There’s a special bond that a parent feels when they tend to the physical needs of their child.
For example, I love it when my 4-year-olds (yes, that was oldS, plural; remember, I have triplets) come to me and say, “Daddy, could you button my shirt?”
I feel a special connection with my daughter when she lets me fix her hair into pick tails.
I’m purposely not sharing examples from my marriage because they’re too personal, but the point is that when we take care of someone physically, it creates closeness.
It’s particularly special when one spouse cares for another because, unlike the parent child dynamic, it’s NOT necessary. In other words, your spouse can shave themselves. They don’t NEED you to be shaven. And that’s exactly why it’s an intimate experience… because the act is not practical. The only reason you’re taking the time to shave your spouse is to make a connection… to be intimate.
Shaving your spouse’s legs or their beard is just one example. Here are some other possibilities:
• button their shirt
• cut their toe nails
• feed them dessert
• help them on with their coat
• brush their hair
• tie their shoes
• brush the lint off their shoulders
• take their shoes off at the end of the day
Pick one of the above ways to care for your spouse this week, or come up with one of your own ideas. Whatever you choose, do it gently. As you probably know with your children, you can just get the job done, or you can do it with love. Since your spouse doesn’t need you to do whatever you pick, do it with love.
That’s the point of this week’s assignment.
You’ll be amazed at how much love can go into buttoning someone’s shirt, for example. Do it slow. As you go from button to button, rub the back of your hands against your spouse’s chest. If you see a hanging thread, bite it off gently with your teeth. Do you get the idea? Enjoy the assignment.
Mort Fertel is a world authority on the psychology of relationships and has an international reputation for saving marriages.