Anyone who’s dated knows that relationships differ a lot, and no two look the same. When it comes to giving and getting respect in your relationship, this is especially true. In some relationships, there will be a balance of respect given and received, while in others, there will be one partner who tends to hold more power. This power dynamic can also shift at different times in your relationship. And this is all normal and healthy.
Having respect in your relationship means that even though there may be disagreements from time to time, you still trust your partner, treat them with love, and have faith in their judgments. So how do you make sure the power dynamic in your relationship remains balanced more often than not?
Here are some of the best ways to give and receive respect in a relationship, that may help you find the balance in yours:
1. Speak up.
If you’re not clear with your partner about what you want and need, then how do you expect them to know? If you don’t use your voice and speak up, then you’ll suffer in silence, and may grow to resent the relationship.
Nobody is a mind reader, so next time you feel like your partner is either intentionally or unintentionally being disrespectful, say something. And, if you really want to keep that power balance, encourage your partner to do the same.
2. Have a life outside the relationship.
Feeling strong and capable outside of your relationship is important, both for you as a person and for your relationship. If the majority of one partner’s happiness, identity, or fulfillment comes from the relationship, that’s a lot of pressure.
And that pressure can manifest itself in a lot of ways. One partner may feel suffocated, or like the relationship is becoming a burden. So in order to give respect to your partner, also give it to yourself. Your time together will be more rewarding and enjoyable if you also have time apart.
3. Have boundaries.
Without rules or boundaries in place, there won’t be anything to draw on when it comes to talking about what’s okay and what’s not. Both partners should express what their own boundaries and levels of comfort are when it comes to things like flirting, finances, or family, and the other person should naturally strive to respect those.
4. Treat people how you want to be treated.
Remember the Golden Rule kids. This saying has been repeated millions of times, but it still reigns true. Treat your partner how you would want them to treat you. If you’re looking for respect, show them respect. You’ll be amazed by how simple it can be.
5. Be yourself.
Always stay true to who you really are, and if your partner truly loves you, they’ll respect you for it. It’s also a great way to show your partner that you want them to be themselves around you. Every time you show your partner more of yourself, you’re inviting them to do the same. Encourage them to embrace their real selves and be more of who they already are. Then offer them a safe space to do this in.
6. Stay true to your word.
As they say, actions speak far louder than words. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through and do it.
When you follow through with something, even if it’s something small like showing up at the time you said you would, you’re respecting your partner and showing them you care. If you break your word, your partner won’t take you as seriously, and that’s when respect can be lost. So always say what you mean, and mean what you say.
7. Respect yourself.
We teach others how to treat us. If you don’t respect yourself first and foremost, how do you expect anyone else to? Show yourself the respect you’re looking for, and you’ll begin to show the people in your life how you expect to be treated.
This comes down to things like the way you talk to and about yourself, how you view yourself, and how much power you give yourself in the relationship.
Stop and think about whether you’re respecting yourself enough. Because when you do, you’ll encourage others to treat you the same.
8. Do little things that show respect.
If you want to build more respect in your relationship, take it one step at a time. Start with small things like picking up after yourself, asking your partner about their day, or offering help without being asked.
9. Communicate with respect.
When you’re conversing with your partner, always be mindful about how you’re speaking to them, regardless of how frustrated or upset you might be. Think about how you would like to be treated, and treat them similarly. Look your partner in the eye when they’re talking to you, and be interested in what they have to say. Give them compliments regularly to show appreciation for who they are and what they do.
These are just a few of the small things you can do right now to give your partner more respect but they can go a long way towards creating a healthy balance in your relationship. Try them out. You may be surprised at what you find.