If you think about nurturing a child or a dog, most of us understand the basics about what such behaviors ask of us. But when grown men and women complain that their spouses or intimate partners don’t nurture them enough, often their partners say that they don’t know what nurturing behaviors are — or what’s being asked of them. So permit me to inquire: What does it mean to nurture someone you’re in a committed relationship with? What are nurturing behaviors that an adult would want to receive?
A few ways to nurture someone include listening to her when she talks, trying to understand him when he is attempting to articulate his feelings, being his/her sounding board, being supportive and encouraging, and taking a genuine interest in what he or she is interested in. You might acknowledge your partner’s efforts, as well as the time and energy s/he has devoted to work, or child-rearing, or house upkeep, to name a few of the ways he or she contributes to your comfort and well-being. If you do that, your spouse will feel acknowledged, loved and cared about by you, because none of us have really given up our desire to be nurtured.