Are you always in a rush to get home so your husband won’t be mad? Do you ever find yourself uncomfortable to ask for the remote so you can watch your preferred channel? Are you the kind whose friends shun your home when your partner is there? Does your heart skip when their car hoots?
Or are you the one who will strike a deal with your partner when it comes to watching your favourite channels, you will communicate your whereabouts and inform them if you will return late or listen when they are mad and wait to speak your mind when they cool down? What is your relationship like? Is that fear for your partner that you are confusing for respect?
Fear and respect can easily be confused in relationships, especially in cases where the age gap is big.
Fear is an emotion prompted by a threat like hurting. Respect on the other hand is admiration of someone for their qualities, values and achievements are. It is the foundation upon which any kind of human bond must be centered.
According to Evelyn Lufafa, a marriage counsellor at Ssuubi Medical Centre in Kira, “Relationships have dynamics. The respect or fear for a partner will always depend on how the two of you met and for what reasons. For instance, if you met this man because you wanted to succumb to your parents’ pressure to get married, you may fear him, especially if he is older.”
She adds that if someone just found you a partner, you may not have had enough time to learn who this person is and because you are not used to this person or do not know them, you will fear him or her instead of respecting them.
“Respect is the most important ingredient in any relationship. When there is respect in a marriage, the integrity of marriage remains intact and you are likely to stay longer together longer than when there is fear,” says Lufafa.
Dating, as far as the African traditions are concerned, expects women to be submissive and respectful to their husbands. The recent trend, however, shows that respect has been confused by fear.
Respect for a man is often only present where the man is older.
In cases where the couple is in the same age bracket, the two are bound to reach a compromise and it is easier to respect you back, although there is also a possibility that the two may fail to respect each other, especially if the man is violent. When the woman is older, the man usually will be forced to respect or rather fear her because of her age.
Irene Kibalama, a divorced woman, says, “I always had to rush into the bedroom whenever my ex-husband returned home. He had stopped me from working and all I could do was stay home and sleep. When my friends came home, we would change topics or TV channels whenever he returns and I had to obey whatever he said.”
Fearing your partner can easily rub onto your friends if they only visit your home while he is away or if you have to send them away when he returns home.
“Respect, on the other hand, means you value this person and appreciate them, but have to set boundaries on your own. When you are not free with someone because you think he or she may hurt you when you do something wrong, it is fear,” Lufafa adds.
It is important to note that, “Most men who beat up their wives do it out of inferiority complex. They want to show they are the bosses at home so they use brutality and rudeness to command respect because they have a very low self-esteem,” Lufafa explains.
You cannot instigate respect through coercion, brutality and rudeness. You will instead earn fear. Respect in marriage comes as a natural feeling for what you admire about the other partner.
How to earn respect
Whenever you fear your partner, you can never open up to them. Your communication will be from one direction and then you will be giving or receiving orders.
“Try as much as possible to break the tension between you. Play together at least once in a while, make jokes so you can laugh together.
This will increase your level of communication and you will feel free with your partner.”
Richard Kabagambe, a business man, says, “If you want to be respected, respect that person and yourself. Then they will value and respect you back. I listen to my wife and we share all our worries and happy times. We respect ourselves and so do our children.”
Do not hide anything from your partner and when you make mistakes, leave the past in the past.
“When a man respects you, he can understand that there are no chores made for women alone. He can always help with children or in the kitchen.
There is mutual understanding between you two and you can never think of walking out such a relationship,” Lufafa remarks.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor