Respecting your spouse might be hard for some people to do in marriage. As a therapist, I’ve heard these phrases many times: “Why should I respect her if she doesn’t deserve it or hasn’t earned it?” or “He doesn’t respect me, so why should I respect him?” While these questions have merit and are completely understandable, they can break down a marriage quickly if this mindset goes on for a long period of time. Having respect is important in your marriage.
Obviously in cases of abuse and extreme circumstances, there is a much different conversation to have about respect for your spouse, so please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m talking about for the typical marriage, it is meaningful to know why and how respect is important and can have an impact on how each of you feels loved.
I feel loved and respected by my husband differently than he feels loved and respected by me. Spending quality time together, having conversations, my voice mattering and being heard, and him being a reliable teammate in our house fills up my love tank quickly.
While my husband enjoys and values those same things, he also feels very loved and respected when I appreciate his hard work, communicate without nagging or criticism, value his opinion and time, talk highly of him to our kids and others, and consider his wants, needs and desires in our relationship. Each of these shows him love and respect.
No person is perfect, but it is important to understand that respecting your spouse can have a big impact on marriage satisfaction.
Here are some things to understand about why respect is important in your marriage:
Respect makes you feel safe in the relationship
When each person feels respected, it will help you feel safer to connect, open up, and be vulnerable. When one of you feels disrespected, it decreases the desire to do these things. Respecting your spouse will increase your connection and help break down emotional walls.
Respect makes you feel more secure
Showing respect builds a person up. It makes you feel believed in, admired, and looked up to. Like you have something to offer. We all have insecurities; so showing respect can help minimize some of these in your marriage.
Disrespect will hurt deeply
Nagging, cutting your spouse down privately or in front of others, and dismissing their wants and needs in the relationship will cut your spouse to the core. They will feel unloved and eventually lose hope that this is the relationship they should stay in. Disrespecting your spouse will put a wedge in your marriage.
It can be hard to show your spouse respect when you are hurt and feel disconnected. All people should be treated with respect even when they don’t deserve it. Hopefully you can see that showing respect is a way to take a step towards restoration. Making the first move by showing respect might make all the difference.