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Love is not all you need. Try a little respect.

Ideas for building a respectful partnership with your significant other

From the Concern Resilience Library

According to the Beatles, “All You Need Is Love.” And though love is a critical component of romantic relationships, behavioral experts have found that passionate, long-term and successful relationships often start with a foundation of mutual respect. Love adds joy to a relationship and provides emotional bonds that can help carry you through hard times. Beyond that, respect from those closest to us fuels our self-esteem and self-confidence.

Here are some ideas for building a respectful partnership with your significant other.

Think like a team – Consult each other when you make decisions that affect you both.  It also helps to think of your partner when making individual decisions. When the two of you go out in the world, present a united front and practice saying “We” instead of “I.”

If you disagree, do so respectfully – Couples can’t always be on the same page and disagreement is natural and expected. Remember that the way you say things is just as important as what you’re saying. When you disagree, focus on phrasing the discussion with “I” language, such as “I understand why you see it that way, and it makes me feel that…”

Appreciate differences – Because you’re both individuals, there will be fundamental differences between you. Remember that sometimes those differences are what makes your partner unique and a complement to you.

Have some self-respect – To respect and care for others, you have to first respect and care for yourself. Treat your body, mind and spirit with the same care you reserve for your partner.

Learn to compromise – When making decisions together, first listen to each other and make sure you understand your partner’s perspective. Discuss the pros and cons of the situation in a respectful manner and seek a resolution that makes the both of you comfortable. When it comes to small, regular decisions—like what to eat—try taking turns.

Apologize when you’ve made a mistake – This seems like a no-brainer, but an important way to demonstrate respect is to apologize when you’re wrong. When apologizing, look your partner in the eye, put away the phone and other distractions and make it clear how much you regret what’s happened. Then, try hard to do better next time.

Put yourself in their shoes – Make a regular effort to think about your partner’s perspective before starting a conversation or argument. Knowing where they are coming from at any given moment helps to approach them with empathy and understanding, which is a great way of showing respect.

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