Rebecca M. Pernell
About your company.
About your company.
When Barrie’s children were teenagers and would say something unkind or disrespectful to her, she would remind them that they would never speak to another adult this way. Wasn’t their mother deserving of as much or more respect as any other adult?
Their counter argument was that they felt safe in expressing their anger or frustration this way because they knew, “Mom will always love me.”
It’s true that a parent’s love is steadfast, even when children are acting out or being unpleasant. But as children grow up and mature, they learn how to control their emotions and words and can interact with their parents as adults.
In many ways, we revert to our teen years with our spouse or intimate partner. We feel safe letting off steam or saying something unkind because we assume this person will always be there and love us 먹튀검증.
But Barrie’s question to her children applies even more profoundly in a love relationship:
Isn’t our partner deserving of as much or more respect as any other adult?
So ask yourself: are there unkind or disrespectful behaviors and words you use with your partner that you would never, ever use with another adult?
The answer is “yes” for most of us. We are willing to cross the line with our partners because we are so intimately involved with them and feel free to take out our frustrations and irritations on them without fear of serious consequences.
But if we do this too often, there are consequences. They might not be as immediate and direct as they were when you were disciplining your disrespectful teenager, but every act of disrespect and hurtful behavior takes a toll on your love relationship.
According to Dr. John Gottman’s research, for every negative interaction between couples, it takes five positive ones to counteract the impact of the negative one. In other words, when you say or do something hurtful to your partner, the harm of this event isn’t negated until the two of you have five loving and kind interactions.
Not many couples take the initiative to instigate five positive interactions every time there’s a negative one, even if they know about this research. They accumulate layers of negative feelings and resentments that never get resolved or erased. This backlog of bad feelings erodes trust and intimacy, which will eventually doom the relationship.
Rather than having to counteract every negative behavior with five positive behaviors, wouldn’t it make more sense to adopt a new mind-set about how you treat one another?
What if you treated your partner with the same kindness and respect in everyday life that you use with your boss, your best friend, or even your mom? What if you made the decision to be respectful, kind, and affirming, even during conflict or difficult conversations? Then you wouldn’t have to try so hard to make up for the painful, divisive interactions that weaken the closeness you share together.
Of course, there will still be times when you feel angry or frustrated, but if you make the commitment to always lead with respect and kindness, you’ll be less likely to fall into the bad habits that sabotage your connection.
You control your words and behaviors with your boss and friends, even when they irritate you. If you are motivated, you can learn this same self-control with your partner, the person you love the most and who is most deserving of your best behavior.
Practicing respect and kindness isn’t just a nice thing to do. It makes a huge difference in the quality of your relationship. It builds mutual trust and fosters healthy communication. It allows you to manage conflict and challenges more effectively. Most importantly, it shows the depth of your love for your partner and the commitment you have to your relationship.
How to Develop This Habit
Do you and your partner agree that showing kindness and respect are essential for the health and happiness of your relationship? Are you both willing to practice the self-control needed to reduce the number of negative interactions between you and to prioritize kindness and mutual respect?
If so, it can be helpful to mentally revisit your courtship days when you were on your best behavior. Think about how loving, attentive, forgiving, considerate, deferential, and kind you were to one another. Try to put yourselves back in that mind-set, even if you have to “act” more kindly than you feel right now.
With practice, this new mind-set will have so many positive effects on your relationship that it will become natural and desirable for both of you. For now, you just need to believe that it’s a worthy endeavor.
Choose your habit.
There are hundreds of ways to show kindness and respect to your partner. Speaking loving and affirming words, showing common courtesies, listening attentively, offering praise and gratitude, and being quick to apologize are just a few. So how do you know where to begin developing this new habit?
Perhaps the best place to begin is where you and your partner feel the least respected by the other. Maybe one of you feels the other is too harsh or critical. Or you might feel your partner doesn’t pay enough attention when you talk.
Both of you can write down one way (just one for now) you feel disrespected by your partner by completing the sentence: “I feel disrespected when my partner …”
Then complete the sentence: “I would like my partner to show me more respect in this area by …” Fill in the behavior or words you would like to see more of from your partner.
For example, you might say:
“I feel disrespected when my partner doesn’t acknowledge me when I walk into the room.”
Or “I would like my partner to show me more respect in this area by looking up, smiling, and saying something positive to me when I come into the room.”
Show your requests to one another to determine if you are both willing to work on the new habit your partner has requested. If not, suggest what you are willing to do to work on developing the habit.
Decide how you will implement this habit.
If your partner has requested that you do something daily, like having a five-minute conversation before you both leave for work or helping more with the dinner cleanup in the evening, then you can work on this new behavior as you would any other habit.
Choose a time of day to perform the habit, a trigger for performing it, and some form of accountability. For example, a trigger for a five-minute conversation before work could be pouring your first cup of coffee in the morning, and accountability could happen during your weekly meetings with your partner.
However, your partner’s request might involve a behavior that is more sporadic, such as putting your phone down and making eye contact when he or she is talking to you. Because this situation occurs at different times and requires dropping a bad habit and
replacing it, you may need a cue or reminder from your partner to help you stay on track.
You don’t want to be dependent on this reminder forever, since the goal is to adopt a new way of behaving permanently. But initially, you may need some help. So talk together about what your partner should say or do if you neglect to perform the new habit. This could be a verbal reminder, a single word, or even a hand signal.
Once you’re aware that you’ve neglected the habit, go back and repeat the situation again using the desired habit behavior. If your partner walks into the room and you forget to put down your phone and use eye contact, then your partner should walk out and come in again so you can practice the habit and reinforce it.
Discuss your habit work.
At your weekly meetings, talk together about how your efforts with kindness and respect habits are impacting your feelings for each other and the quality of your relationship.
Also discuss the habit and how you are doing with your efforts. Are you remembering to follow through? Does anything need to shift or change to make the habit work easier or more effective? Is the habit beginning to feel more automatic?
Move on to another kindness and respect habit.
Once you find that your initial habit feels more natural to perform, you can begin working on another habit to show more kindness and respect to one another.
You may find that working on the initial habit has motivated you to be kinder and more respectful of one another in general. A little civility and consideration can go a long way and inspire you to step up your game in many other ways.
A more difficult habit to develop is practicing respect and kindness during conflict or times when you feel irritable, stressed, or ill. Discuss how you might be treating one another disrespectfully during these times, and determine new behaviors you want to practice when these situations arise.
It will be harder to follow through when you are emotionally triggered or feeling bad, but you can still harness enough self-control to excuse yourself in order to calm down or to take a deep breath rather than lashing out. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in Habit #20 on managing anger.