Fundamentals in a Relationship. Respect.


My friend from sunny South Africa came over, she got married to a South African dude, packed her bags and left…And never looked back apart from her yearly visit for 2/3 weeks in December (Yes. She comes when its freezing. Every year. Tells us its too cold, and goes back to sunny SA)

We always catch up when we see pops over, and it’s really nice because everyone will make more of an effort when she comes.

These Girls are my school friends, and at the age of 36, we are all married, with elder kids. So essentially TRYING to live for ourselves now. I do say trying in capitals because really. We are trying. But it really doesn’t get easier as kids grow older, new challenges come into place. (see previous post of boy/girl friends in a muslim household)

We just started talking about marriage in a general term, and how there are certain aspects to marriage which can make or break you. All of us are still married, not to say we have the ‘perfect’ marriage ( what evan is that?) But we are all happily married.

I mean we all know for a marriage to work there has to be Love. Thats the biggest component, but what exactly is love? And how is the love kept?

It’s kept by further little components, like loyalty, trust, companionship, honesty, compromise, understanding each others needs, respect among so much other factors.

To keep a relationship going, the individuals have to take all of these things into account. And if you are in love, it should all come naturally, it’s not something you’d have to work on….. you would think. Right?

We all came to the conclusion that Secondary to Love- would come Respect. Love is a feeling. And respect- well that has to be earned right? So how do the two go together?

“You cant love a person you dont respect”

How far would you agree with this? Overall it’s a simple statement, and it should be easy, but look around and you’ll see loads of friends, family etc who are suffering from this simple statement. That’s not to say they don’t love each other, but rather the interpretation of respect means different things to different people.

Why did we choose Respect? well thats easy, Without respect all the other factors wouldnt evan make it. We wouldnt commit to someone we dont respect, we wouldnt be loyal to someone we dont respect, we wouldnt evan have proper conversations with people who we dont respect. Respect is a part of life that goes beyond just a relaitionship, its fundamental in all relaitionships, whether that be friendship, parent-child relaitionship, or evan within the workplace.

The problem with the term is what each person defines as ‘Respect’, what can be respectful to one person, may not be the same for the other. The term needs to be broken down and usually this happens after the disrespting of one of the people in the relaitionship. If I put it in the most simplest form ‘Putting the dirty clothes into the wash basket’, now this can be a big issue for one person, yet the other person is oblivious to it. Now a marraige or a long term relaitionship is not going to end over this (I hope so) but its about respecting the other partner enough to know that its considerable to do this little act. (which can save a lot of drama).

This is just a simple example, it’s the more bigger things in life that cause the issues, and communication is needed to break it down. Another small example from personal experience: Friendship groups. Your partner may not like your friendship group. Or vice-versa. So how would you deal with this. You love your partner, you love your friends.

Personally as much as I’d like to ban him from certain people, the reality is that’d be disrespectful off me. If this person is creating a toxic relationship between the two of you, then implications need to be made, if not, then you have to trust that your partner knows whether it’s right to be friends with this person or not. So grind your teeth, leave the sarcasm for another day, and don’t forget to say ‘have fun’ when they leave.

But once again these are things that can be overseen, it would be fair to say that without respect love can essentially start wearing off. If we go back to the friendship example, if I decided that my husband should never go out with these friends, or have any communication with them, he may start loosing respect for me. Or if he decides that regardless of my feelings he will continue to go out with people who obviously have a implicit agenda in breaking the relationship, I would start to lose respect for him. When one half of you starts loosing respect for the other, the tearing down process starts, this can build up in a number of ways, not just friendship but general everyday living of life, and it can lead to a detrimental postition in the relationship.

Our end resolution came down to the key in all relationship is ‘Communication, Communication, Communication’ If you don’t like something- say it. If your not happy – say it. But never ever try and possess or control your other half. Allowing the other person to assess and understand for themselves how much of an impact a certain act has on a relationship shows growth and maturity. And sometimes (just sometimes) mistakes make the relationship stronger.

Hope you enjoyed our little chat.

Feel free to give your thoughts

Love and regards


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