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Respect In A Relationship (27 Ways To Develop Mutual Respect)

by Sonya Schwartz

Respecting your partner is an essential ingredient of healthy relationships; ask anyone. If you don’t regard one another, then there’s a fat chance you’ll end up on the rocks before you know it. Remember, relationships are already no walk in the park; imagine how horrid it would be if your partner constantly puts you down or vice versa.

As it is with other aspects of a relationship, respect can be taught and learned. It shows itself in both big and little things you do for each other. Nevertheless, it’s a lot easier said than done, even when you feel that you’re madly in love. With that in mind, here are some pointers to developing respect in a relationship.

27 Ways To Develop Mutual Respect In A Relationship

1. Don’t make it all about winning

Sometimes, couples get lost in an endless whirlwind of fights where they keep a scoreboard of the winner and loser. There are two things involved; there’s no communication and, of course, no respect. The thing is that gnawing feeling in the back of your head that tells you that you’re always right will eventually tank your partnership.

If arguments in your relationships are always a battlefield with clear winners and losers, then respect will be at the bottom of your list of concerns. On the flip side, couples that respect each other completely understand the concept of ‘you win some, you lose some.’ Simply pick your battles, and you’ll realize that your emotional needs will be easier to meet.

2. Trust your partner

Trust your partner

You heard right; this is a crucial aspect of all sorts of relationships; whether you are husband and wife or business partners. But what does it entail? It’s not only resting assured that your husband won’t pursue an extramarital affair. You equally need to demonstrate it using your actions.

So, quit jumping to conclusions and demanding honesty every chance you get, don’t flip through their phone or tail them whenever they leave the house. No one needs to tell you that it is not a healthy situation in any relationship.

If you suspect that your husband or partner is hiding something, opt for a conversation instead. By doing this, you’re not actually overstepping the boundaries of your partnership.

3. Spend some time apart

You may be wondering what spending time apart will actually bring to the table, but every relationship needs it. If you want to guard against a lack of respect, then take a breather once in a while. It's understandable that at the start of the relationship, you were practically one person, but after that, being with the same person, day-in-day-out can breed a lack of respect. 

That's why it makes sense that one of the ways to tackle this is to spend time apart. It doesn't have to be a full week or month; even a day away can invigorate a strained relationship. 

4. Take advantage of your strengths

There is no such thing as a perfect partner, and that's something you'll simply have to respect. You need to realize that your relationship is actually a partnership, and often, where one partner fails, the other can easily step in. You don't have to meet all your household needs; that's why you are a couple so that each person can put their best foot forward. 

What I'm trying to encourage is that you play to your strengths and equally acknowledge each other's strengths. Never highlight your partner's weaknesses to puff up your strengths; that never ends well. Altogether, playing to your strengths builds strong relationships that are built on mutual respect. 

5. Don't shy away from the truth

You don't want to know how many relationships have been torn apart prematurely due to dishonesty. It's probably because telling the truth is not always the most convenient path to take. But if you love and respect your partner, then telling the truth should be a top priority. 

Sure, the aftermath of telling the truth may not be pleasant, but if it comes into the open down the road (which usually happens), it'll be worse. 

One of the significant ways to earn your partner's respect is to ensure that they can take your word to the bank. Don't get sucked into the school of thought that lies help you lead a peaceful life; no one needs lies to thrive. 

6. Evaluate your communication 

Communication can make or break a relationship; that's something you'll hear for many years down the line. If only it were a walk in the park. This is one area where people fall short when it comes to respect and relationships as a whole. The thing is, your partner cannot read your mind simply because you're in love. 

So, if there's an issue, it's a sign of respect to let them know and rectify it in a civilized manner. 

Have you noticed that when two people are screaming at each other, no one actually hears anything? For the relationship to thrive, you need to be able to have constructive conversations to communicate. No matter how trivial you think the issue is, if it bothers you that much, look for civil ways to let him know. 

7. Observe

Often, the fact that you live with your partner and get to see them do everyday things demystifies them. You forget how accomplished they are even while you are still in love. If you're in these shoes, then it's time to really take time to observe your partner. Seek out ways to highlight their accomplishments, among other qualities that make them more desirable. 

He's not just the man you fell in love with; he may be a father, accomplished in his career, and a good partner. Altogether, there are many ways you could look at this, and at the end of the day, you'll respect him more. 

8. Understand that the little things count

Couples with mutual respect never overlook the little things. Those tiny gestures most people overlook are sometimes the strongest expressions of love. If you and your partner respect each other, then small gestures are the currency you'll deal in. It could be anything from a love note to breakfast in bed or a back rub after a long day at work.

Altogether, if you love and respect each other, these things will come quite easily. Note that there's no blanket solution here; you know your partner more than anyone, so do something you know would make their life easier, even if it's just in a small way. 

9. Be reliable 

Being reliable is synonymous with being trustworthy and remember how important the latter is. If you say you're going to do something, then go out of your way to ensure that you do it. Don't be that partner that is continually canceling plans or lying about forgetting. 

