How to Build Respect in a Relationship

7 Ways To Gain More Power & Respect In Your Relationship

How to Build Respect in a Relationship

There are power dynamics at play in every type of relationship. So it should come as no surprise that there will be a power dynamic in your romantic relationship as well. In some partnerships there is an equal amount of power and respect, and in others, one partner holds most of the power.

To make things even more complicated, the power can shift at different points in your relationship. Maybe in the beginning you two never thought of power and respect because it felt equally distributed. But then, as time went on, you noticed things shifting and you felt your boyfriend or girlfriend somehow had more power.

Wait a second, weren’t you the Beyonce of this couple?

It’s normal for the power dynamic to shift in a relationship. Many things could have made the partnership structure change.

But once it has swayed into a new direction (one that you may not love), how do you get on equal footing? If your man has gotten a little too “Kanye West” on you, how do you gain more power and respect in the relationship? How do you turn this ship around and sail towards a more peaceful and happy sea?

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Below are some ways you can gain more power and respect in your romantic relationship.

1. Speak up

One way to become more powerful is to use your voice. Be clear about your wants and needs. If you don’t speak up for yourself, who else will? Remember, your partner ain’t no Syliva Browne, he or she can’t read your mind. Therefore, you need to use your words and tell him/her what you want and need in your partnership.

2. Be more independent

Destiny’s Child wasn’t wrong when they told us to be independent. Being strong and independent doesn’t mean you don’t need your partner in any way, it just shows that you are capable of doing things on your own, as a powerful individual. Being able to be self-sufficient while in a relationship is crucial. Your partner will admire you for this autonomy, and so will you.

3. Have boundaries

Everyone has their own set of rules and boundaries that they are comfortable with. You will have boundaries in your relationship and it’s vital you keep them. There are some things that will cross the line for you and you need to be able to draw that line firmly.

4. The golden rule

Instead of following the yellow brick road, how about you follow the golden rule. An easy way of gaining respect is to treat your partner the way you would to be treated. If you want respect and consideration you have to give it to your significant other as well.

5. Follow through on your word

Saying something and doing the opposite is one way to quickly lose respect. Actions speak louder than words — especially in relationships.

So, if you tell your partner that there will be certain repercussions for something and you don’t follow through, he or she won’t take you seriously.

Or even if you make a small promise to your lover, you must keep it. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

6. Do not settle

There’s nothing more confident and attractive as somebody who knows what he or she deserves. If you’re in a relationship where your partner knows he or she can get away with anything, well then, your power and respect have already gone out the window. Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to walk away from a relationship that isn’t beneficial to you.

7. Respect yourself

If you don’t respect yourself, then who else will? It starts with yourself. You have to show how you want to be treated. This will come through with how you treat yourself. How do you talk about yourself? Do you give yourself any power? How do you view yourself? Take a moment to truly think about how you respect yourself. Remember, confidence is contagious.

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Married Couples Who Are Truly Happy Do These 10 Things

How to Build Respect in a Relationship

Respect is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. It means that you and your partner are equals. No one stands above the other and everyone’s voice is heard.

When couples have respect, it frees them up to be their own person, having their own interests, opinions, and feelings without fear of rejection or reprisal from their partner.

Respect is crucial to a marriage’s success, as it often ranks higher than love in terms of what’s most important. This makes sense: After all, it’s difficult to have one without the other.

But respect can be hard to quantify, especially as parents when roles change and self-respect shift. So, what does respect actually look in a loving relationship? It varies, of course. But partners who respect one another are sure to do these 10 things. 

They Validate Each Other

Validation is one of the most important things couples can do for each other. Having your partner hear what you’re saying, appreciate you, and understand you speaks to a basic need for connection. It’s okay to disagree, as long as you can respect where each other is coming from.

“Healthy couples know that feelings aren’t right or wrong or true or false,” says Thomas Gagliano, a social worker, speaker and the author of The Problem Was Me. “This is a very important message to give to your children as well.

It helps resolve conflict instead of doing a destructive dance feeling that we don’t matter to each other.” 

They’re Curious About Each Other

Couples that have mutual respect ask questions about each other. They want to know how the other person is feeling and what they need. In order to develop more respect in your relationship, Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and the author of The Self-Aware Parent, encourages couples to be curious about each other.

She advises asking the other person questions that require more than a one-word answer. In other words, she says, don’t simply ask, “How are you?” You will ly get a quick response of “Fine.

” Instead, ask thought-provoking questions including, “Tell me how you’ve been spending your time”; “What are your hopes, wishes, and dreams over the next five years?”; “What are some of the challenges you’ve been up against lately?”

They Play to Each Other’s Strengths

The two-way-street idea of marriage makes sense, but it doesn’t always hold true.

There are times where one partner has to give a little more than the other, or there are times when one or the other has to step up and handle more, from household chores to child care to emotional support (such as in the wake of the loss of a loved one or an illness).

“Successful couples know that every situation isn’t a 50/50 deal,” says Gagliano. “In some situations one partner can give more and expect less as long as it isn’t the same partner doing all the giving. That’s okay as long as both parents are on the same page.” 

They’re Not Obsessed With “Winning”

The compulsive need to be right can be incredibly destructive in a relationship, with spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle describing it almost as a form of violence.

The need creates fear and resentment between couples and will eventually wear the relationship down over time. When couples respect each other, they can accept not being right in favor of maintaining a healthy balance.

“Successful couples know how to choose their battles knowing that closeness means more than being right at times,” Gagliano says. 

They’re Unafraid of Honesty

The truth can be uncomfortable, but a couple that has mutual respect is one that isn’t afraid to put it out there. They can deal with the feelings of anger that might come from discussing harsh truths because they have the bigger picture in mind.

If you want respect, then don’t be scared of the truth. “Be brave,” urges Walfish. “Honesty in a relationship is extremely important because it is the fundamental thing that makes a person feel safe.

Even if you think truth will be hard for you partner to hear, they will appreciate it in the long run.”

They Do Little Things for Each Other

Small gestures carry a lot of weight, and for couples who have mutual respect, those small gestures are second-nature. A simple love note, a slightly longer hug or kiss goodbye can make your partner feel validated and appreciated.

“One short and sweet text or email per day can make your lover’s heart pitter-patter — without causing his or her head to spin from electronic overload,” says Walfish.

“Be sure to include an intimate and heartfelt detail in your notes as a key way to boost your bond.”

They Know How to Give One Another Space

It’s important to be supportive and engaged with your spouse. But you also can’t hover over them and try and solve all their problems for them.

Couples who have mutual respect believe in each other’s strengths and have enough faith in each other to know when to step back and let them handle something on their own.

“They realize they can’t fix their partner’s problems more than their partner wants to,” says Gagliano. “They know when they need to let go of control and let their partner figure things out for themselves.” 

They Take Care of Themselves

“Successful couples know that they need to take actions of self-care,” says Gagliano. “This affirms that it’s important to work on the relationship you have with yourself.” In other words: It’s not enough to take care of your spouse.

You also have to look after yourself. That means exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough sleep. Even making regular doctor and dentist appointments is important.

By investing in yourself and your own well-being, it shows your partner that you want to be at your best for them.

They Are Good Models for Their Children

When couples have respect, they set good examples for their kids. They don’t argue in front of them or talk badly about the other person to the children or try and manipulate the children against the other.

Healthy couples also make time for date nights and time together so that the kids can see that mom and dad make each other a priority. Lastly, they’re not afraid to make mistakes.

“Healthy couples need to show their children that it’s okay to make a mistake and apologize when this happens,” says Gagliano. “Also, if you need help it’s okay to ask for help, no one is perfect.”

They Talk to Each Other

Shocking, right? But one that most of us in our everyday relationships don’t often embrace. When you’re running from job to job, game to game, and recital to recital, you might feel you don’t have the time or patience for a more in-depth conversation with your spouse.

But when there is mutual respect, you want to have those conversations and you want to hear what your partner has to say and be heard yourself. “Talk, talk, talk with each other,” says Walfish.

“Taking turns listening and talking with each other is the seed that grows passion in relationships.”

