When you take your marriage vow, you're promising to be with your spouse forever. That might sound basic enough, but when you promise to be with someone till the end of time, don't you want to make sure that person sees you as an equal? The signs your spouse sees you as an equal and always will should be the reasons you got married, right? But between all the other marriage issues couples deal with — like in-laws, children, and taxes — it's easy to need a reminder that your spouse respects you with action, and not just words.
And let me also remind you that the quest for equal rights starts in the home. So in order to have a world where people see each others as equals, it's important to make sure you and your forever person are on the same page. Although millennials are getting married later in life, as noted in The Washington Times, they aspire to share their lives with someone they see as their equal. Maybe that's not what they observed between their parents, which is one of the points the article makes. Therefore, many millennials are choosing to redefine what marriage looks like. Redefining what a traditional marriage looks like might just save the whole darn institution, as sexist archaisms get replaced with, well, equality in the home. But what exactly does that look like? The following are signs your partner sees you as an equal, and always will.
1. They Include You When Making Small Decisions
Psychologist Susan Heitler told Women's Health that your day-to-day dynamic as a couple should reflect an equal balance of power. “It’s an additional skill set that you need to learn,” she said, which makes sense because a relationship is made up of the small things that accumulate over time. If you feel like you and your partner have that skill set down, that's a sign your spouse sees you as an equal.
2. They Respect The Privacy Of The Relationship
Fox News magazine reported that respecting the boundaries of privacy and not airing your partner's dirty laundry in public makes for the ideal spouse. No one likes to feel like their privacy is violated, especially by their spouse.
3. They Support Your Career
Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In, recommended that women should marry a person who is supportive career-wise. Sandberg wrote, "I don’t know of a single woman in a leadership position whose life partner is not fully—and I mean fully—supportive of her career." Because of glass ceilings, it's harder for women (on average) to get ahead in the workplace. In equal measure, to ensure that your spouse will always continue to support your career, you should lead by example in this relationship, and respect his career. If you guys are already doing this, it's nothing but a good sign for the relationship.
4. They Accept You For Who You Are
Finding out who you are can take a lifetime. If you're self-aware and proud, that's the first step in guiding your spouse to respect you as an equal. A study published in Human Resource Management indicated that higher self-awareness can lead others to regard you in a positive light. The same study suggested that there are gender differences in the ways women and men value self-awareness, which doesn't surprise me because there's still a lot of sexism in everyday life.
Once, you know who you are, you can better manage how other people see you. Does your spouse see you for who you actually are? If the answer is yes, and that person is still in a relationship with you, then that's a sign that your spouse sees and accepts you for you. The same aforementioned Fox News magazine article noted that a forever spouse accepts you for the "good and the bad."
5. They Argue Above The Belt
Psychologist Gail Gross wrote a blog post for Huffington Post about the importance of fighting fair in a marriage. Her rules for above-the-belt arguing start with empathy. In other words, you have to see your spouse as an equal in order to argue without venom or make those below the belt jabs. If you're not making personal attacks, keeping score of past wrongs, and keeping the dialogue balanced, Gross noted that you know how to fight fair and your spouse sees you with empathy, and thus, an equal.
6. They Let You Speak
Heitler told Women's Health that a sign that you're in a relationship where your spouse sees you as an equal, is if that person gives you equal speaking time. No one should monopolize the conversation, or talk over you, especially if that person sees you as an equal partner and always will.
7. They Laugh At You, & Vice Versa
Huffington Post reported that couple who can laugh at each other have a good relationship. It's important to note that making fun of someone is not the same as belittling a person, which according to Psychology Today, is just mean. Belittling shows you lack respect, because you're intentionally trying to bring a person down a notch. Your spouse who sees you as an equal would never do this, but rather knows how to make a relationship last forever with good-humored laughter.
8. They Include You In Financial Decisions
Money can be a make or break issue in a marriage. But, Huffington Post noted that couples who feel good about their financial arrangements are ones that reflect equal respect. Because money can come and go, you want to have the money talk on a somewhat regular basis (see number one) as the details of your life chance.
9. They Don't Make Large Decisions Without You
Women's Day noted that a sign your spouse sees you as a forever equal is that he or she always consults you on big decisions. Additionally, the New York Times called a decisive marriage a marriage that lasts. This article noted that marriages where each spouse used decision-making as a way to intentionally define the relationship have a higher success rate than couples who seem to just float through life, and its many changes.
10. They Take On Chores
The Atlantic made headlines with an article pointing to a 2007 Pew Research Poll, that indicated couples who share chores are happier. If your spouse claims to see you as a forever equal, make sure that he or she is washing dishes and doing the laundry just as much as you are. And if your spouse already does this, take that as a sign you are respected.
11. They Make You Orgasms & Vice Versa
You don't have to go tit-for-tat, but just as you should both get equal speaking time, you should also get equal time having orgasms. According to Cosmopolitan's annual sex survey, only 57 percent of women are have orgasms most times during sex with their partner. So, if you're a few of the lucky ones, that's a sign that your spouse believes in equal rights when it comes to the orgasm. And if that isn't a sign that your spouse doesn't see you as an equal, I don't know what is.