A simple sign of respect is influence. If your spouse's opinion doesn't influence your action, you don't respect them.
Yes/No: My spouse has good ideas and influences my thinking.
Why Does This Issue Matter?
Respect is an integral part of a healthy relationship. Without it, a couple cannot create a connection of equals. A simple test for respect is influence. We are influenced by those we respect. When we value someone's mind, ability, character, skills, and talent, we allow them to change us. Yet when will lose respect and feel contempt toward others, we are no longer changed by what the other person thinks or says.
What If You Said Yes?
If your spouse can easily influence you, intentionally allow them to change you where they are strong. Lean into a relationship where both of you are influencing one another. Don't hesitate to empower your spouse to have full authority to lead areas where you are weak. Take complete responsibility in areas where you are strong and your partner is weak. Communicate about everything, but don't be involved in everything. A relationship full of respect that leads to influence allows you to worry about less, enjoy more, and grow together.
What If You Said No?
When influence stops (or never stops), the relationship is in danger. If I can no longer influence you, powerlessness quickly floods the relationship. Rather than respecting one another, one or both parties often feel a sense of contempt. When contempt is present, comparisons quickly follow. As one person is comparing their spouse to other people, the marriage erodes. If your spouse has done something to lose your respect, you likely need professional help to regain it. If you have simply stopped respecting your spouse out of apathy, fixate on their strengths. Remind yourself of why you fell in love. Recount what they do well and praise them for it. Rehearsing the good will increase your respect.
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