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Re-establishing Respect: The Key to Successful Relationship Repair – The Centers for Family Change

How to Build Respect in a Relationship

Un many songs about love and relationships, this song accurately identifies that respect is necessary for relationships to thrive. Mutual respect is one of the cornerstones of all successful relationships.

The loss of mutual respect can destroy a marriage quickly, or more often, lead to a painful, stressful and unhappy life for a couple. While this notion appears commonsensical, there is also a significant body of research (by John Gottman, Ph.D.

and his colleagues) that strongly supports this view.

Our approach to working with couples emphasizes the importance of mutual respect.

While mutual respect is not sufficient (spouses or partners can treat each other respectfully, but still struggle with major issues) it is necessary for a relationship to thrive.

Without mutual respect couples are unly to be able to solve problems. Thus, our therapists work with couples to re-establish respect and then address other issues that the couple may be struggling with.

Respect: What do we mean by mutual respect?

Mutual respect is a very simple concept. It means that you treat your spouse or partner in a thoughtful and courteous way. It means that you avoid treating each other in rude and disrespectful ways, e.g., you do not engage in name calling, and do not insult or demean your spouse or partner.

It also means that you do not talk sarcastically to, or ignore or avoid your partner. Finally, mutual respect means that you view the opinions, wishes and values of your partner as worthy of serious consideration.

While this sounds very simple it takes a consistent effort to treat your spouse or partner respectfully. Respect is not just the absence negative behavior, but the presence of positive behaviors.

Specifically, if you are treating your spouse or partner respectfully you are doing things such as: considering his//her opinion; consulting with your partner before making decisions that affect your partner; taking an active interest in your spouse’s or partner’s life (work, daily activities and interests); compromising and negotiating with your partner about important issues that affect both of you and your family. While this list is far from exhaustive it captures the essence of a respectful marriage or relationship.

Establishing and Losing Respect

How is respect established in a marriage or relationship? Respect is established when you consistently: consider and value the feelings and opinions of your partner; talk to and treat your partner in ways that you would want to be treated; and compromise and negotiate with your partner.

How is respect lost in a marriage? Respect can slowly erode due to day to day stresses and strains. If you or your partner is stressed or struggling with your own issues, you may become irritable and negative, and vent your frustrations on your partner.

This can set off a vicious cycle in which partners are increasingly negative and disrespectful to each other. Similarly, an inability to resolve or manage conflicts or differences can lead to anger and frustration, which if expressed in negative and blaming ways can start the same cycle of negative interactions and result in the loss of respect.

These are only a few of the ways that respect can evaporate in a marriage or relationship.

Supporting and Maintaining Respect

Sustaining respect during the course of a relationship takes effort. We are all human, and if someone begins to treat us negatively, inconsiderately, and disrespectfully, we often tend to respond in kind. This pattern of mutual disrespect feeds on itself.

The more one partner is rude and inconsiderate, the more ly it is the other spouse or partner will behave in similar ways. Thus, disrespect can grow until most interactions are characterized by sarcastic, inconsiderate, blaming, critical, and demeaning behavior. However, the lack of respect is not always so obvious.

Spouses or partners can show their disrespect in more subtle but equally corrosive ways, e.g., ignoring the spouse or partner, responding with indifference to their partner.

Principles for Re-establishing Respect

Once a couple has fallen into a pattern of treating each other disrespectfully it is often difficult to change. If both spouses or partners are angry and hostile towards each other a standoff may ensue, with neither partner willing to change his/her behavior until the other changes.

Similarly, if one person makes a good faith effort to change things, this effort may go unnoticed or may even be rebuffed. To help couples re-establish respect we draw on two basic principles: (1) only work on changing your own behavior; and (2) do not police your partner’s behavior.

Specifically, we work with you to recognize that given the level of tension in your relationship it is unly that either you or your partner can effectively influence each other.

Instead, we encourage both of you to focus on your own behavior: follow the golden rule, and treat your partner as you would to be treated. In addition, we focus with you on working to only police your own behavior.

