Marriage & Respect: One Can Not Live Without The Other

By Team BLAM

Think back to when you were first falling in love with your spouse. Do you remember hiding your faults? Don’t feel too bad, he or she was doing the same. Do you also remember ignoring his or her faults or viewing them in a positive light? Looking back now, you might have a better idea why they say love is blind.

One positive by-product of how you acted was that your level of respect grew. As we notice all the good things about people, our level of respect for them increases.

As our respect grows for a person, we find it easier to listen, talk in a respectful tone of voice and treat him or her in a respectful manner.

After your wedding day you probably started to let your guard down a little. You no longer tried so hard to hide your faults. At the same time your spouse was doing the same thing. It became much easier for you to notice his or her faults rather than overlook them.  As you begin focusing on your spouse’s faults, your level of respect began to erode. You may have noticed the side effects in how you spoke, listened, and treated him or her.

As respect erodes, contempt grows. Contempt will poison your marriage and bring with it pain and misery. Both respect and contempt are built up by what YOU choose to dwell on.

People who dwell on the faults of their spouse often try to force their spouse to change to meet their own expectations. Ultimately, this route is met with bitter disappointment and frustration as each attempt creates more resistance and ultimately fails.

Some folks choose to politely ask their spouse to work on their fault. If their spouse does not change they work on becoming used to their spouse’s fault. In essence, they accept the things they cannot change.

The reality is no one is perfect. The sooner we learn to recognize and accept the faults that are not going to change, the more content and happier we will be in our marriage.

Should we learn to tolerate all faults? Of course not. Physical/verbal violence, not contributing financially, and refusing to communicate or compromise are all examples of fault that should not be tolerated but instead must be addressed directly.

When you focus on your spouse’s positive traits and exercise tolerance with his or her faults, your respect for him or her will grow. You will find it easier to listen, speak, and treat them respectfully.

Here’s an Action Plan to get you started in the right direction: For the next 3 weeks make a list each day of 10 positive things your spouse did. You can also take a trip down memory lane and include things they did in the past. Each night share a few items on your list with your spouse. Better yet, ask your spouse to participate with you in this exercise. Whether you do it alone or together with your boo you will definitely be on the right track toward increasing your attitude of gratitude. 😉

Adapted from the National Healthy Marriage Institute

2 replies
  1. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    A part of this piece right here sounds like resignation. I don't think that it's ok for our spouses to stay stuck. I think we have to challenge them to grow and it is there responsibility to bring there best foot forward to the relationship.

    • Denise @How Mama Got Her Swag Back
      Denise @How Mama Got Her Swag Back says:

      I agree, but at the same time it is impossible to change anyone but yourself. The caution in this article, I believe, is against having unrealistic expectations of how, when, and if your spouse should change. If my husband likes to leave his dirty drawers everywhere except the laundry hamper, while I would want that to change I can’t dwell on it so much that I begin to severely resent him for doing it, thereby opening the door for more marital problems down the road. I can encourage him to do differently, but ultimately he has to make the decision to change his behavior and I have to decide whether I’ll continue to let this fault negatively impact our relationship. I’ve found in marriage, some things do require a bit of “resignation,” although I prefer the term “acceptance.”

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