KITOTO: What is the place of respect in a fulfilling marriage?

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By PHILIP KITOTO
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I need a follow up to last week’s topic – where does mutual respect and rudeness fit in what it takes to achieve fulfilment in marriage?

Before I gave the list talking about what it takes to achieve fulfilment in marriage, I started by saying that contentment has become very elusive in most marriages today. This is because many get into relationships simply for what they can get from them, and therefore do not see the need to invest in their partners. Sacrifice must be at the core of every relationship. I pointed out that the moment your partner feels as if he is being used and that his needs are not being met, or that they are being ignored, this starts the downward spiral that kills love.

Some of the tips I gave for achieving fulfilment were:

Check your motive, don’t take everything at face value, desire to grow together, set the agenda of your marriage, and fan the flame of romance and intimacy. This list is of course not exhaustive.

As you suggested, mutual respect is key to the growth of a relationship in many ways. The lack of mutual respect poses many dangers to a relationship:

  • First, it leads to a dysfunctional relationship where spouses are insensitive to each other’s feelings. Lack of respect quickly dismantles a relationship. Everything comes apart when you are disrespectful.

  • Second, it causes cracks in the foundation of mutual trust and fellowship that is an essential block on which the relationship is built. The result is two people in a relationship that are behaving like two wounded lions.

  • Third, it leads to a violation of established boundaries that guard you personally and those that guard the marriage. When boundaries are broken, we allow many vices to creep in, which in turn destroy the marriage. It causes a withdrawal on one or both back into their shell of protectiveness. Soon, this will develop into feelings of bitterness.

  • Fourth, it denies the other person a right to their own voice in the relationship. Lack of mutual respect tends to trivialise the other person’s stand on the issues at hand. Mutual respects grants the other person the opportunity to be heard. Your partner has a right and needs an unconditional space to share their opinion and perspective.

It is therefore upon each of us to not only create an atmosphere that guarantees freedom of expression, but also, we need to make an effort to encourage our mates to share their thoughts and feelings even when we know we may disagree with them. Each point of view is important and needs to be respected and valued. Respecting your spouse’s view shows that you respect him or her. Where you disagree, first acknowledge that you are not deaf to their feelings

  • Fifth, embracing mutual respect enhances collaboration. Learn the power of give and take. Healthy negotiation means that you could lose some to gain some. Knowing that we are not perfect in ourselves will help us bend a little for the sake of the needs of our spouses. Stubbornly holding onto your point of view could just be what leads to never-ending resentment in your marriage.

All we need is to take each other’s concerns as seriously as though they were our own. Mutual respect requires one to be clear about what is important to them as well as what is important to your spouse. If you have no mutual respect, restoring it will require reaffirming your love and making the choice to respect each other, clarifying boundaries, attending to each other’s concerns intentionally, and avoiding the blame game.

The fact is that when the promise of love is broken by lack of mutual respect, we become vulnerable to a collapse in honest connection, which might lead to infidelity.

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