In 1965, Otis Redding wrote “R – E – S – P – E – C – T” which was a man’s plea for recognition and respect. However, it was Aretha Franklin’s 1967 recording of that song that we best know. She won two Grammys with this a year later. Most all of us who have ever heard the song, simply see those letters in the beginning sentence and the tune comes alive in our heads.
Teenagers talk about how important it is to be shown respect if they are expected to give it. The comedian Rodney Dangerfield developed whole routines around not getting any respect. What is it about this word – this concept that has such a hold on us?
We all, at our very core, desire to be valued, accepted, recognized, and respected. When we don’t feel that we receive deserved respect in relationships, we tend to at least withdraw or perhaps eventually end the relationship. What are the implications of this for our marriages? Think about times that are most strained between you and your partner, times when you want to be as far away from them as possible. My experience would guess that those are times when you are feeling judged, demeaned, devalued – in other words – disrespected. Instead, we most enjoy being around those who listen to our thoughts and value us for who we are. Relationships have the greatest opportunity to develop, blossom, strengthen, and solidify in a climate of mutual respect. With that in mind – I want to encourage you today to find new ways to better communicate respect to your mate. The implications just may surprise you.