We need to always remind ourselves of the fact that if you respect your partner or friend in any relationship, then you open the door to receive respect in return. If you sow the seeds of disrespect, you will surely reap the harvest of disrespect from your spouse, family member, or friend.
Respect is earned like a certificate. It is similar to trust. You cannot get it overnight. What you say and do, along with your behavior and attitude, work together over a period of time to earn you integrity plus respect in the mind, eyes, and heart of your husband, wife, fiancée, family member, or friend.
The bulk of what we deem as disrespect, surrounds poor levels or absence of sincere LOVE, KINDNESS, FORGIVENESS, GOOD BEHAVIOR, and EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION.
Real love from the heart, accompanied by acceptable behavior, genuine forgiveness, desirable kindness, plus effective and sincere communication, will be the greatest and fastest vehicles to carry and establish respect for anyone in any relationship.
Disrespect is primarily seen in particular bad actions, the kind of words we use, the attitude with which we speak, the tone of voice that is employed, the manner in which the sentences are framed, the body language that is displayed, the way the particular message was delivered, the timing of the statement or word, and the silence or apathy that could be portrayed.
We must, however, remind ourselves also that God rewards us for any good thing we do from a good heart. Therefore even if your partner, family member, or friend does not show you the needed or expected respect in your interactions, you must set a good example for him or her to learn, and also empower yourself by showing him or her the respect required or expected of you.
Living by such godly and wise principle will make you the ideal husband, wife, courtship mate, family member, team mate, or friend.
Apart from good communication, love, forgiveness, trust, kindness, integrity, and tolerance which form the primary ingredients for the success of any good relationship, honor and respect rank among the most important attributes that all humans crave for in every kind of relationship.
Men in particular have the innate instinct of regarding honor and respect as their greatest need. This is in addition to sexual satisfaction, a wife who is physically presentable to the man, and provision of good meals plus excellent financial and domestic management in their marriages.
An important fact is that: TRUE LOVE ALSO RESPECTS. I have noticed that you will spontaneously feel uncomfortable to disrespect any one that you sincerely love.
When efforts are therefore made to deepen love in the relationship, the level of respect will also climb higher, or vice versa.
Respect must, however, be mutual for both husband and wife. They must respect each other, no matter the gender, background, social or spiritual position, economic status, or achievement levels.
Without mutual respect, communication for example, which is the life and blood of the relationship, will be poor, and the partners can easily talk carelessly, unwisely, and disrespectfully to each other.
It is a known fact that if sexual immorality and disorganized lifestyle plus blatant or serious telling of lies occur during courtship, then respect will be lost to a large extent between the two people. This will definitely trail them and seep into the marriage to create permanent problems of disrespect and other issues, unless there is real repentance on their part, followed by spiritual transformation from the Lord Jesus in their souls, for God’s grace to restore and sustain the couple.
ABSENCE OF HONOR AND RESPECT IN OUR COURTSHIPS, MARRIAGES, AND RELATIONSHIPS
When respect is lost in any marriage or relationship, there can be total chaos, because no partner cares or bothers about what happens to the other person. The two people virtually live independent lives that show no respect for the partner, or anything good in the other person.
When a man’s respect is broken or trodden down by a woman, then his strength as a man becomes broken as well. When the Mother shows respect to Daddy (her husband), it encourages the children to show respect to their father and mother as well.
The same thing works the other way round. If the father does not respect his wife, the children tend to disrespect their mother as well. If a man is disrespected and dishonored by his wife or fiancee, he becomes discouraged and deflated, and no more feels like a man with leadership power and authority, or someone with provision abilities and headship capabilities.
In fact, one of the major roles of a mother is to train the children to respect their father; and a major role of a responsible father is for him to train the children to love their mother (his dear wife).
Most insults and abusive words are the results of anger, disappointment, prejudice, and malice in the one who speaks them. These negative factors cause us to be infuriated and degraded, and provoke violence in us. When the temper of the offended person cools down, genuine repentance can set in more easily, and sincere apologies can be made and accepted.
SOME PRIMARY REASONS FOR DISRESPECT
Usually there are underlying reasons why one spouse or partner continually disrespects the other mate; or why the two people seem not to have any respect at all for each other. The reasons can be many, and can vary under different conditions.
I will list a few of the reasons, and encourage you to add to the list, in accordance with your particular circumstance and observations.
1) Feelings of inadequate or reasonable love from your mate.
2) Financial needs not met, or low financial position.
3) Low educational standard.
4) Disrespect for the gender, due to personal preconceived impressions (being a ‘woman’ or being a ‘man’).
5) Cultural and traditional beliefs that cause women to be relegated or downgraded.
6) Immoral, uncourteous, or indecent character and bad attitude, or unprincipled nature.
7) Being ungodly or unspiritual.
8) No faith in a partner as someone with abilities to achieve anything appreciable or meaningful.
9) Effects of past bad experiences.
10) A partner hearing, believing, being influenced, or accepting wrong advice; hearing bad stories, or harboring accusations against the other partner.
11) Reciprocal show of disrespect (as vengeance) due to disrespect exhibited by the other mate.
12) A spirit of pride and arrogance that makes someone harbor a spirit of disrespect for everyone that he or she interacts with.
13) The thoughts and feelings of having made the wrong choice of mate for marriage or courtship, or allowing the wrong person to be your close friend.
14) Lack of trust, especially due to habitual lies, dishonesty, and broken promises.
15) Mistreatment of the partner.
16) The impression or actual demonstration of one partner being dominated and controlled by the other mate.
17) Abuses of different kinds, typically physical or verbal abuses and insults.
18) Anger, bitterness, and frustration resulting from unresolved conflicts.
NOTE IMPORTANT AREAS WHERE RESPECT IS NEEDED
Respect is an indispensable ingredient in all good relationships and friendships. It is impossible to become united and work cooperatively to achieve anything fruitful in a friendship, courtship, or marriage, or in any kind of mutual transaction without mutual respect for one another.
There cannot also be real love without genuine respect for the one you love. Have you ever seen anyone sincerely demonstrating true love to someone without honoring and respecting the person?
Respect actually invokes and promotes kindness and gentleness, and draws love plus cooperation from the inner recesses of any person on to the table for all productive associations.
To be able to love, cooperate with, support, influence, enjoy, and work together in unity with you mate or friend, I suggest that you must respect your mate’s:
1) Opinions and inputs.
3) Race and culture.
4) Family and ancestry (pedigree).
5) Spiritual state (even when you are seeking to help him or her to know the truth and know God better).
6) Financial state.
7) Social position.
8) Academic position.
9) Skills, gifts, and talents.
10) The person’s overall lifestyle, temperament, and personality.
DISRESPECT AND DISHONOR
Since love, honor, and respect go hand in hand, any word, deed, act, or attitude that is un-loving will always be disrespectful in nature as well. It means you are not respecting the person, and you are not valuing the relationship or making it a priority.
I have tried, in this instance, to enumerate a few common indicators of disrespect, and suggest that you add your own.
From my personal point of view, you could show disrespect to a person, or dishonor someone when you:
1) Speak roughly and carelessly to the one. I believe that the kind and manner of speech to a person portrays disrespect more than anything else. Most complaints of people about disrespect towards them usually go with “the way he or she spoke to me.”
2) Use unkind, spiteful, dishonoring, or insulting words to speak to someone.
3) Demonstrate attitude or body language that shows disregard for the person; indicate a “get away from me” or “get off my back” attitude; or make insulting and degrading gestures.
4) Totally ignore someone.
5) Make unwelcome or angry facial expressions to the one.
6) Mock the one or make sarcastic and sneering or discouraging remarks.
7) Serve the person in a careless or dishonoring way (e.g. serving food or drink with unacceptable or inappropriate cup or plate, and leaving out essential items etc.).
8) Deny the person what should be given to the one.
9) Come in late to appointments or plans to meet the one; leave too early or unceremoniously; or boycott the meeting or the person altogether, sometimes without any explanation or genuine excuse.
10) Use or misuse an item or something important to the person without the required care or carefulness.
11) Refuse to listen or obey important explanation, advice, or instructions of someone.
12) Intentionally break promises you made to someone (e.g. neglecting or refusing to pay money you borrowed, or not returning an item lent to you).
