Respect in Relationships – My Personal Experience

Today I am going to get personal and share with you my own experience in romance. My first wife was my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, she was the love of my life. We were young when we got married. I was 21 and she was just shy of 18. We grew together. I was her hero and she was my confident. We did not put each other down or choose words to hurt each other but rather respected each other. It was not all roses for we went through many difficult times. But there was a confidence that we had with each other that we would make it through together. Then on July 24, 1982, our great adversary death, took her from me. That is my son John’s birthday, she passed away right after he was born. I died that day too. My heart had just been ripped out of me. My life with my Ruth had ended.

I was now a single parent with three children under the age of three, with a huge whole in my heart. My children were the thing that kept me going. That was the least I could do for Ruth. I can remember going to bed at night, my oldest son, David, on the bed as well, he would ask me where Mom was, and I would have to tell him that she was gone. We’d both cry ourselves to sleep. Even now sharing this with you brings tears to my eyes.

Out of loneliness and a desire to fill that void in my heart, I made mistakes, the biggest being my ex. The only true blessing from my second marriage was the three children she gave me, Andrew, Sophia, and Aaron.

She was my sitter for the kids when I worked. She had been watching my kids for over a year before we ever became involved. The kids over the previous year had seemed to take a liking to her and many times would ask to spend the night there for she also had a daughter. Well we ended up getting married. But unlike my first marriage where we grew together, my second marriage I found myself on the receiving end of a venomous tongue.

I was accused of sleeping around, with her sister, her best friend, her sister-in-law as well as many other woman. I would get the fifth degree if I was 5 minutes late getting home from work. She would call my work to see if I was there. It was continuous day after day. She would say many things to hurt me. The worst part of it was none of it was true. She even got violent, one time she threw a jelly jar at me and hit me square between the eyes, I had to go to the emergency room for stitches. The attacks were not just toward me but the kids as well. I experienced first hand what abuse is all about, both physical and emotional. Finally my three kids and myself got out after she had gotten pregnant by another guy.

She then turned against her own daughter. As each of the kids hit the teenage years the same thing happens. Now this all leads up to and why I shared this with you is, today is my birthday. My 14 year old son always spends the weekends with me. I talked to my ex this morning to find out if Aaron was coming, but before I could say anything, she starts on me about how I needed to talk to Aaron and tell him that he needs to respect his mom and that he has been disrespectful all week and that she was not going to let him come. I tried to tell her that respect is something that one earns and doesn’t demand and then she went off on me and started saying it was my fault, I hung up on her. I have learned that I do not have to allow her to abuse me.

Two points I want to make today, the first is on respect. Respect is part of our domain. It starts by first learning to respect yourself and who we are. Second by showing respect for others. And third we will then gain the respect of others.

The second point I want to make is on the power of words. Words are an expression of who we are. How we use them can make a huge impact on other people. The words we speak are part of our domain. They can be used to lift up or they can be used to tear down. We as self leaders must learn to choose our words wisely and think about the effect they will have on others. I have been on both sides in a relationship and it has taught me much about the power of our words.

I am Tom Palubicki administrator and co-founder of was designed to be a showcase where intelligent and creative individuals can share their works and ideas as well as connect and communicate with other intelligent and creative individuals. []

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