How to Foster Mutual Respect in Your Marriage

What is the key to a long-lasting, happy marriage?

Chances are you’d say that the cornerstone to any marriage is love.

But while love is – of course! – important, there’s another key ingredient that’s essential to maintaining a loving relationship: respect.

Below, we’ll cover why respect is important in a marriage and how you can communicate with your partner to ensure that both of you feel respected.

Why Respect Is So Important to Maintaining Love

There’s nothing quite like falling in love. It’s a process that happens quite naturally, and often the struggle is not to fall too deeply in love too quickly. However, maintaining that love over the long haul is an active process, requiring the effort of both partners. An important part of that effort means communicating your respect.

If you do not respect your partner – or vice versa – this will impact how you view them and how you treat them. And both of you will feel it. A lack of respect leads to the destruction of love and desire, and the growth of hurt, anger, and disgust.

Most couples believe that they view and treat one another with respect. But what does respect look like in a marriage or long-term relationship? How does each partner show respect? And does your way of showing respect translate to your partner?

Cultivating Respect Requires Communication

Mutual respect is not an element that’s automatically present in romantic relationships – it must be cultivated. This means that respect is a continual process, one that requires communication from both partners.

There’s one simple idea that empowers you to cultivate respect in your relationship, but it can be difficult to execute.

Just three words: ask and tell.

What does that mean? We’re not mind-readers. We have no way of knowing what feels respectful or disrespectful to our partner. Likewise, they don’t know what we find respectful or disrespectful

So, talk about it. Communicate your needs, including what constitutes respect from each of your perspectives. Tell each other when you feel disrespected, so you both know what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.

Because your relationship can’t change for the better if someone doesn’t know they’re doing something unhelpful or hurtful. And when communication breaks down, so does respect… and ultimately, love.

Walt Ciecko, Ph. D., BCB
605 Wynyard Rd
Wilmington, DE 19803