Respect is very difficult to bring back in a marriage. Once it is lost for either spouse, the whole structure of the marriage can fall apart. But then again, I did say difficult, not impossible. You can still restore the respect in your marriage by putting a lot of effort into it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40% of marriages in 2016 resulted in divorce. You can still maintain your marriage with your husband or wife if you can bring respect back into your relationship.
According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in his book Love and Respect, women need to be loved while men need to be respected. He and his wife have been counseling couples for three decades and found that these are the persistent needs of the husband and the wife. The husband needs respect. The wife needs love.
Ways To Seek Respect In Marriage
Respect and Love
It seems to be a little odd at first. Women may say, “Don’t I need to be respected?” Similarly the men would also say, “Don’t I need to be loved?” But Dr. Eggerichs makes a good point.
You have to read the book to understand that the author states that respect is the primary need of husbands, while love is the primary need of wives. The word primary stands out. The book says that for both spouses to take care of their relationship, the husband must love his wife and the wife must respect her husband.
It doesn’t say throughout the book that the husband doesn’t need to be loved. Every man desires to be loved. That is why men profess their love to their partners. It is because they also long for love. Men propose and marry their wives to ensure that they will not lose the love that they are receiving.
This idea is the same for the women. They need to be loved first. The same love that husbands give to their wives goes hand in hand with respect. I truly believe that men could not give love without respecting their wives. Love takes effort. And this effort includes respecting the women.
The Crazy Cycle
Dr. Eggerichs identifies the crazy cycles that go on repetitively in a marriage. He says that without love, she reacts without respect, and without respect, he reacts without love.
Do you believe in what the author is saying? Picture this. You and your spouse are having an argument. If the husband corrects his wife vehemently without love and care for her heart, then the wife will get hurt and not accept the explanation from the husband. The wife, feeling unloved, reacts by strongly contradicting her husband, without any regard for respect. The cycle goes on and on until one or both of them give up on their marriage.
Marriage Is a Promise
Every marriage runs through a rough patch every once in a while. For those who say that their marriage is perfect, that’s surely not true. We are men and women full of emotions. We get happy. We get sad. We get irritated. We get angry. We become forceful. We become hurt.
But the vow that was made from the start of marriage should stand strong. Each of us in a marriage promised to love our partners during the good times and the bad. It is very easy to love and respect our husband or wife when we are on a vacation, without debt and without marital problems. On the other hand, it is very hard to show respect and love to our husbands and wives if we are having financial woes, correcting bad habits, and criticizing each other.
How Should We Do It?
Love and respect, as I said, go hand in hand. Neither can exist without the other. These two can be seen by our spouses only through action. We have to give all of our efforts to show our love and respect to our spouses. Words are great. You can say to your partner that you love them or you respect them. But actions will speak with infinitely more strength. Only through our works can we truly convey that we will do everything we can to bring respect back into the marriage
For the husband, here are a few ways to bring back the love and respect into marriage:
Say that you love her…every day.
Men always assume that women already know that they are loved. To a certain extent, yes—wives already know that their husbands love them. That is why they are bonded by marriage. But men should repeatedly utter the words “I love you” to create an impact on their spouses. The wives will certainly start recognizing these changes coming from you.
Be a gentleman.
Do you remember your first few dates? You assisted her when going down the stairs. You opened the door when she came out of the car. And you even paid for the bill every time! These acts may seem gimmicky, but they work. Also, the simple favors of helping her with housework like cleaning the dishes, taking care of the kids, and doing the laundry will not go unnoticed.
Care for her emotions.
Arguments will happen. I guarantee you that. But they should not be about who comes out as the winner. There are no victors in arguments. Most of the time, after every fight, both of you leave with broken hearts. This should not be the case. Every argument should be sorted and fixed based on the underlying and persistent problems. Men should look at the source of the problem and start resolving it. You should hate the root, not the person. When your mindset is to mend the relationship and not to win an argument, you already have won in marriage.
Respect is earned, not demanded.
You can not ask for respect if the person does not see that you deserve to be respected. Look at yourself. Evaluate how you react to problems. Check your heart and your love for your wife. See if you need to remove persistent personal problems. Change in a relationship starts by changing ourselves first.
For the wife, here are a few ways to bring back the love and respect into marriage:
Perform acts of kindness.
This is especially true if your husband is not used to seeing you cooking for him, preparing his clothes, and cleaning the house. You should not see this as being a servant to your husband. The love that existed when your marriage started is the same love that you have today. Your feelings are clouded by anger, miscommunication and bad judgment. Your overflow of love for him will show through your actions.
Listen to him.
During emotional fights, we often don’t listen to our spouses. While your husband is speaking, you may be thinking about what words to say to counter his argument. This should not be the case when you want to bring respect back into your marriage. Listen to your husband. Digest everything that he has to say. If what he says is true, you can ask him about what you can do to change. You can also present him with recommendations of what both of you can do to fix the problem.
Check your heart.
Look at yourself for a moment. What are the things that make your husband angry? Ask yourself why your husband is having a hard time respecting and loving you. Are there aspects of your life that need improvement? Are there some bad habits that you constantly act on? Give your husband no reason not to love and respect you.
Marriage is all about heart and actions. Without heart, marriage will not have strong foundations like love, care, and respect. Without actions, your husband or wife will not experience and truly feel the heart that each of you has for your relationship and marriage. Translate your emotions through your consistent actions. Do everything you can to show your love for one another. Respect your spouse and his or her whole being. Only then can you stop the crazy cycle of marriage.