Why Is Respect Important In a Relationship?
I know that he still loves me, but why did I feel disrespected? Does it matter that I feel respected at all? Isn’t love more important than that?
Love and respect can never be separated in a relationship, especially in a romantic one. It is true that we can respect someone and not really love him, but we can never love anyone without also respecting them.
“Respect is love in plain clothes.”-Frankie Byrne
What Is Respect?
We’re able to define respect best in times when we feel we’re not respected:
- When we’re not recognized
- When we’re not allowed to be ourselves
- When our needs are taken for granted
- When we are judged and underestimated
- When we are forced or threatened
- When we’re not listened to when we have something to say
- When we’re treated as objects for use rather than as persons to be valued and loved
To be respected therefore, is to be valued as a person, and for our needs to be taken into consideration, especially those needs accorded to our dignity as human beings.
To love on the other hand, is to value another person in a more significant way than everyone else. Hence, it must necessarily contain the ingredient of respect, which is the value we give to every person, no matter what our relationship with them may be.
What happens at times is that due to our familiarity and intimacy with people we have a relationship with, we forget to accord to them the respect we naturally give everyone else.
Why do we fail to respect those to whom we’re in a closer relationship with?
It may be because we naturally expect them to know us and to understand us better and consequently, to also forgive us easier because they love us.
It may also be because we gave more importance to ourselves and we have come to the point when we’re no longer genuinely loving the other person for his/her good, but for our sake alone. We have stopped treating them as persons and started treating them as objects we can use for our own happiness.
Why is it hard to continue a relationship with a person who doesn’t respect you anymore?
It’s very difficult to keep up a relationship with someone who no longer respects you because:
- Nobody wants to be used as an object and not treated as a person of dignity and worth.
- Trust will be affected because you cannot rely on a person who cannot give you your minimum needs for your dignity as a person.
- Meaningful communication will be hindered as you will no longer feel “safe” opening up your true feelings and thoughts to the other person.
- You will not be able to receive the care and affection you desire from the person, and you will also not be able to give it in turn because the other person who disrespects you will also neglect the true value of anything you may offer him, whether it be your words, your opinion or your expressions of love. ( A person only takes that which he believes to be valuable and that which comes from a person he believes,values and respects.)
- The absence of respect also signifies the absence/decline of love in many areas of the relationship
To respect another person is to act in ways that will not harm the other. Hence, when respect is lost, it’s so difficult to keep the relationship because people would naturally feel the need to protect themselves and avoid any harm.
This protection does not only refer to meeting one’s physical needs and avoiding physical harm. This also refers to protecting the inner person, one’s feelings and emotions that are so vital in love.
What could harsh words do?
It’s important then to know what harsh words (disrespectful words) can do to a relationship. If you think that words are harmless, you may have to think again because words are powerful!
Words convey the inner person’s feelings and thoughts. Words can make or break a person. And long after they’ve been uttered, they either live on to inspire us, or they echo curses at the back of our minds, haunting us with bitter memories and broken trusts.
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”– Proverbs 12
“Righteous people know the kind things to say, but the wicked are always saying things that hurt.”- Proverbs 10:32
Seek Respect As You Seek For Love
Many people are fooled into believing the other person loves them even if it is very evident that they are not being respected. How could a person truly love you if he could not even respect you?
People in relationships should of course be able to have a common defintion of what respect is to them. Many incompatibilities arise from not being able to define what respect really is. There are subtle differences from each one’s perspective of respect, but there are also general manifestations of it and of its lack. The most important thing is the other person’s intent. Is his intention focused only on his own selfish desires, or does he take your growth and welfare into consideration? Is he willing to make sacrifices for your love, or does he run away from the first signs of discomfort and difficulty?
“Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through. We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts. The emotion is the energy that motivates. We cannot ignore what we really want to create. We should be honest and do it the way we feel it. What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent… My intent will be evident in the results.”-Thurgood Marshall
If you are looking for one sure sign that a person loves you, always begin with RESPECT. With respect, you are valued as a person of dignity, your physical and emotional needs are protected, and your best interest is always taken at heart!
“Respect is what we owe; love, what we give” – Philip James Bailey
“The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.” -Benjamin Franklin