We usually focus on what we should be “getting” from our partner in terms of respect. But respect has a giving component as well…
• Choose your words wisely
Words come out quickly and can be hard to swallow. So before you launch a verbal tirade against your partner, consider the desired outcome of your words. Do you really want to “punish” your partner — or are you simply longing for him/her to be more considerate of your needs? If so, a diplomatic approach is more likely to achieve this goal.
• Acknowledge contributions
This is life: Your partner is going to let you down sometimes. But hopefully, he or she is making positive contributions to the relationship. Be sure to affirm these qualities, even amid other frustrations. Doing so will help your partner lower his/her defenses and lead to a more constructive relationship.
• Honor boundaries
Understand and respect your partner’s personal boundaries regarding time together, time apart, physical contact and even sleep cycle. No one likes a cranky pants!
• Be willing to compromise
Being respected doesn’t mean your needs always take priority over your partner’s. Compromise provides a relationship the flexibility it needs to keep from ripping apart.
• Show consideration
Help with housework, give sincere compliments, flowers and food are always nice and be generally thoughtful toward your partner.
• Admit when you’re wrong
When you are confident in your self, apologizing shouldn’t make you feel threatened. We all make mistakes. Admitting them when they happen allows your relationship to move forward, not back.
• Protect your partner
Never compromise your partner’s physical or emotional wellbeing. If your temper is out of control, seek professional help. Likewise, if something you are doing is affecting your partner’s happiness, resolve to compromise a change.
• Understand your worth
Self-esteem is not thinking you are better than others. As a fully functioning adult, you should have an unshakeable conviction that your thoughts, feelings and physical person warrant respect. If you are truly convinced that you are worthy of respect, others are unlikely to doubt it.
• Act honorably
Being a person of character makes it easier for people to respect you. People who act with integrity rarely do anything to harm another person.
• Keep boundaries
When you love someone, it’s easy to let certain things slide. “He or she didn’t really mean it.” “It was just that one time.” “I know, but he/she has been working really hard lately.” If you find yourself regularly making excuses for your partner, he or she may be taking advantage of your poor boundaries. It is up to you to protect your worth and your boundaries from anyone who would undermine them.
• Be a man or woman of your word
When you lie to your partner or break promises, you undermine trust in the relationship. And lack of trust often leads to a lack of respect. Lack of respect will only erode your relationship until there may be nothing left!
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