The temptation to correct your partner’s behavior may be great, but it is unly to work, at this stage. Once a greater level of respect has been established couples can then begin to work on how they can communicate more effectively, make requests, solve problems, and accept differences.

Creating a Respectful Relationship

Much of the initial phase of therapy is focused on helping couples re-establish or create a more respectful relationship.

Once a more respectful environment or atmosphere is established therapy can begin to focus on helping you and your partner identify difficult issues, and find ways to talk about these issues directly without triggering angry and disrespectful behaviors.

Creating a respectful relationship is essential if you are going to be able to effectively address difficult issues and differences. Thus, establishing mutual respect is a critical step in therapy.

Tolerating and Appreciating Differences

The final phase of therapy often involves working with couples to recognize, accept and appreciate differences.

It is almost a cliché among therapists that people marry or become involved with people who are different than them and then spend the rest of their marriage or relationship trying to change their partner. Part of establishing and maintaining a respectful relationship is learning to accept differences.

Partners need to accept the ways in which their spouse or partner is different, whether this involves values, aspirations, or temperament. Tolerating and accepting (and even appreciating ) how your spouse or partner is different from you is a key part in maintaining a respectful relationship.

Helping couples achieve this tolerance can involve working with couples on recognizing each other’s strengths and understanding that differences do not have to threaten a relationship, but can in fact strengthen it.


6 Reasons Why Respect is Important in a Relationship – Inspiring Tips

How to Build Respect in a Relationship
Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Why do two people choose to be in a relationship with each other? Of course, the most logical answer would be that they are in love and would want to try how it is to live together as one. But as you continue to face life this time as a couple did you ever thought about other things, aside from love, that have become very important in keeping your bond intact?

Well, a lot of people coming from different backgrounds have been saying that it’s not only loving that’s essential in a relationship.

Sure, it serves as the core building block of your bond, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only key element in making the relationship work.

If you are to ask couples that have lasted for several decades already, they’d tell you another thing that must be present in a relationship:


But why respect? Here are several reasons to ponder on:

1. Respect sees through the good and learns to accept the bad.
When you are in love with someone, all you see are their best qualities, both inside and out. At the same time, you set aside their flaws and weaknesses, to tolerate these as much as you can. Respect doesn’t work that way.

When you have respect for the person you chose to be in a relationship with, you come to accept the person’s beauty and flaws, the bitter and sweet, and good and the bad. And from the acceptance, you both learn to adjust to each other’s systems and come up with a compromise that you can live with. Toppled with love, respect serves as the fuel to keep any relationship moving.

ALSO READ: How to Treat Your Girlfriend with Respect

2. Respect teaches you the value of patience, especially towards your partner.

It is hard to be patient when in a relationship, especially when you have grown accustomed to your partner’s flaws and attitudes.

Also, there are a lot of instances when feel you have already invested a lot in your partner and your bond, hence whenever conflicts arise you tend to put these thoughts into words at their expense.

With respect, however, you learn to be patient, not only with your partner but also with yourself. You learn to realize that neither of you is perfect and that you have to be patient with how you deal with unexpected situations as well.

And as they say, love is patient. And it is the respect that teaches you how to be patient.

Photo by AdinaVoicu

ALSO READ: 10 Ways to Have More Patience in a Relationship

3. Respect allows more tolerance, even when both of you have already grown apart.
If you are to do a survey on married couples on how they made their marriage last for a long time, you won’t always hear them say love. Rather, you can expect them to mention the word “respect” more often.

This is because love has this tendency to fade over time. As you and your partner grow and spend more moments together, both in times of fun and strife, you both change.

You grow out certain attitudes and feelings for each other, but the situation calls for you to stick together and carry on.

Love –or more the absence of it, only makes your setup worse, but it can be remedied if you both have respect for each other.

With respect, you learn to accept some harsh realities about your partner and your relationship, and from there you are able to stick together and find ways to continue and make things work.

4. When you have respect, you won’t be tempted to do things that may damage your relationship.

While let’s say you and your partner are totally into each other, there are times when you feel tempted to do things that may hurt both your feelings.

You are tempted to cheat or to make decisions that concern your partner without telling them beforehand. And yes, these things bring about irreparable damage that will only cause your relationship to collapse right before your very eyes.

But, if you have respect for your partner and your relationship, you won’t even think about cheating or other hurtful actions, because you know your limits and the repercussions of such moves. You’d be more concerned about how you two should grow not only as a couple but as individuals who have decided to stick together through thick and thin.

5. Respect nurtures trust.
When you respect someone, you also recognize his or her capabilities and limitations.

At the same time, you take high regard for their qualities and give them ample trust to take on situations in the way they should be handled. The same goes for partners in a relationship.

When they respect each other, they also trust each other’s respective wellbeing, and that they won’t do things that may hurt either or both of them deliberately.

Trust, however, is further amplified by love, that’s why you become more giving and understanding to your partner. This is also the reason why you feel extremely hurt when your partner breaks your trust. Not only that, when trust is broken, you also lose respect for your significant other.

Photo by AdinaVoicu

ALSO READ: 10 Ways to Build and Maintain Trust in a Relationship

6. Respect breeds true love.
Lastly, respect breeds the kind of love that way beyond romance. It creates a love that understands and accepts, love that is willing to hold on and willing to let go, love that lasts and overcomes all the qualms and conflicts that you and your partner have had.

You two may be stripped of the romance and adventure, and while all that’s left is a boring future, if you have bred respect for each other that results in the willingness to continue with life together, then that’s true love.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, good times and bad times, adventures and boring hours, and even moments when you just want to give up.

But with respect being the most important thing in your relationship, it would then be much easier for you as a couple to face life’s challenges head-on.

Enrich respect with love, trust, and patience, then you know your relationship is the one for keeps.


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How to Develop Mutual Respect in a Relationship

How to Build Respect in a Relationship

Relationships are, well, complicated to say the least. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying they are not worth their challenges merely that there are so very many challenges that often times love feels, quite simply, overwhelming.

However, creating and fostering a relationship built on mutual respect and trust seriously helps to make love the fun adventure that it should be.

Before we even dive into the how to develop respect in a relationship, I want to make sure that we get very clear on the definition.

Respect is one of those crazy English language words that can be used as both a noun and a verb. Because English is just plain confusing.

However, both definitions essentially focus on having admiration and showing regard for the abilities, thoughts, feelings, qualities, traditions and rights of others.

With respect to relationships, respect means honoring your partner for who they are and also receiving the same from them.

I know that sounds all hunky dory on paper and at this point, you may be thinking, “yeah definitely not that simple.” But I promise, it doesn’t have to be as challenging as it may seem at times.

Below are some easy ways to reframe how you think about respect and help it to grow within your relationship.

1. Define What Love Means to You

One of my closest friends told me a story recently of the first time she told her now husband she loved him. She was the first one to drop the L word and when she did, instead of saying it back, he asked her the BEST QUESTION EVER. He said ‘what exactly does love meant to you?’

I know that is not the most romantic fairytale moment but in reality, if we all responded that way the first time our partner said I love you, we would be in much healthier relationships. You cannot expect to grow a relationship mutual respect if you don’t understand the way your partner views love and relationships in general.

I always encourage every single one of my clients to sit down with their partners and define what love means to both of them. It provides you not only with a deeper understanding of what your partner needs and desires, but also gives you both clear and defined things to work on and for in the relationship.

However, it is not just enough to define what love means to the both of you, you both must also act on what you discuss in order to continue to foster a deeper and more meaningful connection. This means asking any questions that come up and continuing to check in on your definitions of love on a regular basis as they very well may change and grow as you do.

2. Communicate About Your Actual Feelings

One of the biggest factors in a relationship created and based mutual respect is communication. Specifically, communicating your thoughts and feelings in a way that is both effective for your mental well being AND of your partner’s well being as well.

I am by absolutely no means saying to stuff your feelings down if you think what you are experiencing may hurt your partners feelings but, there is a way to communicate your needs and thoughts without making your partner feel alienated if they don’t necessarily agree.

When you first start truly communicating with your partner about your genuine feelings, it is important that you are not triggered when beginning the conversation. You cannot expect to have a productive conversation where both people are respected if you go in guns blazing. Instead, talk about your feelings in a way that doesn’t involve the story of how they came about.

