MEN RESPECTING WOMEN
This is the second article in a three-part series. Jim’s first topic dealt with contemporary male chivalry. The third article will be written by Jim’s wife Ruth on the theme of how men can cherish women.
As you must sufficiently love yourself to be able to truly love others, the same applies to respect. Respecting and honoring your partner begins with a healthy measure of self-respect and dignity. Such respect requires developing honorable character traits, such as integrity, compassion, and generosity, as well as personal achievements. Nobody comes by it cheaply.
A basic form of respect involves honoring your mate’s boundaries—requested guidelines and limits in order to feel comfortable and emotionally safe during interactions with you. Several key examples of respecting boundaries include:
- Knocking on a closed door before entering a room
- Avoiding privacy invasions such as reading her mail or electronic messages without her permission
- Refraining from calling to her across the house (something I am guilty of doing more than occasionally)
- Granting your partner’s expressed request for personal space or alone time
- Obeying her request not to touch her erogenous zones without her consent, or to touch her in ways that she doesn’t enjoy. Most women hate to be groped!
Another way to respect your beloved is to validate and even appreciate differences between the two of you. You can celebrate having different personalities, needs, interests, hobbies, and so forth. Sometimes effective compromises are in order, which involves mutual accommodation that doesn’t feel like a lose-lose proposition. You are likely to significantly enhance your relationship once you identify and then accommodate disparity in how you and your partner prefer to give and receive love. A detailed discussion of various styles of loving is beyond the scope of this blog.
I strongly recommend (re-)reading Gary Chapman’s best-selling book, The Five Love Languages.*
Contrary to seeking a partner to complete you, you dignify both yourself and your mate by regarding each of you as complete and whole. You can take the lead in breaking through codependency by affirming and celebrating your beloved’s strengths and virtues or beautiful qualities. These represent prime characteristics of what my wife and I refer to as a soulful relationship.**
Here are a few simple ways in which you can regularly demonstrate respect to/of your partner:
- Give her time and space to enjoy downtime and replenish herself
- Express sincere compliments and what you really appreciate about her and your relationship
- Relieve her of some of her difficult or tedious tasks
Find some of your own unique ways of conveying gratitude and respect toward your dear one.
* Chapman, G. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2004.
** Sharon, J. & R. Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating & Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014.