7 Ways You Can Show More Respect At Home

I've got a huge thing with disrespect.

I've made my peace with the personal and professional situations that have made this such a bugaboo for me.  But I must confess that it grinds my gears when I see another soul treated unkindly.  In the workplace, in the political realm, in the church, the schoolyard, wherever.

And how sad that families who claim to love each other deeply can be so incredibly disrespectful of each other in their own homes ... sometimes blatantly, often more subtly, passive aggressively.

I'm in no way giving myself a pass on this one.

For while we might be delightful and sweet as pie to those we rub shoulders outside our four walls, it's just too easy to take out our weariness, discouragements, disappointments, and frustrations on those we love most.  Instead of choosing to speak what's true with love and respect, we're prone to be impatient.  Maybe a bit snarky and snide.  Rude.  Critical.  And sometimes just plain unkind.

This is hardly a compelling invitation to deeper relationship.

'Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered' 
{1 Corinthians 13:4 - 5}.

We all need a safe place to fall, a secure arena where we're fully accepted and appreciated for who we truly are.  In a world gone mad with disrespect, our dwellings should be havens of kindness where all who call those four walls 'home' ... spouses, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends ... find themselves loved, cherished, heard, safe.

And respected. 

So what might this look like?
{I am using the word *him* to avoid the awkward *him/her/they*}

1.  You are fully present.
When you discern that he'd really like to connect, you step away from your screens or your endless to-do list.  You build trust by being still as he speaks, looking straight at him, gently tracking and listening closely not only to his words but the underlying cry of his heart.

2.  You do not butt in.
You refuse to throw your two cents in every time he takes a breath, instead giving him the quiet gift of listening well, giving him full permission to be a verbal processor as he sorts through what's on his heaping plate.

3.  You are non-judgmental.
You are grace-filled and don't minimize or brush off his concerns.  You don't morph into judge and jury at the first opportunity.

4.  You don't lecture.
You don't preach, lob Scripture at him, or toss pat answers his way.  You discern when to offer words of encouragement or direction, and ask permission before going there.

5.  You don't use humor as a weapon.
You don't put him down ... to his face or behind his back.  You refuse to make jokes at his expense or use his idiosyncrasies and frailties as conversation starters with others.

6.  You refrain from sharing details of personal stories with others unless you've been given permission.
This would include the world of social media, prayer requests at Bible Study, and random conversations with friends. 

7.  You set the tone for kindness and respect by quickly owning your slip-ups, asking for forgiveness, and making amends.

What would you add to this list?

P.S. #1  
I'm not talking about domestic abuse in this post.  If you're not sure what domestic abuse is, click here to go to The National Domestic Abuse Hotline.  Their number is 1.800.799.7233.

P.S. #2
Visit Leslie Vernick's exceptional website for wise 'relationship truth unfiltered.'  She also has a site dedicated to training pastors, church leaders, and counselors on issues of abuse right here.  Her books The Emotionally Destructive Relationship and The Emotionally Destructive Marriage are must-haves on the bookshelves of every people helper.