• SeowHui

Respecting Spouse as Lifelong Promise

Updated: Jan 11

Marriage is not a noun, it's a verb. It isn't something you get, it's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day.

A successful marriage is a tango between two individuals who might be of completely different family background and upbringing, but are madly in love, inseparable and willing to commit their souls, love and effort into forever developing their relationship. Does this sound way too complicated than what you have imagined? Well, it’s not that intimidating after all, if you’ve first learned the ultimate rule: RESPECTING YOUR SPOUSE.

1. Be Honest and Faithful

“Advice: In a relationship, don’t try to be perfect. Just be honest.”

Honesty is the golden rule of keeping a loving marriage. When we're married, we're not meant to handle life alone. Be honest, be real and transparent because all we wanted is a true relationship with no hidden lies. Do not let lies to overtake our sincerity in marriage for they are main culprits of painful marriages. How can we be a team if we are not on the same page? Being honest means we are ready for open communication without our masks on. This is the only way to embrace each other comfortably, link arms and live life as one. If you're going to spend life with this person, do respect him/her by being honest and faithful.

2. You’re both equal.

“Never laugh at your wife’s choices, you are one of them; Never be proud of your choices, your wife is one of them.”

In a relationship, no one is superior to the other. To complete a marriage, both of you must have sacrificed part of your initial-self. A man might have given up his freedom, while a woman could have surrendered her career advancement. Let’s face the fact that we can’t gauge which sacrifice is greater than the rest, because life isn’t a weighing scale. It’s wise to accept that you’re both equal. Do not underestimate your partner, be it his/her sacrifice, talent, capability or even commitment towards the family. His/her contribution to the family carries weight like yours too.

3. Support his/her dream.

“It's nice to have married someone with a dream. At least you know the someone you married to, is a living soul.”

Being married doesn’t mean your partner’s dream should be an unachievable distance. When your partner lives a dreamless and aimless life, imagine how dull the life is and how demotivated your partner is. There’s no more aim to work at, other than committing 100% towards the family. That shouldn’t be the way. If it’s happening, something unhealthy is hidden somewhere without you knowing. Respect your partner’s dream. Don’t belittle it. Encourage your partner to move forward and accomplish the dream. Life’s too short to regret. Leave none. He/She will be grateful that it’s you who walk through this path together.

4. Some ME time, some YOU time.

“It's nice to have married someone with a dream. At least you know the someone you married to, is a living soul.”

When we decided to marry each other, we’re not trading our whole self in exchange for a married life. Sometimes, we just want to be alone. It’s the time we wish to spend with no one else, probably just to read our favourite book, to ponder about our recent life, or to reflect on what we have been working on. We wish for uninterrupted time. We just don’t want anyone to knock on that door. That’s absolutely normal because our partner could be hoping to do the same too. Respect our partner as much as we’d want ourselves to be respected. Don’t interrupt. As soon as he/she needs our involvement again, we will somehow know it.

5. Honour a promise.

"I can’t promise to fix all your problems, but I can promise you won’t have to face them alone."

Trust is one of the major foundations of a good marriage. Unfortunately, it is difficult to build but too easily shattered. When we make a promise to our partner, it's important to keep our words because we simply don't want to disappoint our partner. Breaking a promise is disrespectful to the trust someone has on us. It hurts our marriage. After all, we do not want our partner to label us as "simply don't care". When we're not keeping our words, our partner may feel unloved and unimportant. He/She may even wonder if he or she isn't worth the effort. Deliver our promise and keep our words. This is how we respect our partner's trust and his/her feelings.

6. Discuss before Decide

"Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation."

Marriage is a teamwork and there is absolutely no single hero. It's ironic to state that many married couples think that they've had understood their partner too well that they spend less time trying to understand their other half. Mind you, this is the early sign of communication breakdown. "I know exactly what she wants, so why all the hassle of discussing? Eventually, I know that's what she'd want." People think and react distinctively in different scenario. She might have always ordered steak for dinner but perhaps, she just want a salad today. It is important to not make unnecessary assumptions or to put our thought into our partner's way. In a sustained and fulfilling marriage, we talk, we communicate. It's a way of showing how much we care for his/her opinion and respect them for it.

7. Be accepting

"Happiness can exist only in acceptance."

No one is perfect. Think about the beginning of our relationship with our spouse, everything was beautiful and we may love everything about him/her. That's not acceptance. Accepting others is something that we learn to do over time. He might be snoring all night long interrupting her sleep, she might be forgetful and always misplaces things -- all these didn't happen because they got married. Rather it is something newly discovered after getting married when they spend every day together. People don't change. They are who they are. It is our view of them which changes. When we're able to accept the flaws of our partner (again, no one is perfect), respect them for who they are, it's the maturity in a relationship we develop.


Respecting our spouse requires our love and commitment. It's the only way to a happy and meaningful marriage. A marriage is like a park, flowers bloom when we care.

Read more about Marriage and Divorce Statistics, Malaysia, 2019 here.

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