Teach People How to Treat You

” Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.” ~ Henri Nouwen

One of the most valuable actions we can take in our relationships is to show our partner or friend what makes us feel loved and valued. Everyone registers these feelings in different ways. In our intimate relationships, we are responsible to teach our loved ones what gives us this experience.How can someone know how love and connection registers inside of you?

One person might experience feeling loved through consistent physical touch. While someone else feels valued when their friend makes time out of their busy life to meet for coffee. One partner might feel deep intimacy through raw, passionate sex, while their partner bonds with them through a sacred massage.

What gives you an experience of love and connection?

Do you communicate that in your relationships?

Shortly after my husband Doug and I got together, we developed a special nightly ritual that to this day grounds me into feeling cared for and loved.

You see, I’ve always been a sleeper. My mom tells me that at an early age, she would look for me in the early evening and find me in my bed already asleep. As I grew up, my high school friends would sing me that Party Pooper song when I fell asleep at 10 pm during a rowdy slumber party. Yep, I’m a sleeper! And after all the teasing about it, I’ve luckily outgrown feeling ashamed.

So back to the evening ritual with Doug. I turn in about 9:30 each night and get up with the sun. This is my rhythm and I love it. Doug however, relishes his alone time in the evenings…finally space for him. Our rhythms work well together.

One ritual that continues to connect us in an easy and profound way is that he lays down with me at night to put me to sleep. When I was a child, I don’t remember being put to bed by a parent. Maybe that was about me and maybe that was about them, I’m not sure.

What I do know now is that as Doug spoons his arms around me, as I drift off to sleep, I feel loved. After a busy day, his tender presence meets my heart, and that little girl inside of me registers connection. This big girl loves it too. I feel valued in a really nourishing way.

This intimate ritual doesn’t take long. And, lucky for Doug, I fall asleep in about 2 minutes. And then he is off to his much cherished evening time alone.

It is my experience that what most everyone longs for is love and connection. And, often we don’t take the time to really communicate about how we register that experience inside of us.

What are the little moments that spark you feeling valued and cared about?

What rituals might you create in your primary relationship that bring you into deeper intimate connection?

How might you communicate to a close friend what it is that you want to deepen the relationship?

A great guideline to remember is: We teach people how to treat us.

Why Not Make it Happen?

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