Showing respect for your partner is at the heart of every healthy happy relationship. Respect for your partner is at the heart of effective communication because it creates the foundation necessary to develop mutual understanding – especially when you are not seeing eye-to-eye on a topic. Without respect for each other, problems can crop up fast and are incredibly difficult to resolve. Respect will keep civility in the manner in which you talk to each other, allowing you to avoid harsh tones or an “attitude” in your voice. For many couples, it is really easy to have respect go out the window without even being aware of it. It’s not always easy to recognize when you are beginning to slip up in the respect area, but here are some situations that may present themselves. Recently your partner has been getting defensive about topics they wouldn’t normally get defensive over, you’ve been having a normal conversation with them but out of no where they go off the deep end about such and such, or they randomly blow up after you comment on something. Sound familiar? Let me put on my TV show voice because…. “If you answered yes to any of the above situations, this article is just for YOU! What’s the solution? It’s simple! There are 3 easy ways to keep respect alive and well in your relationship so you can keep the love growing for years!
1. Ditch the “tude” or “attitude” in your voice. Yes ladies, we all know our words can have an “attitude” and the attitude your words take on says just as much about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking as your actions do! Your “attitude” is shown by the way you speak your words – not in the words themselves. Remember, you can say just about anything to anybody – without hurting their feelings – as long as you say it the correct way. And the correct way includes the correct “attitude” in both your verbal and non-verbal communication. If you maintain a respectful attitude, even in the midst of a disagreement, your relationship will stay strong. Every healthy relationship is glued together by mutual respect – so if the attitude in your voice is oozing acid – your partner will more than likely only “hear” your “attitude” and differences will not only not get resolved, but more fights and problems will be created.
2. Listen to yourself and the non-verbal messages you are sending. Next time you feel your words are falling on deaf ears, or that you are not clearly communicating your message to your partner – pause for a moment and listen to yourself. Are you saying what you want to say in a way that you would be able to hear your message? Are you talking down to your partner? Coming across a little snappish? Unintentionally intimidating them? Your partner will pick up on these non-verbal messages- and will hear them loud and clear even if you don’t hear them. No one wants to be talked down to so be aware of your non-verbal communications and pay careful attention to them – make sure these communications are respectful and consistent with your verbal messages to insure your partner does not feel disrespected and spoken down to in the relationship.
3. Remember the Golden Rule. That childhood rule of treating others and speaking to others how we’d like to be treated and spoken to is back. If you’d be upset at being snapped at for not remembering to start the washing machine, then you can bet your partner doesn’t appreciate it either. Speaking to others how we’d like to be spoken to seems like such a simple concept, and yet frequently we don’t do it.
In the words of Aretha Franklin, “All I’m asking is for a little respect when you come home.” Try these three simple ways to keep respect in your relationship when communicating with your partner – you will watch the unexplainable fights disappear in your relationship.
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann