In Relationships, Respect May Be More Important Than Love

You can't have a healthy relationship without respect.

Love is necessary, but love is not enough.

Falling in love is easy. You meet someone interesting, confident, funny, good looking, and you feel attracted. They give you their attention, make you laugh, treat you nicely, impress you with thoughtful gestures, and before you know it, you're in love. That feeling at the beginning of a relationship is great, and enough to keep things running smoothly for a while. But the exciting sparkle goes through several transformations, and when it does, you need more than an attraction for your relationship to work. Among others, respect.

A relationship can't survive without respect.

For any relationship to work, whether it's romantic, family, professional, or friendship, those involved have to respect each other. Respect is all about considering each other's feelings, wishes, rights, and needs. And when you don't care about your partner's feelings, you can't expect them to stick around. Sure, there are plenty of marriages in which only one person's wishes matter, but we can't say they're healthy or happy. If you want a strong, healthy, long-standing relationship, there needs to be respect on both sides.

What some people fail to understand is that while love connects two people, it doesn't turn two individuals into one. There are still two individuals with their own needs, dreams, wishes, hobbies, past, worries, family, friends, likes, and dislikes. When you're in a relationship, you don't put yours on the side, and your partner doesn't, or shouldn't, either. You both have to respect this. You are not supposed to forget about your needs to focus on your partner's. You have to consider your partner's feelings, just as much as they have to consider yours.

You may not always like or agree with your partner's decisions, opinions or choices. But you can't demand they change what they believe or how they feel. "If you want to be with me, you have to stop being friends with X"; "If you want to be with me, you have to change your career"; "If you want to be with me, you have to be more/less religious". We are different, we see things differently and we have to respect each other's views, even if we don't share them. (This goes for all humans, not just your partner, by the way.) At the same time, when you make a decision that might affect your partner, you have to consider their feelings as well. So, while your husband must respect your decision of quitting your job to become a ballerina, you too must consider how this change affects him. Maybe he will have to work two jobs to support you and your kids. It goes both ways, remember that.

In a healthy relationship, there's no room for disrespect.

Insults, abuse, and other forms of disrespect are never part of a healthy relationship. You need to respect each other's space, time, and boundaries. Looking through your partner's phone every night to check who they're texting is disrespectful. Behaving like your partner's feelings, time, or needs matter less than yours, insults, cheating, and lying are also forms of disregard that have no place in a healthy relationship.

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