For example, let’s say your husband keeps interrupting you in front of other people. Instead of talking to him about it by saying:

‘Yesterday at dinner when I was talking about the day I had at work you totally talked over me and completely didn’t care what I was saying;’


‘Lately there have been a few times when you have spoken over me and it makes me feel you don’t value what I have to say. It is important to me to feel valued.’

Do you see the difference? As opposed to getting involved with the story which will only cause your partner to want to jump to their own defense, as defending yourself is the natural human response.

If you communicate with the focus on your feelings and needs, it creates a conversation deeper understanding not on surface level occurrences.

It also provides your partner with sincere information on how to help you going forward.

3. Don’t Let Fear Dictate How You Treat Your Partner

I had to learn this one the hard way. many people, I had the unfortunate experience of an abusive relationship which caused an imprint of relationship trauma on me. Because of this, when I got into a healthy relationship, after doing some healing on my own for a few years, I found that all the fears my abusive ex had instilled in me came rushing back an avalanche.

Through a lot of work, I was able to overcome them and have the healthy relationship I dreamed of. But in order to do this, I had to work through a lot of my fears around love. And most importantly, I had to ensure that my fears did not determine the way I treated my new partner.

Even if you have not been in an abusive relationship, we all have past relationship trauma.

Whether it is from being cheated on, a bad divorce, or even abandonment issues from childhood, we all come to love with our own set of fears about what love may entail.

And, because most of us are not taught how to handle our emotions from an early age, we often let those fears come out all over our partners.

A relationship mutual trust cannot be built if both partners don’t acknowledge their fears and separate them from the current situation.

Not only that, but if you notice yourself wanting to react to your partner from a place of fear, it is important that you share that with them.

This will help you not only keep your fear from poisoning your love, but also help to grow your understanding of each other and deepen your connection.

In order to continue to grow the respect between you and your partner, it is important that you both work on not only acknowledgement of your fears but conquering them. Whether this be done through your own methods, therapy, or a coach, don’t be afraid to learn how to not be afraid.

4. Establish and Enforce Boundaries

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. They are a hot topic of the relationship world and, in all honesty, they are incredibly important. If you are anything me, you see all the pretty quotes about how important they are but can’t seem to nail down exactly how to establish them, let alone ensure that they are followed.

I could write, and probably will, another entire article on this topic but, here is a quick trick to finding where a boundary needs to be and enforcing it be followed.

It is important to note that having and enforcing boundaries starts with you. You cannot expect your partner to respect you and your boundaries if you don’t enforce them with yourself.

So, before ever communicating your boundaries to your partner, look at yourself.

Where are you letting yourself down? Where are you not honoring your feelings and needs? Where are you pushing your wants aside in order to please others?

Answering these questions is the first step in figuring out what your boundaries are and where they lay. After you figure out the answers, communicate the answers to your partner by asking them to help support you by honoring the boundaries you are holding for yourself.

As I mentioned before, communicating your needs and wants is you, NOT on accusing them. You cannot expect your partner to live up to expectations that you don’t hold yourself to.

The next step is to actually enforce your boundaries with yourself and therefore, with your partner. Showing yourself that respect will help to show your partner how you need to be respected. And also, be sure you support and honor their boundaries as well.

And finally…

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

No one is perfect at relationshiping. Everyone makes mistakes and miscommunication is inevitable. So never be afraid to ask your partner what they need or how you can help support them through something. You should never be expected to automatically know how to respect and honor your partner, and vise versa; it is something that you learn together.

And remember the act of creating mutual respect is a bonding and growing experience. Ask questions to make sure that both of you are on the same page and, make sure that you communicate if for some reason that ever feels not the case.

Final Thoughts

The beauty of relationships is that you are not doing them alone, so don’t be afraid to rely on each other to help the love move forward. And, if you need help laying the ground work of respect, don’t be afraid to reach out and get it.

Remember, you both are in a relationship because you genuinely care about the other person, honoring your love for each other is your first step in creating the respectful relationship of your dreams.

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