If you have to set five alarms and ten reminders to introduce some respect into your relationship, then, by all means, do it! 

If something legitimately serious comes up, then let your partner know. Unexpected things happen once in a while, so don't beat yourself up about it. The best way to cancel plans is to apologize and make an effort to reschedule. 

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10. Accept that you're different 

Accept that you're different

The term agree to disagree has saved many relationships, and it's still doing it as we speak. Here's another one, 'variety is the spice of life,' so don't expect your partner to have the same opinions, values, or attributes as you. 

It's quite possible to disagree with someone and still respect them, so don't go burning bridges because he likes football and you like soccer. Your partner needs to embrace your differences and vice versa. 

This also extends to personal boundaries; remember, being in a relationship doesn't mean that you lose yourself. If you're uncomfortable with something, let your partner know, you shouldn't have to bend over backward even when you're uncomfortable. 

11. Know who you are 

No one ultimately knows themselves, at least that's what I believe. The journey of self-discovery starts quite early on, but it's a continuous process. 

Nevertheless, you have to know yourself in the present because then you'll understand your boundaries and what you're willing to let slide, even though the instigator is someone you love. That self-awareness and understanding will help you realize which values you can't let slide as well as the ones you can go easy on. 

Every relationship tests your boundaries; there's no way you can adequately set them if you do not know yourself. In other words, you need to know who you are to command respect. 

12. Be someone outside your relationship 

The fact that you are in love should never diminish you as an individual; in fact, it should be an excellent addition to your wholesomeness. With that in mind, it's essential to have a life outside your relationship because relationships have a way of sucking you in. 

When that's practically the only thing you have going, you may start putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on your partner. They may feel stifled, and in an attempt to give you a soft nudge away, they may lose a little respect for you. 

This goes both ways, in case you are wondering. Altogether, both you and your partner must have other aspects of your life you can turn to besides the one you share. 

13. Understand that respect is reciprocal

Sure, you may get away with showing a blatant lack of respect to someone for a while, but best believe that they will snap back at you one day. For the most part, your partner will feed off the way you treat them, and if respect is lacking on your end, don't expect to get a lot of it from him. 

It sounds very simplistic, but this rule of thumb governs every kind of relationship; it doesn't matter if your partner or kid is involved. So, don't expect to foster an environment with mutual respect if you give him what he's due. It's as simple as your ABCs. 

14. Don't pretend 

Pretending is easy; the problems arise when it's time to keep up the jig. You may be scared that baring your soul and showing him who you are may make your partner love you less. Here's the thing, if he genuinely cares about you, he'll respect you just the way you are. So don't spend a sizable chunk of your life trying to be someone you are not just because of fear. 

Often, we are the ones who complicate life; what if your partner really doesn't care about the things you feel are vital? I'm not asking you to bare it all on the first date, but let your partner see a little more of you as you navigate your relationship together. 

15. Understand each other's worth 

Everyone brings something to the table; it could be positive or negative. In fact, all relationships are built in a certain give and take. Your partner may bring value into your life financially, emotionally, and otherwise. 

Of course, it's nice to have a partner that will do all these things for you and more. Nevertheless, you need to realize that they are more than the things they can offer you. 

When last did you appreciate your partner only for who they are? If it's been a while, then you need to take a step back from all the perks and take a look at them with fresh eyes. Once you value them this way, respect will flow naturally. 

16. Learn each other's love languages

You've probably heard of love languages, in fact, some of you have crammed the whole shebang. Well, that's commendable because not everyone expresses love the same way. While some people offer words of affirmation, others view physical touch as a significant sign that their partner loves them.

Maybe you're more of an act of service gal, or you prefer to receive gifts; either way, you and your partner need to figure out and establish quite early on what your love languages are. 

When you know exactly how your partner shows you, love, respect follows closely after. It sounds like a long shot, but it's true. Once you understand what love looks like to both of you, you're highly unlikely to lash out in bitterness. 

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17. Don't let bad experiences ruin a good one 

Everyone has wounds they carry in from past relationships; that's just the way life is. The thing is, many people allow these fears of being cheated on, being physically and verbally abused, or being underappreciated to govern the way they act in a present relationship. 

If this sounds like something you and your partner are experiencing, it's essential to separate those fears and anxieties from the life you've built together. 

That doesn't mean you should push the fears aside and forge ahead. No, you need to acknowledge them together, work on them, and move on. With that out of the way, you'll be able to see and respect your partner with fresh eyes. 

18. Get to know each other  

Get to know each other

Well, that's odd; seeing as you are in a relationship, it's a given that you already know your partner, right? Wrong. Some people jump into relationships and get to know the idea of the person they are with. Best believe that will come back to bite them in the near or far future. Your relationship should be a ground for bonding and learning more about each other as you get closed. 

That's genuinely the only way you can depend on each other and build respect. You can't respect what you don't understand; you can fear it, you can even admire it, but respect is a function of knowledge. 

