Every relationship that is to be properly nurtured carries with it a rudimentary and fundamental need. Regardless if that relationship is one of parent/child, supervisor/employee, pastor/congregational member, or teacher/student, there must be the element of mutual respect.
Likewise, the marriage relationship is so profound that an intimate union between two people cannot and will not thrive without the quintessential component of respect for one another. When there is mutual respect in a marriage, the two people relating demonstrate a deeply insightful esteem for each other and matters of worth, value, or importance are rarely in question. It’s simply understood because the way in which they relate goes beyond superficial exchanges; and their interaction with one another is deeply meaningful and significant. When mutual respect exists between husband and wife, the couple has developed the capacity to understand not only their individual mental processes, but also that of their mates. Their response to their spouse is based on the premise of that understanding and driven by intentions to help improve their mate’s overall condition and state of mind.
Questions of worth, value, and appreciation becomes a factor in relationships when there is a lack of mutual respect. In such cases, honor is compromised. Therefore questions become raised between the two in terms of honesty, fairness, and integrity in one’s beliefs and actions. People’s actions can be characterized by the consequences or outcome of the action and by the intentions behind the actions. Further, people usually act based on their belief systems. When two people come into union, they bring with them their individual beliefs, and within the context of their relationship, they behave according to what they believe to be appropriate. However, belief systems can sometimes be an impediment to a healthy relationship, particularly when it is devoid of mutual respect.
The law of reciprocity is a very relevant factor in relationships in general. Yet how we reciprocate in a marital relationship manifests our level of maturity and even our love for our husband or wife. Reciprocity deals with giving like for like. Yet, the balanced perspective or idea of reciprocity in marriage is to respond to a kind action with equal or greater kindness. The law of reciprocity contains polar opposites: Positive Reciprocity and Negative Reciprocity. What often happen in problematic relationships is that the parties will engage in negative reciprocity instead of positive. So rather than their behavior be cooperative, it is retaliatory.
When an action is rooted in genuine love, appreciation and respect, the purpose, the why, or the intentions behind the action is never to hurt or cause harm. Husbands and wives must always ask themselves the question, “What is my why or purpose for doing and/or saying what I am doing or saying?” If the why or intentions is retaliatory versus cooperative then you are on the wrong track to a healthy relationship. Cooperative behavior is the working together for a common purpose and benefit; it unites. Retaliatory behavior is to avenge or take revenge and this course of behavior demonstrates a lack of forgiveness, which is a vital ingredient in marriage. Retaliatory behavior separates.
Important Factors for Husbands and Wives to Consider:
1. Always consider your own state of mind that directs your individual action toward your mate.
2. Explore the common benefit of your intended act, and ask yourself the question “Is this something that brings us closer together and for a common purpose, or is this at the expense of my mate?”
3. Examine your personal belief system to determine if it is a hindrance to a healthy relationship with your mate.
4. Weigh whether you are behaving cooperatively or retaliatory.
5. Inspect your actions to determine if you are behaving maturely and in the spirit of love and genuine concern for the health and well-being of your mate.
Please watch for Part 2 of Developing Mutual Respect in Your Relationship
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