Respect Your Partner




by Sally R. Connolly, LMFT and John E. Turner, LMFT

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Sandy and Jim were both proud of their witty, sarcastic sense of humor. It was one of the things that attracted them to each other. When discussing every-day happenings, world events or work experiences, it helped them feel connected and they admired the other’s intelligence and wit. When the humor took on a personal nature, however, it was not so funny. When it was used in an argument, it was very hurtful and eroded feelings of love and good will. Over time, it became harder and harder for Sandy and Jim to recover those feelings of love, appreciation, admiration and respect.

Being disrespectful, treating your partner, either verbally or non-verbally, as if they were stupid, incompetent or unworthy of being taken seriously, will damage and destroy a relationship quickly. In order to be heard or make a point in a disagreement, talking respectfully, remembering that the health of the relationship is more important than winning, will hold a relationship together. Being respectful does not imply agreement, rather it states “you are important … and our relationship is important.”

Sandy and Jim were able to recognize the problems with the sarcasm as they softly shared feelings about how they felt during the arguments. They were able to talk about their love for each other and apologize for the hurt that their statements had caused. Over time, and with lots of practice, they were able to take responsibility for what they said and change the habit of sarcasm when talking about each other or having a disagreement.


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