How to Restore Respect in Your Relationship

Learn how to restore mutual respect in your relationship so that you can effectively address difficult issues & differences.

How to Restore Respect in Your Relationship

Studies have shown that disrespect is one of the main predictors of a breakup. It can take many forms, but it usually has the same result: an unhappy and unsatisfying relationship. Mutual respect is one of the cornerstones of all successful relationships, and the loss of it can quickly destroy a marriage or lead to a painful, stressful and unhappy life for a couple. But it's possible to inspire positive improvement and restore respect in your relationship. Our approach to working with couples emphasizes the importance of mutual respect.

While mutual respect isn't enough (spouses or partners can treat each other with respect, but still have significant issues), it's necessary for a relationship to thrive. Without mutual respect, couples are unlikely to be able to resolve issues. Therefore, our therapists work with couples to restore respect and then address other issues that the couple may be struggling with. How do you lose respect in a marriage? Respect can slowly erode due to the stress and tensions of everyday life. If you or your partner are stressed or struggling with your own problems, you may become irritable and negative, and vent your frustrations on your partner.

This can trigger a vicious cycle in which couples are increasingly negative and disrespectful to each other. Similarly, the inability to resolve or manage conflicts or differences can cause anger and frustration, which, if expressed in a negative and blaming way, can initiate the same cycle of negative interactions and cause a loss of respect. These are just a few of the ways in which respect can evaporate in a marriage or relationship. Much of the initial phase of therapy focuses on helping couples re-establish or create a more respectful relationship. Once a more respectful environment or atmosphere is established, therapy can begin to focus on helping you and your partner identify difficult issues and finding ways to talk about these issues directly without causing angry and disrespectful behavior. Creating a respectful relationship is essential if you are going to be able to effectively address difficult issues and differences.

Our therapists work with couples to help them recognize, accept and appreciate differences. It's almost a cliché among therapists that people get married or involved with people who are different from them and then spend the rest of their marriage or relationship trying to change their partner. Part of establishing and maintaining a respectful relationship is learning to accept differences. Couples must accept the ways in which their spouse or partner is different, whether it's values, aspirations, or temperament. Tolerating and accepting (and even appreciating) how your spouse or partner is different from you is a key part of maintaining a respectful relationship.

Helping couples achieve this tolerance can involve working with couples to recognize each other's strengths and understanding that differences don't have to threaten a relationship, but can, in fact, strengthen it. Once a couple has fallen into the pattern of treating each other in a disrespectful way, it's often difficult to change it. Once a higher level of respect has been established, couples can start working to communicate more effectively, make requests, resolve problems, and accept differences.Gary Brown, a leading couples therapist in Los Angeles, says that respect is evident in the way your partner treats you. When couples don't respect your time and are late for appointments or dates, this shows an immense lack of respect for you. But your partner won't do anything for you if that requires a little more effort on their part, and that doesn't show love or respect. In a relationship, you want to feel safe enough to open up, share deep thoughts, and lean on your partner to comfort and support you.

It's very disrespectful when partners have two sets of rules in the relationship, one for them and one for you. While this list is far from exhaustive, it captures the essence of a respectful marriage or relationship. Establishing mutual respect is essential if you want your relationship to thrive. Our therapists work with couples to help them re-establish or create a more respectful relationship so they can effectively address difficult issues and differences.