19. Validate each other 

There's nothing as impressive as hearing your partner compliment you for something you thought would go unnoticed or listen to understand where you're coming from. In fact, validation is one of the most essential recipes for any healthy relationship. If you want to build respect, you need to go the extra mile to understand your partner. 

I'm not saying there won't be trying times disagreeing is part of getting to know each other. Nevertheless, you need to disagree constructively and learn from your lover's quarrels. Don't just ensure that your voice is heard; equally, make sure that something is heard and assimilated. 

20. Take care of yourself 

I personally don't believe that you have to be a size six all your life or wear makeup 24/7 till you kick the bucket. It's not realistic for many people. You will change and pay less attention to some aspects of your life as more important ones pop up. 

Nevertheless, it is essential to remember to take care of yourself, not just for your partner but for yourself. Eat a healthy diet, brush your teeth, shower regularly, exercise, go for your physicals, and develop healthy sleep habits. 

By doing this, you're showing your partner that you intend to be in optimum shape for them. That warrants respect in any book. 

21. Talk

Well, of course, you talk; you probably live together or see each other every day, so what's this business about telling you to talk? Let me put it this way; there will be days where you feel like you don't have enough hours in the day. 

You'll be surprised how the cares of life can prevent you from having a real conversation with your partner. But if respect is the endgame, then you should find time to talk to your partner once you come up for air. 

22. Be committed to knowing each other 

In relationships, knowing the other person extends further than knowing their favorite colors or their allergies. Do you know what motivates them or what makes them tick?

It's imperative to figure this out, not just for knowledge sake, but so you can understand them more. I believe that understanding builds respect; you can't truly respect something you are clueless about. So, don't take things lightly in the understanding department. 

23. Apologize when you are wrong 

It seems simple enough, but that's only in theory. It's so hard for some people to apologize when they are wrong, and that is not acceptable behavior if you're trying to foster respect. When you do something wrong, don't try to talk your way out of it; simply apologize to your partner and move on. Doing this regularly will ensure that your relationship blossoms. 

24. Build healthy boundaries 

As a fully realized person, there should be some things that you will never compromise on. Even if you didn't set any ground rules coming in, it's not too late to speak up now. Believe me, when I say you'll eventually lose respect for anyone who continually steps on your toes. 

So, establish these boundaries as soon as you can while also respecting his boundaries. That's one sure way to foster respect in your relationship. 

25. Make a conscious decision to respect your partner

In case you didn't know, your relationship will test you in ways you could never imagine. There will be times where you wonder why you even fell for your partner. 

That's why you have to determine in your mind that you are going to respect them. There's nothing you can't do if you put your mind to it, so determine that you're going to respect that man when things are great and when they're crappy. 

26. Be empathetic 

Being empathetic is so hard for people, yet if you try to walk a day in someone else's shoes, it'll breed new respect for them. Don't internalize things because the world indeed does not revolve around you. Especially in relationships, you need to understand where your partner is coming from, and the only thing that will get you there is empathy. 

27. Remind yourself why you love them in the first place 

Something drew you to your partner and got you hooked on him. When it feels like you're about to burst, or take actions that show a lack of respect, remind yourself why you fell for him in the first place. Who knows, that may be all you needed to put things into perspective. 

FAQ's

What does it mean to have respect in a relationship?

It merely means that you understand that your partner is a wholesome person and have a life outside your relationship. They are not just a means to an end, regardless of what that end is. Respecting them also entails agreeing to disagree on some issues. You are not always going to have the same opinions, and that’s not a bad thing.

What are signs of disrespect in a relationship?

It's pretty easy to spot disrespect between couples; first, the guilty party won’t listen. Communication will be at an all-time low, and that will, in turn, lead to disagreements. Another tell-tale sign is lying; people who lie sporadically don’t truly respect their partners. Finally, if one partner or both hurt each other’s feelings on purpose, then there is no mutual respect there.

How do you demand respect in a relationship?

Above all things, you need to learn how to stand up for yourself, not in an aggressive manner, but let your partner know how their actions or words made you feel. Also, don't be passive-aggressive; let them know precisely why you're upset and keeping to yourself. If push comes to shove, walk away from a toxic relationship. 

What makes a man respect a woman?

It all boils down to self-respect and how you carry yourself. In other words, if you respect yourself, then your partner will respect you. Why? Well, if you respect yourself, there are many things you will not let slide. So, before you demand respect from your husband or partner, start with the person in the mirror.

Can you love someone if you don't respect them?

It may sound like a cruel joke, but yes, love can exist where there is a blatant lack of respect. Relationships like this are not particularly enjoyable and can easily roll into toxic territory. You see, respect is an even bigger deal-breaker in relationships than love, couples often fall in and out of love during the course of their relationship, but respect keeps them together.

The Bottom Line

Mutual respect is the lubricant that all relationships need to stay afloat and thrive. It's not just about words, but actions go a long way too. If the aim is to keep things between you and your partner peachy, respect plays a major part. I hope you’ve picked up a thing or two about mutual respect in relationships. 

Even more, I would love to hear your thoughts and contributions. While you’re at it, do share this article with friends and family members it could help.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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