How to Bring Respect Back to Your Relationship

The image above describes it. This couple is tired of fighting and acting ugly.

Disrespect is getting old. It’s time for a change.

So, they make a decision–together. Let’s shed the ugly costumes and act nice.

Going forward, let’s show mutual respect.

Bringing respect back

Isn’t it time we bring respect back? There appears to be a void of respect in society. Differences are expressed in contempt. As I wrote in my book Bringing Respect Back: Communicating Without the Conflict, ‘Our society has lost respect for respect.”

[Tweet “Our society has lost respect for respect.”]

Society aside, does respect permeate your family relationships? How about your marriage? Do you exhibit self-respect?

The image above headlines chapter 4 in my book. The couple has been through a lot of marital and parental issues. They realize pointing fingers at each other only makes matters worse. Furthermore, it is causing significant problems with their kids. The couple decides to call a truce and start showing some respect.

Check out the All About We Podcast where in an interview I break down the 6 steps in the Dance of Respect. Click the play button above.

How to bring respect back to your relationship

Bringing respect back is easier said than done–BUT done nonetheless it must be. So where do “we” begin?
#1: We begins with me.
If you wait until your spouse/partner shows you respect before you reciprocate it may never happen. Two people waiting on the other are two people stuck together in a dance of disrespect. Are you proud of how you act toward your spouse? Do you show her/him respect on a regular basis? Or are you critical, rude, bossy, indifferent, defensive or dismissive? If you are not proud, then it is time you act by disrobing the disrespect and learn the dance of respect. This 6-step approach I cover in chapter 2 of my book.
#2: Start doing little things that show respect.
No need to make a big announcement. Actions speak louder than words. Think about your demeanor when you interact with your spouse/partner. Focus on respect. Think: “How would I like to be treated?” Here are some ideas about little things you can do:
  • When your mate speaks, look him/her in the eye. Show warmth. Look interested.
  • Give compliments and show appreciation for what they do.
  • Lend a helping hand. Do things without waiting to be asked. Try: “Anything I can help you with?”
  • Have your spouse’s back when the kids act disrespectful toward her/him.
#3: Ask your mate to join you in a dance of respect.
This step won’t work if you are not willing or attempting to do the first two. One of the biggest barriers to talking to a spouse/partner is pride. Relationships mired in disrespect are adversarial. You want to come bearing an olive branch. You might say something like: “This is not a gripe about you, but a problem with us–the way we treat each other. I’m tired of it. I want us to bring respect back. How about you?” I recommend you choose a time to make the request when you can have each other’s undivided attention.
  • Power down devices
  • Go to a restaurant, coffee shop, or bedroom to talk
  • Don’t start talking about specific issues
  • Focus on the negative pattern of disrespect you want to change
#4: Focus together on 3 basic things you can do to get started
Don’t try to overhaul your relationship at once. Focus on three basic things you can do to show mutual respect. Here are some ideas:
  • Be kind when interacting during the day
  • Pay compliments and say “thank you” for acts of kindness
  • Show eye contact when conversing and agree not to talk over each other
  • Listen well and paraphrase what you hear
  • Agree to be patient with each other
  • Own mistakes and apologize
Respect is an attitude of the heart. It conveys a strong caring disposition toward the other person. I encourage you to get back to the heart of it.

Now it’s Your Turn

4 basic things you can do to bring respect back to your relationship. It begins with you, not your spouse. (If your spouse is reading this, he/she is getting the same message!) Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Disrespect is insane! Why not try the dance of respect. For more on the dance, check out my book.