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Trust and Respect are Essential in Marriage

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Webster defines the word "respect" as; prizing, cherishing, and valuing or giving particular attention, consideration, or high esteem. Respecting each other means admiring your partner's abilities, qualities, and achievements and considering their feelings, wishes, and boundaries. Respect for each other also involves avoiding harm to them or interfering with their values, things, and people who are important to them.

Respect and trust are critical factors to having a healthy relationship that will stand over time and the challenges life brings. Respecting yourself and your values, standards, opinions, and boundaries must be foremost. If you do not respect yourself, you will do and say things that invite disrespect from others. It is vital to act in ways that allow your partner to maintain a healthy respect for you.

 A lack of respect is a common reason why many relationships fail. In a relationship, respect can be crucial in accepting each other, communicating openly, and building trust. While the absence of respect can lead to conflict, hurt feelings, and even the destruction of the relationship. Respecting each other's personal needs and opinions improves connection and takes it to a completely different level allowing each of you to feel safe, secure, and loved,

What is Trust?

Webster's definition of trust is the reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone. Trust is a cornerstone of a relationship; without it, the relationship will lack stability, and the couple will be uncomfortable with each other. In a trusting relationship, we feel secure to place our confidence in our partner because they have our best interest and will be loyal. It allows us to express our feelings openly and honestly because our partner is supportive. 

After you feel trust with someone, you will then be able to commit. Building trust comes as we learn about our partners and how predictable they are. If our partners consistently have our best interests at heart, we learn to trust them. As slow as trust builds, it can dissolve just as quickly. Listen with an open mind. Be willing to trust and be authentic and supportive of each other.

What Happens when trust breaks down?

When we don't trust our partners, we exaggerate and discount their negative behaviors. Positives have much less weight than negatives, and we're more likely to question the worth of the relationship constantly. While a breakdown in trust can result from indiscretions by one or both spouses, this is not always the case. Some people need help trusting people and may not trust their partner whether that person is trustworthy.

People with trust issues often employ specific patterns of thinking and acting that complicate relationships. They tend to be Low-trust people who have mistrust that clouds their perceptions.


Mistrust causes:

  •  Trouble communicating.
  • Constant questioning of their partner's motives.
  • Tendency to be highly critical.
  • Overreaction to minor indiscretions. 
  • Refrain from giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Their relationship can be exasperating as they feel punished or criticized for no reason, yet guilty and powerless to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

What is Respect?

The definition of respect, also called esteem, is giving particular consideration and attention to someone with high or special regard. Mutual respect is treating each other thoughtfully and courteously. If you treat your spouse or partner respectfully, you are doing things like:

  • Considering their opinion.
  • Consulting with your spouse before making decisions that affect them.
  • Taking an active interest in your partner's life (work, interests, and daily activities).
  • Negotiating and compromising with your partner about important issues that affect you and other family members.

What Happens When Respect is Absent in the Marriage?

Day-to-day stresses and strains can chip away at respect over time. These issues can cause spouses to:

  • Be Irritable, negative, and disrespectful.
  • Vent frustrations on their partner.
  • Show an inability to resolve or manage conflicts or differences. 

Partners can become increasingly pessimistic and disrespectful to each creating a vicious cycle. Anger and frustration, expressed in negative and blaming ways, can start the process of negative interactions and result in the loss of respect. These are only a few ways that respect can evaporate a marriage or relationship.

Steps to Rebuilding Trust and Respect.

  1. Be Honest.

Do what you said you'd do, be emotionally honest during conversations, and don't forget the negative impact of little white lies. Frequent white lies can quickly erode trust in a relationship.

  1. Make sure Your Words consistently match your actions.

In any meaningful relationship, trust will grow when your words consistently match your actions. Conversely, you'll form a breach if you do one thing and say another. Correcting your actions when they differ from your words can allow trust to develop again. Focus on doing what you say you will do and keeping your promises.

  1. When you do make a mistake, own up to it and apologize.

The inability to admit fault can put you at risk of losing your spouse's confidence. Nobody's perfect, and willingness to admit you messed up plays a big part in building trust as it shows your partner you care about your relationship more than being right. 

  1. Make connecting with your spouse a priority.

Life with little kids can be challenging, and you may need to make time with your partner. Prioritizing a connection is essential in maintaining a sense of trust. If your partner feels distant from you, trusting you will be challenging, even if your intentions are good. Even occasionally connecting amidst the chaos of parenting can restore trust in your relationship.

If you have trouble finding trust and respect as a couple, you should seek counseling. A professional can guide you through the steps to re-establishing trust and respect and help you find joy in your union. Consider using Marriage in a Box if you need helpful advice and suggestions on working through this.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

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