you deliver. When you don’t get the milk, and regularly fail to be dependable, your partner won’t feel heard or valued. Think about how you feel when your loved one isn’t dependable?
Have integrity and be someone who is reliable by saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and doing what you say.
7. Be Mindful
Another way to cultivate respect in your romantic relationship is to practice mindfulness. Be aware of when you and your partner are respectful toward each other, when you are disrespectful, and when you take what’s supposed to be a harmless joke just a bit too far and it becomes a hurtful (and unnecessary) jibe.
Become mindful of when you and your partner are sarcastic and dress a hurtful comment up as a playful joke. If you want, you can keep a respect journal, and if your relationship truly is a safe space, talk about these disrespectful instances and get to the root of the problem. It does come down to communicating well, respectfully, honestly, and in healthy ways.
A fundamental element of any relationship, whether friendship, platonic, romantic, or otherwise is respect. Without it, you only cause each other pain, and soon frustration, resentment, and other negative emotions will start to fester.
Make sure you and your loved one talk about respect regularly and act in ways that support how much you love, care about, and respect each other.