13) Deliberately lie to someone.
14) Intentionally change arrangement that all of you have firmly agreed on, especially after adequate discussions.
15) Openly accuse, scold, blame, insult, sneer at, mock, ignore, make bad gestures, or shout on the person in public or before one or two family members or friends; or take sides with your family members against your partner.
16) Dress shabbily or inappropriately (sometimes with bad body odor in addition) to welcome or accompany someone.
17) Refuse to give the person his or her rights (e.g. payment, joint financial or property ownership, physical and emotional company, conversation, mutual love and romance or sexual fulfillment in a marriage, necessary assistance etc.).
18) Do not make your partner’s welfare and needs your priority, but relate to or live with the one selfishly, and take advantage of the person.
19) Engage yourself in conversations and activities or friendships that do not fit the caliber of your respectable position or your relationships (courtship, marriage etc.).
20) Do not observe common courtesy and hygiene (e.g. foul language and unenlightened public manners; eating with dirty hands; passing gas carelessly; having unclean teeth and smelling mouth; keeping unclean and messy room etc.).
1) Learn the common indicators of honor and respect within each culture you find yourself in, or any culture and tradition within which you operate.
2) Know the fundamental differences between men and women, and understand what each gender considers as honor or disrespect to a man or a woman, especially your lover.
3) Admit and deal with any spirit of disrespect in your character.
4) Learn to respect yourself (in your words, deeds, behavior etc.) — this is the beginning of respecting others.
5) Decide to use all the knowledge you have acquired to show respect to different people under all circumstances, especially your fiancée, spouse, children, parents, elders and adults, boss, colleagues, business and ministry partners, and close friends.
6) Develop deep love, care, and gentleness for your mate in courtship or marriage —- this will promote respect and honor from him or her as well.
7) Improve your communication, especially making time to listen and having regard for your mate’s suggestions, inputs, opinions, and advice — this will help you to develop more honor and respect in the relationship.
8) Explore and engage in creative things that will carry impressions of special honor and respect for your mate.
9) Carefully watch your temper, words, acts, actions, attitude, body language, and things you ignore or do carelessly, which might show dishonor or disrespect to your mate, family members, relatives, and friends, although you do not plan to disrespect anyone.
The more you give excuses and repeatedly attempt to apologize (or do damage control) for your lack of courtesy and disrespect towards people or your mate, the more you will irritate your partner and the people you relate to, and will ultimately lose any respect they originally had for you.
10) Let the fear of God, wisdom, sensitivity to people’s feelings and their needs, and humility of mind and heart, be your primary guide in showing respect and honor in your courtship or marriage, family life, and all other relationships.
GIVE YOUR SPOUSE ROOM TO GROW AND PROSPER, ALONG WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF RESPECT
Every husband should give his wife the respect and freedom that she needs to grow to full maturity and spirituality. The wife must give the same freedom to the husband as well.
As a loving and wise man, you should not silence your fiancée or wife with contempt, ridicule, apathy, and masculine control. If you do that, you can shut her down and cause her to sink into anger, bitterness, and even depression.
Every wife must also respect the leadership of her husband, and encourage him to perform his headship role with excellence in the life of the wife and family.
The wife must encourage her husband to execute his leadership role lovingly, wisely, and effectively, in the fear of God.
If a woman does not learn how to control herself, in order to engage in humble, sensible, and meaningful dialogue with her husband , but rather talks and complains too much, and develops the bad habit of nagging all day long, then she will cause the man to become fed up, frustrated, disappointed, and even angry with her as well.
Let us work hard on ourselves to practice respecting others, until we develop and permanently acquire a respectful and loving character.
(Obtain more from Dr. Kisseadoo’s Book: “The 20 Major Signs Of A Failing Marriage”; or “Counseling For Successful Relationships And Marriages”, from Challenge Bookstores in Ghana, or as Kindle from Amazon.com)
By Rev. Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo, Virginia. Professor of Biology. International Evangelist. Bible Teacher. Author. Conference Speaker. Relationships, Marriage, and Family Counselor. Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Incorporated (An Evangelistic and Teaching Christian Ministry).
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