What we give and receive in an intimate relationship exactly matches both our earliest needs and our adult spiritual practice: the five A's: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing us to be ourselves and make our own choices. We give to the other and receive from them the very same love we instinctively required in childhood. The difference is that now we see it as an enriching gift, desired instead of required. It helps us increase our self-esteem now, just as it was necessary for establishing a self-concept in early life.
How exactly do we give and receive? The first way is a simple/difficult technique: Ask for what you want and listen to your partner. Asking for what you want combines the most crucial elements of intimacy. It gives the other the gift of knowing you, your needs, and your vulnerability. It also means receiving the other's free response. Both are risky and therefore both make you more mature. You learn to let go of your insistence on a "yes", and to be vulnerable to a "no", and to accept a "no" without feeling the need to punish.
To listen intimately to a partner asking for what they want is to pick up on the feeling and the need beneath the request. It is to appreciate where the request came from. It is to feel compassion for any pain that may lurk in the request. It is to give the other credit for risking rejection or misunderstanding. We hear with our ears; we listen with our intuition and our heart. Giving and receiving entail the ability to accommodate the full spectrum of a partner's fears and foibles and to distinguish between the needs we can and cannot expect to see fulfilled.
We give and receive by granting equality, freedom from hierarchy, to our partner and ourselves. Only the healthy ego, and not another person, is meant to preside over your life. In true intimacy, partners have and equal voice in the decision making.
--Excerpt from CCEC fundraising workshop by David Richo, PhD.
For more visit: www.davericho.com