If you’ve ever thought about how to gain respect in your relationship, then this article is for you.
First and foremost, a relationship doesn’t only refer to two people dating. It also refers to marriages and intimate partnerships. And in any of these existing relationship between members of the opposite sex, there’s always the issue of power play and this also affects respect in the relationship.
At the start of every relationship, or at least, most relationships, there’s an equal distribution of power and respect. But as time progresses, this shifts from one party to the other. In a place like Africa, it mostly sits with the man and many times have led to abuse and maltreatment of the woman.
I read about a woman in the news the other day, whose husband started beating her up from 12 midnight into the early hours of the morning before neighbours could intervene. In fact, she fainted. After they were able to revive her, they asked what happened.
The woman responded, saying she complained her husband was not taking care of her and the kids and that was what resulted in the beating.
When asked if she didn’t have a job or small business she could fall back on, she said she used to have a bank job and she earned well. But she stopped the job because her husband was not happy that she earned more than him.
This woman’s story is very common in African homes. The annoying part is, after quitting their jobs, they end up suffering and regretting their decisions.
There’s the story of another woman whose husband demanded that she kneels anytime she serves him. She agreed. However, the day she couldn’t kneel, all hell broke loose.
These kind of stories are what I aim to eliminate with this article, so you can gain respect in your relationship. So if you’re a woman in a relationship, or marriage, or partnership, below are ways you can get back your power and respect.
1. Know What You Want and Go For It
A lot of women don’t know what they want in a man, or they’re not realistic enough to admit that the man they went to the altar with will not treat them the way they want to be treated.
There is a reason why people are encouraged to go into courtship before dating. Unfortunately, even during courtship, the desperation for marriage makes a lot of women close their eyes to relationship red flags, relationship insecurity, and other relationship problems.
They know they wouldn’t get what they want in the relationship or marriage they’re going into. But they go in anyway because they allow society to pressure them into accepting that they must be married before a certain age.
Dear ladies, know what you want. And if he isn’t what you want, don’t stay in it. Don’t go for it.
2. Speak Up
There is a reason God gave us our voice. You need to talk. You need to speak so that the next person knows that what he is doing is making you feel terrible. No man, or even woman, will go into your mind to see or understand what you want or what you don’t want.
I told an ex that the day he raises his hands to me is the day that the relationship ends. There where times he played with the words, “I’ll beat you” and I told him right on the spot he won’t try it. Even though we were supposed to be playing I didn’t let that slide at all.
Now even though there is a history of physical abuse against women in his family, he never for once, in our two years relationship, raised his hands to me. You’ll be surprised how far the power of speaking up can go in correcting a lot of issues for you and help you gain respect in your relationship.
3. Be More Independent
Even if being financially stable is the number one thing to consider here, being independent isn’t tied to financial status alone. As the only girl child in the midst of 3 boys, I had to learn to take care of my own stuff, because my brothers are too busy to get their stuff done and also get mine done. Sometimes they’re exhausted.
This is not to say they never helped. They did. A lot too. But I always tried to learn from them how to fix my phone, how to fix a simple TV issue, how to use the computer, how to weed the compound, how to handle my own research, how to fix my own light issues and how to fight my own battles.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for support. You should. But if you’re too dependent on a man to fix every issue that concerns you, a time will come when he’d start to avoid and treat you shabbily just to make you stop depending on him. But if you handle your own stuff, he’d be forced to have nothing but respect for you. And he knows that without him, you will survive.
Besides, being independent puts your power and self-respect back in your own hands, and helps you gain respect in your relationship.
4. Have Boundaries
Every woman should have their own set of rules and boundaries that they are comfortable with. There are definitely things that you’re not comfortable with and you should not let people cross certain lines.
For example, there are men who demand that their wife hands over her monthly earnings to them. They then decide how it is spent. Most times, the woman gets nothing for her upkeep. As a woman, you shouldn’t let that happen.
I read of a woman who takes every weekend off as her alone time. Her husband hated this idea for a long time but finally had to adjust when he realized his wife wouldn’t give it up for anything else. He started to help more with the chores and kids during weekends. They’ve lived like that for over 15 years and their love, despite suffering a small set back, has blossomed. The man now understands how important his wife’s alone time is, as it has helped their relationship in several ways.
When you know yourself and what you want, you should set rules around your happiness so that no one crashes it.
5. Give What You Want
Farrah Gray said, “a woman treats you how she wants to be treated first. Then she treats you how you treat her”. Same goes for men. You should be able to treat your partner the way you want to be treated. You will not receive love and care or support if you can’t give it. A relationship is sustained by giving and taking, not taking alone. There is nothing wrong in spoiling your man with cash gifts, date nights, gifts, kisses and cuddles.
Love your partner and do everything you can to make life easy for him. It will make him respect you.
6. Talk and Act
One of the major issues that kill trust, love, and respect in a relationship, is saying one thing and doing another. Action speak louder than words, and this is no different in relationships.
If you tell your partner you do not like certain things, and let him know that doing those things will have repercussion follow through with it.
At the same time, if you promise him something, ensure you meet up with that promise. Be the woman who talks and acts. Let him know you’re a woman who stands by her words. This will help you gain respect in your relationship.
7. Do Not Settle
If you’re in a relationship where your partner knows he can get away with anything, then your power and respect will be thrown out the window.
You need to learn to stand up for yourself. If he asks you to quit your job just to massage his ego, don’t settle for that. If he asks you to hand over your entire monthly income, don’t settle for that. If he is a serial cheat, don’t settle for that. If he doesn’t respect you or your family, don’t settle for that. If he talks down on you, don’t settle for that. If you’re running a business together and you know he is cheating you, don’t settle for that.
Be bold enough to walk out from a relationship, marriage, or partnership that doesn’t benefit you. Do not settle.
8. Treat Yourself Right
People will only treat you how you treat yourself, and this applies to your partner. If you treat yourself shabbily, your partner will treat you shabbily.
When I was still in Uni, I had this friend from another department who always carried herself with love. Physically, one wouldn’t classify her as beautiful. But her carriage was beautiful to behold. So many guys wanted to date her. And I didn’t hear anyone insult her for her appearance. I couldn’t understand what she was doing then, until years later.
She was an embodiment of self-love.
What do you think about yourself? What do you say about yourself? How do you carry yourself? What value do you place on yourself?
You could be talking down on yourself repeatedly without knowing you’re doing just that. I know, because I was in that boat once. My former employer called my attention to it 3 times before I finally was able to catch myself and start reworking of what I think/say.
If you treat yourself right, your partner will have no choice but to treat you right and this helps you gain respect in your relationship.