Love and Respect

How to provide and receive Love and respect in a relationship

The Challenge:

Why he does not love and why she does not respect?

Two very important challenges of any relationship can be summarised in the following:
1. The Love she desperately desires.

2. The Respect he desperately needs.

Love and Respect is an important aspect of a relationship, married or not, and one of the fundamental pillars. The common problem I have come across in counselling couples is that couples struggle to find a balance in loving and respecting one another. By not finding this balance of having a loving and respectful relationship, the wife feels not loved by her husband, and the husband does not feel respected by his wife. This results in a power struggle where husband and wife fight against each other trying to attain what they so desperately want.

In this article I want to focus on the challenges that couples face in regards to this topic of Love and Respect.

The first challenge we face in regards to love and respect is that we base it on condition.

I will respect him after he loves me, and I will love her after she respects me. By doing this we go into a relentless cycle of chasing one another. This relationship then is based on a give and take. This results in couples acting out in bad behaviours when not receiving respect or love.

So when a husband feels disrespected he naturally acts in an unloving way towards his wife. (Perhaps loving your wife is of utter importance in these times!) When a wife feels unloved by her husband she naturally acts in a non respectful way towards her husband. (Perhaps respecting your husband is of utter importance in these times!)

So here we face the first challenge that we think love and Respect is conditional, rather than unconditional.

The second challenge we face in regards to love and respect is that we believe respect is earned.

We are taught that respect is earned and I agree, it is earned. But I am trying to get to the root of marital problems and this is one of them. When we look at love and respect in a relationship we conclude that the primary need for her is to be loved and for him to be respected. Couples believe respect ought to be earned but I beg to differ. The wife feels her husband doesn’t deserve respect. Now the husband needs or wants to earn respect. She says things like “He doesn’t deserve respect; he hurts me”…. “How can I show respect if he doesn’t come across as loving me?”… “If he ought to love me as he should, maybe I would have stronger feelings to respect him.” This is in the same way true if the wife does not respect her husband, he does not have to love her, but the husband ought to love his wife unconditionally, it does not matter how he feels or how she acts. Respect on the other hand also needs to be unconditional rather than conditional, in the same way our love is unconditional.

Alot of woman do not sit well with this thought of respect being unconditional. But I tell you if this is done right in a relationship, it flips everything around.

Couples find themselves fighting for what they want or for what they feel they ought to have and it becomes a cycle of you give, I give relationship.

This is called the crazy cycle by Dr Emerson Eggerichs

Love and Respect

Maybe you find yourself in this cycle where you and your spouse try to please each other, try to win respect or try to love a bit more….

I can show you a better way to deal with this challenge. There is a way out; maybe more difficult and more humbling, but worth trying.

I will explain more on this topic in Love and Respect Part two.

Author: Gerrie Pretorius


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Gerrie Pretorius

Professional Counselor at Life Counsel
I am passionate about counselling and helping people through the obstacles they may face on their journey in life.

I specialise in trauma counselling and also help couples through marriage and pre-marital counselling.
Gerrie Pretorius
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