If one was to take a diagnostic test on a relationship, one of the vitals they would want to see up on the ECG monitor would be respect. Although people will say that the most important thing for Adams is to be respected, I can state here that Eves too want to be respected in a relationship. However, as we all might know, respect is one of those vitals that register a fluctuating reading of spikes and lows. How do we know whether or not respect is flourishing in a relationship?
To some, this may seem like an easy thing to determine but for others, it may need some demystifying. This is because respect is one of those essentials which cannot simply be fulfilled by words. Just because someone tells you ‘I respect you’, doesn’t mean that is actually the case: respect is very much about actions and has a lot to do with sensitivity as well.
Respect is a ‘vital’ because it forms the core of any relationship and we should strive to practise it as we demand it from our significant others. There are two ways about this: there are the actions that you do that show respect for yourself and there are actions by those around you that determine the level of respect they have for you. I think this is almost becoming a mantra on Project 44, but as with many other vitals, you have to be doing things for yourself before you expect others to do them for you. If you say that you value respect but treat yourself in ways that contradict your words, you are basically telling the other person in the relationship that your words hold no weight and you’re simply preaching water and drinking wine. In that vein, this is likely to lead to disrespectful behavior towards you since you have signaled that those kinds of actions towards you are acceptable even though you say you don’t appreciate them.
The other important aspect about respect in relationships is having boundaries. Hold on, this does not mean putting up Great Walls of China in your relationship but rather an affirmation that in a relationship, Eve and Adam are not Siamese twins but individuals who come together based on common values, care and affection for each other. These are lines that you as an individual feel that no one, never mind whether you are having daydreams about rolling in the hay with the person ;), I mean, no one is supposed to cross. They offend your person and your dignity; they make you feel disrespected. Now, I know that in many romantic relationships, people tend to make excuses for each other, even when the bare minimum standards are not being maintained. However, it is this kind of forbearance that can frustrate a relationship.
Keep time. When you have a rendezvous with your Eve or Adam, be thoughtful enough to be on time and if not, let them know if you will be running late. (I have to say that the time spent waiting for someone, mostly in annoyance and a kettle steaming inside the head, is fertile breeding ground for repugnant feelings).
Listen to your partner and understand their emotions/feelings. Acting disinterested or interjecting them in the middle of a conversation is not only disrespectful, it is insensitive.
Do not speak on their behalf; they have an opinion and they will voice it out on their own; it is about valuing your partner’s opinion even when you do not agree (unless it is something radical like joining the scientologists ;)). Likewise, respect is knowing the discomfort zones of your partner and being considerate about them; not embarrassing your partner or putting them in a state of unease in public.
Consult your partner and together make decisions that are good for the relationship; of course if you are going to take her (or him? ;)) to Shompole’s on a surprise trip, you need not consult! Just do it!
Make an effort to work towards making the relationship work and meet your end of the bargain. Respect is about taking responsibility in a relationship; admitting when one is wrong and resolving conflict with honesty and maturity. It’s a tall order because of the mixed and hurtful emotions that are bound to prevail but it is not impossible.
Never ever make a derogatory remark about your partner. You know all that stuff about ‘men are dogs”, “women are gold diggers”, etc.
All of us want to be in mutually respectful relationships; it’s a lovely aspiration that is attainable – but let us not take for granted that it will come naturally.
Now I feel like I have asked Eves and Adams to be saints!
Have your say, respectfully.