Respect is one of the foundations of any healthy and loving relationship. If you think about it, what do you have without respect? Not much that is worth anything…..

Despite best intentions, disrespect can still show up (even if only by accident) in a close relationship, and when it does, WATCH OUT!!! Feeling respected is so fundamental to feeling cared for, that when we feel disrespected, this is when the worst of the venom, the tears, and the damaging conflict tends to come out.

Can you think about the last time you felt disrespected by someone you care about? What did that feel like? Pretty awful? My guess is you’re probably wanting to stop reading this RIGHT NOW because it feels so bad just to think about this!

However, as part of my series exploring POSITIVE relationships traits, I think it is important to take a close look at what treating your partner with respect really looks like. And just because you felt disrespected before does NOT mean that you have an inherently unhealthy relationship. The following relationship characteristics are without a doubt ones to strive toward as they will lead to a happier relationship – and a more satisfied partner:

1. You recognize that your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or lover is an amazing person with unique and interesting qualities
2. Though your spouse or partner may have interests/activities that are different from yours, they are nevertheless of value
3. Your partner’s feelings, thoughts, and opinions are inherently valuable and worthy of your attention, even if they seem in conflict with yours
4. Your husbands, wives, boyfriends, or girlfriends always have a right to maintain control over and make choices about their own bodies, no matter what the circumstance
5. Your partner’s time is just as valuable as your own
6. You talk and behave in a way that conveys high opinion of your partner

In addition to respecting your partner as an individual, there are also ways that you can respect the relationship. This happens through maintaining the verbal and non-verbal “agreements” that every couple has. These are unique for every relationship, but examples that some couples include are:

1. No lying
2. No cheating
3. Ways in which household duties are split: he does dishes, she does laundry
4. Agreements about parenting
5. Ways in which money is spent
6. Keeping privacy about certain relationship issues

Overall, inherent to ALL of these characteristics of respect is an assumption of equality. If partners are able to see each other as true equals their chances of treating each other with respect is very high. This in turn makes for a very positive relationship.

One of the primary aims of the therapists at the Salt Lake Relationship Center is to support you in building a happy, healthy, and respectful relationship. Contact us or schedule an appointment today!