Why respect is so important in a relationship

Is it all about a give and take? Or is there something more to it?

Raksha Bharadia | Posted on 26 Oct 2015
Why Respect is So Important in a Relationship

We all know and have probably debated and read endless accounts of the value of love in formulating deep, nurturing and lasting relationships, but what interests me even more as a fundamental component that marks the quality and ultimately the future of a relationship is the element of respect in it.

Love, in a relationship, especially a man-woman one, follows its own rhythms, independent of the will of the lover. We can neither know its arrival or departure nor can we predict its source, and to know its trajectory seems even more far-fetched. In fact it would not be too preposterous to say that we continually surprise our own selves in regards to the way we experience or feel love. While we may be able to temper our response to it based on propriety or societal acceptability, none of us can claim that we can control the feeling itself and that is what makes ‘love’ at once so charming and elusive!

And so at times ‘love’ rages like a tornado, fading all else in its wake and at other times it lies calm, like the still water in a pond, hibernating (where we start wondering if indeed there is something wrong with our constitution)…and yet there are times when ‘love’ treads the mean between these two states, leaving us even more confused than we think possible. And always, it stays a step ahead of our understanding and a stride beyond our conscious purview. The very nature of love is at best mercurial, waning, waxing and at times disappearing completely like the moon (to appear again) while we struggle not just with our changing love for the significant other, but theirs’ shift in the love they profess towards us too! For what is good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it?

And I use the same argument to present my case for ‘respect’ in a relationship. While loving another may/may not be in the current state of our mind respecting the ‘other person’ always can be. While we may/may not desire ‘love’ of another we definitely want the other to respect us. While we cannot demand that ‘I love you and so I deserve you love’, we can surely ask, ‘ I respect you and hence I too deserve your respect….’!

Interestingly, consciously or subconsciously we use this very devil ‘love’ to excuse our disrespectful behaviour towards our loved ones…most of the times we ourselves are not aware of this subtle underplay.  Let me explain through an example.

“I love you and want the best for you and hence…”, for us the loved one then is not permitted (or if permitted is continually reminded of how off he/she is as against what he/she can be) weaknesses, lapses. And where this reminder (through nudges, which turns into nagging, to berating and ultimately to insulting or reprimanding) turns into a blatant transgression of the other’s personal space and sense of ‘self’ is normally just a question of time and the intensity with which we feel that love. We forget to make the basic space for allowing the ‘other’ to choose his/her own pace of growth and learning. Behind the noble intention of what we think they can be, our idea of what they can ‘be’, we refuse to let them ‘be’ as they are. The interesting thing is when it comes to our own selves; we expect understanding and respect for what we are! This kind of a double standard is pronounced especially in relationships we cherish and hold deeply precious. One rule for us and another for our loved one.

So then, how do we know when ‘love’ oversteps the other’s boundaries?

Simple remember the saying, " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

In our case, do not do unto other what you would not want the other to do to you”.

And perhaps our relationships may have a chance...

 

Raksha Bharadia

Raksha Bharadia is a writer and editor. She has authored three books published by Rupa & Co. She has put together 13 titles in the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series for Westland. She has also worked as a scriptwriter with Star Plus. She has been a columnist for Femina, Ahmedabad Mirror, and DNA, Ahmedabad. Raksha has taught creative writing for a Master’s Program at CEPT, Ahmedabad. Bonobology.com is Raksha’s first significant foray in the digital space.

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Comments : 6

Shruti Mathur: Respect is a give and take phenomenon. Respect your spouse if you would have your spouse respect you.

Sucheta Chaturvedi: No relationship can ever survive without mutual respect. And that is one universal truth

Team Bonobology: espect our partners and our own other relationships is just as important. Respecting time they have set aside for each other, giving room for their relationship to grow and supporting your partner’s choices. If we respect all partners involved and they respect us the same rules apply, communication, honesty and consideration are given out of respect and relationships can flow more smoothly.

Kamal: While respect is all important I'd also think that coupledom in itself means changing.. change and dynamism is what keeps everything going, even a relationship. I have seen fear, inability and difficulty in adapting to the demands of a growing relationship, the anxiety it induces in the partner that is expecting change and in the partner that is expected to change.. (different one at different points in tine), if not processed enough can cause disrespect disregard and transgression. Also ability to communicate and resolve differences both influence our demeanor. A marriage is such a chronic space that layers of unprocessed material if allowed to accumulate can lead one down the path of nagging insulting berating reprimanding..

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