In researching mutual respect, I came across this somewhat profound explanation, from of all places, urbandictionary.com:
Consequently, our respecting someone comes down to a judgment we make, and like any judgment, it’s a choice. In order to make a prudent choice, we weigh the observed evidence and do our best to screen out our own prejudice in the light of consequences that will follow from the choice. That being said i.e. that is to say, ask yourself what would your relationship will be like if you determine you respect this person compared to what your relationship would be like if you decided not to respect him?
Let’s break this down further; In it’s purest form respect means to recognize the worth of a person. So, it’s safe to say that because of this you take their thoughts and feelings into consideration.
Let’s use an example to make things a bit more clear cut. A husband is hanging out with the guys and begins to speak of being unfaithful to his spouse, justifying it with the understanding that all men are animalistic in nature and that as long as no feelings were attached, it was okay. In short, it is clear, that this person did not respect their wife. The wife entrusted the husband with her heart, and the hope and promise that it would not be broken. The husband, took that trust and broke it, therefore disrespecting their spouse. This is not love.
Let’s use another scenario, a husband tells his wife that he is going out with the guys after work for a couple of drinks. He promises her he will be home by 7pm so they can still go out for dinner and movie like they had planned. At 6:30, the husband prepares to leave but his friends heckle him and make fun of him for leaving. He respects his wife and their quality time together, and despite the heckling he leaves to meet with his wife. The husband in this situation clearly respects that he not only gave his wife his word, but also takes into consideration how she would feel had he not shown up in time. This is love.
It’s simple really, mutual respect and trust go hand and hand. Essentially, I respect you enough not to hurt you and because of this I am trustworthy. Love is putting your heart into another person’s hands and giving them the opportunity to break it, but trusting they won’t because they too love you and most of all respect you enough not to do so.
It’s a good idea to have a discussion about mutual respect with your partner. I have compiled a few simple questions and statements you can use and build on:
- What is your definition of mutual respect?
- Do you feel like I respect you?
- Do you feel like you respect me?
- What can I do to make you feel more respected in our relationship?
- This is what you can do for me to make me feel more respected in our relationship…
- I feel disrespected when you…
- I feel respected when you…
- Is there anything you would like to get off your chest?
- Here is something I would like to get off my chest…
Please share your view on mutual respect in the comments!