R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Let’s find out what it means to…a healthy marriage! The role of respect in marriage is a keystone in a healthy relationship between husband and wife. Respect in a marriage (or any relationship) aids in building trust, confidence, and wellbeing. To better understand the role of respect in marriage, you must also understand what constitutes or creates respect. Why is respect in marriage important? Let’s focus on four ideas that are required for observing the importance of respect in marriage: mutuality, reciprocity, accommodation, and acceptance.
First off, what is mutuality? It has the word ‘mutual’ in it, therefore it must include more than one’s self, right? Absolutely! Mutuality can be described as having shared feelings, emotions, reactions, et cetera between two or more people (in the case of marriage, two people). In a relationship, mutuality can be thought of as a team – two people working together towards a common goal or idea. What is required for that, though? Communication, collaboration, and cooperation. Utilizing mutuality means understanding that things actions made will affect the other person and vice versa. Mutuality also means knowing that each person in the relationship has needs and that these needs being met is important for a successful marriage and avoiding burnout. Communication is required for needs to be addressed utilizing collaboration and cooperation (teamwork makes the dream work!).
Reciprocity is closely related to mutuality. When thinking about reciprocity, think of things in marriage being a two-way street. There is give and take; both must give at times, and others must receive at others. In a marriage, reciprocity can be defined as the exchange of care, understanding, and support for one another. Husband and wife are both equal and no one has superiority over the other. If there is lack of support, this can lead to resentment and exhaustion.
What does it mean to be accommodating in a marriage? Definition: to be adapting to differences. These differences in a relationship could include: views, beliefs, values, and morals. Marriage requires that each spouse learn how to support the other despite these differences. Accommodation includes observing strengths and implementing them in challenges. Being accommodating also considers setting and respecting boundaries. Accommodation allows the room for each person in the marriage to allow freedom for the other. Respecting boundaries, individualism, and strengths are all ways to show respect to your partner and work towards maintaining a healthy relationship.
God has created everyone in His image, yet he created everyone as their own person. In other words, we all have our own quirks, strengths and weaknesses, feelings, and worldviews of the world around us. One challenge seen too often in relationships is that there one party always “wishes” something about the other were different. Observe the traditional wedding vows:
“In the name of God, I, _____, take you, _____, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until parted by death.”
These vows are accepting your person for who they are and promising to love them regardless of flaws. Honoring these vows shows respect for your spouse.
How can I Show Respect in my Marriage?
- Accept that no one is perfect. Allow grace for one another.
- Listen to your partner and consider their concerns, desires, and needs.
- When addressing a concern, avoid criticism.
- Your spouse confides in you, do not breach confidentiality. This can break trust.
- Use kind words and support your partner when they are struggling.
- Own your mistakes. You do not always have to be right.
- Pray for one another.
- Tell your partner you love and appreciate them.
What Does the Bible Say about Respect in Marriage?
There are a few Bible verses that state what God expects in terms of respecting one another in Holy matrimony. Romans 10:12 echoes the idea of reciprocity and acceptance: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” God wants us to love our spouses, and at the same time view them as “our person” accepting them for who they are and putting them first. That’s pretty important. 1 Peter 3:7 states, “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” Although God views the husband with his specific duties and the wife has hers, both are to work together for the betterment of their marriage and their family. Mutuality, reciprocity, accommodation, and acceptance are all key elements in what God expects in marriage. Therefore, we should honor these standards. Can you imagine how different it would be if everyone considered these in their relationship? What a difference!
Why is Respect in Marriage Important?
Respect is a cornerstone in any relationship, but revered even more so in marriage. Respect establishes well-being, trust, compassion, and boundaries within a relationship. Lack of respect can lead to resentment, anger, and other negative feelings that are not of God. To respect our partners, we must do the opposite: understand that what is good in marriage is for both husband and wife, that there has to be give and take, we should be accepting of each other, and supportive of each other. These principles are the elements that make up respect and are necessary to have a healthy marriage.
We invite you to watch the Great News video on this page to find out more about God’s love for you. Experience the forgiveness God through Jesus Christ today. Now is the time.