Back in the day, that diva of soul, Aretha Franklin, sang about needing some ‘R E S P E C T’ from her man. The song ends with, ‘or you might walk in and find I’m gone’.
So just how important is respect within a relationship? In my opinion, it’s up there with kindness, trust, and honesty. Once you lose respect for your partner or from your partner, for whatever reason, then for me at least, it’s ‘game over’.
Respect comes in so many different forms. It’s true you can respect your partner’s judgement, their knowledge on certain things, maybe their political bias, and religion. All of these are important, although don’t really affect your intimate relationship. BUT when that same person loses your respect on a more personal level, that’s a totally different thing, and much harder to come back from.
RESPECT verb: To show regard or consideration for.
On that first date with your new partner, generally, you’ve made an effort. You’ve scrubbed up!
Men will have had a shave and splashed on the smellies, popped on a clean shirt and hopefully shined their shoes. They’ve probably ‘huffed’ into their hands, smelt their breath and swallowed a few Tic Tacs too, as they prepared to meet you.
The ladies will have spent half the day primping and preening. Face masks, de-fuzzing, painting nails, curling eyelashes, and that’s all before the hours spent actually getting ready. They will have discarded many items of clothing from their wardrobe, onto the floordrobe, and as they leave the house, they will be ‘hot date’ ready.
Fast forward a few years… Rings have been exchanged and children have been born. You are now husband and wife, or at least long-term partners.
But are you still making the same effort, or even half the same effort for the same person, as you did, on that first date? Hmmm, I’m guessing probably not.
COMPLACENCY noun: Smug satisfaction within an existing situation.
MEN: the chances are you’ve stopped making any effort at all for your woman, on a day-to-day level. Baggy old trackie bottoms, showing all your man shapes, have probably replaced your designer jeans. That faded England T-shirt has seen better days and the ketchup stains don’t enhance it much either.
You’ve become what your mates describe as a ‘bit of a unit’ and when you DID last bother to ‘huff’ into your hands, you might have dismissed the ‘cheese and onion flavour’ breath without another thought.
WOMEN: Is your hair scragged up into some sort of doughnut thing, sitting on top of your head, simply because you didn’t have time (or much inclination) to wash it for the last week? And do you have nearly as much hair on your legs as you have on your head?
Where’s your red lippy gone, and why do you live in tracksuits and Uggs? Yes, you might be a Mum, but you are still a woman and trust me, there are plenty of girls, who ARE still making an effort and could pull your bloke if they really wanted to.
Previously in the bedroom too, most men and women get themselves ready for ‘sexy times’. It’s NOT just a prerequisite for women to be baby smooth and fuzz-free. Men these days are also expected to trim their ‘man bits’ and have visited the salon for some ‘back sack and crack’ maintenance.
Now, attempts at maintaining any kind of ‘mystery’ fall by the wayside when she replaces sexy undies with ‘Bridget Jones’ big pants and leaves period detritus all over the bathroom. While he feels it acceptable to scratch his balls and passes wind in front of her like it’s some kind of healthy achievement. Is it any wonder those sexy times are few and far between, five-minute wonders, under the sheets, lights off and seeing only the back of her head?
It’s not just in the privacy of their own home that complacency sets in. Look around any popular supermarket, on any day of the week, and you will inevitably see families doing their weekly shop. Usually, there are at least one or two children accompanying Mum and Dad. Both parents wear their faces as some kind of badge of defeat. The contented smiles are long gone.
The shopping they previously did for cosy nights in, was done holding hands, with stolen kisses, and neck snuggles. They looked and felt good. Now, those same two people find it all a chore, they snarl at each other and keep miles apart, even on the walk home. Their body language speaks volumes.
This isn’t just due to the stresses and strains of family life. This whole thing is a lack of respect for your partner, the same partner who fancied the pants off you back in the day, but now complacency has set in and taken hold. If you want to become a slob, don’t be surprised if your partner loses respect for you and looks elsewhere.
Maybe you think you’ve won your woman or man, and now you don’t need to make an effort anymore. Oh but you do!
If you respect your partner, and you want them to return the favour, you need to stay on top of your game. If you don’t they will lose respect for you, and probably start respecting someone else.
We’ve all read stories about how all of a sudden a steady ‘boring’ guy starts going to the gym, buys new pants, takes a sudden interest in clothes, and begins taking pride in his appearance.
The devoted Mum joins Slimming World, starts getting her nails done, and goes for a trendy new haircut. That is when someone else has caught their eye. Someone they want to impress, someone whose respect they want to earn. So it begins again.
Nobody is suggesting that you should focus too much on high maintenance upkeep of your body or stress about putting on a few pounds. BUT there is a happy medium.
Cast your mind back to those heady first days of your relationship, what did HE fancy about you, what did YOU fancy about him? Try your hardest to hold a little bit of mystery back and keep the flames of physical attraction burning. You can only do that if you take care of yourself and be the best version of yourself, that you can possibly be.
If you both apply these principles, then maybe and only maybe, you will have a chance of maintaining respect in yourselves and in your relationship.