How Important is Respect in a Relationship?

Love conquers all. All you need is love. Love makes the world go round. We’ve all heard the clichés for years. And along the way, we learned that Love was all that mattered in life. Love is what makes a marriage successful. Love is what keeps couples together.

And we believed it. But we were wrong.

Turns out, no, Love is not enough to keep two people together. Love is not all you need to have a successful marriage and a successful life. Love may very well be one key ingredient in a successful marriage. But an even more important quality, and arguably a quality that allows love to prosper in the first place, is that of RESPECT.

Love cannot grow and it cannot flourish in an environment that shows no respect. While it’s true that you can respect a man and not feel love for him, on the other hand, if you love a man but don’t respect him (or he doesn’t respect you) you will feel the blunt of the Dysfunctional Relationship. That is, a relationship built on negativity, addiction, suffering, chaos and misery.

Cultivating respect for your partner and filtering out men who do not show you proper respect is the best way to avoid drama and avoid relationships based on abuse or neglect. Remember these points:

1. Respect > Your Definition of Love

Psychology Today actually had an article explaining that respect is probably MORE important than love, at least in the traditional understanding of love. The writer goes onto explain in the article that love is fairly common and given in degrees to whatever we become attached to. Love for a country, a religion, a social group, a pet and material things. But what really mattered was the respect, they respect for others the author learned from his parents. Respect embodied other qualities such as trust, believing in one another, and the desire to be taken seriously and to treat others with the same dignity. The idea that the author’s parents saw the children as responsible and trustworthy made it easy to show respect.

Indeed, love without respect can even be a dangerous thing. One’s selfish desire for love can go on at the expense of mutual respect. You desire the love so much (the love on your own terms) that you will hurt, humiliate and manipulate the other person if necessary. The blind quest for love has become a mission of control, dominance and the will to win.

Failing to respect your partner (for who he is, a being independent of you and not owing you anything) will prioritize your needs at the expense of his. Similarly, getting involved with a man who obviously doesn’t respect you, will always put you at a disadvantage. He will try to change you until he gets his “Love Definition” at the respect of a relationship built on trust, respect and honor.

True, respect seems old fashioned and love seems romantic, at first glance. But having respect is all about your ability to appreciate who a partner for who he is. There’s no need to change him if you respect his character in the beginning.

2. You will know instantly if a man respects you or just tolerates you for sex.

Love is fairly easy to fake. Sex and seduction are as easy as memorizing a few phrases. But respect comes across in everything the man says, from the very beginning.

Some men (players in particular) use distraction to their advantage. For example, the charming gentleman who focuses on your beautiful appearance but also mocks your intelligence or your profession. Or the funny guy who also makes sexist remarks about women. These are obviously men who don’t respect you, or even give you a chance to impress them. If they eventually fall “in love” with you, will they start to respect you then? Or will there always be a mismatch between the way they react to you (an object of passion and excitement) and how they truly see you? (A woman deserving of love and tenderness)

This is another reason why I frequently encourage women to be independent, stronger and more confident. The more of these positive qualities you project, the more a man respects you and alters his behavior to show that respect.

3. Show respect to your man by trusting him and believing in him.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of mothering a man—trying to change him, or making him grow up, or guilt him into acting just so. But putting him on a leash doesn’t show respect to him. It doesn’t show trust. It doesn’t show that you’re happy with him. All it tells him is that he’s lost his freedom with you. He now longs for the past when he didn’t have to answer to anybody!

Furthermore, having deep respect for a man involves NOT lowering yourself, but giving him your full support in what he does and believes. You trust his intuition and his education. You understand that he doesn’t need any micromanaging because he IS the man you chose, a man you’re attracted to. A man who’s capable of making wise choices. This is what respect means. You don’t belittle him in public. You don’t take sides against him. You respect the man he is and WANT to see him succeed.

4. Remember: Love is affection, respect is admiration.

This explains further why love should accompany respect, rather than exist independently of it. When you admire the positive qualities in a person, you admire them. If love is just strong affection, however, it’s all about emotion. It’s all about how you feel. You need to feel respect for your partner to ensure that she feels the same way about you. That your minds and hearts are in sync and it’s not all about the emotion of the moment!

In other words, having this deep mutual Respect helps you to remember that this is real. This is not just a momentary fantasy or a fling. This is mutual respect strong enough to last a lifetime!

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Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

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About The Author

Matthew Coast

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