by Maggie Barton, CSW

Hi folks! Last month Alan talked about nurturing your primary relationship. So this month I have compiled a nurturing checklist, some of which is excerpted from "The Couple’s Comfort Book" by Jennifer Louden. The aim of this checklist is to assist you to recognize areas where you may need improvement. Hopefully this will help you to be more conscious of your strengths and weaknesses both as an individual and as a couple. If you want, you can rate yourself and also talk about this with your partner. If you don’t have a partner, you can use this to become more aware of yourself.

INSTRUCTIONS: Read and rate each question. If the question doesn’t apply, skip it.

Rating Numbers: 1=never, 2=occasionally, 3=most of the time, 4=always

Partner 1 Partner 2

_______ _______ How often do you relax with your partner?

_______ _______ How often do you show your partner you care?

_______ _______ How often do you experience a moment of conscious connection?

_______ _______ When is your relationship your first priority?

_______ _______ How often do you spend time alone with your partner?

_______ _______ How often do you give your partner alone time?

_______ _______ Can you say no to your partner without feeling guilty?

_______ _______ Can you see things from your partner’s side, even when you disagree?

_______ _______ Do you help when your partner is overwhelmed or anxious?

_______ _______ Can you appreciate the rhythms of your relationship, the ups and downs, the changes, without getting upset?

_______ _______ Do you consider your partner your equal?

_______ _______ Do you use pet names or other endearments?

_______ _______ How often do you show physical affection (holding hands, hugs, backrubs, and so forth) that isn’t sexual foreplay?

_______ _______ How often do you remember to care for yourself and your own needs?

_______ _______ Can you welcome your differences of opinion?

_______ _______ How often do you praise your partner’s achievements?

_______ _______ How often do you ridicule your partner’s failures & shortcomings?

_______ _______ Do you accept your partner’s weak points?

_______ _______ How often do you nurture your support team: friends, family, community?

_______ _______ How often do you indulge your sensuous side?

_______ _______ How often do you play together, get silly, have fun?

_______ _______ How often do you try totally new experiences?

_______ _______ How often do you do things that your partner enjoys but you don’t?

_______ _______ How often do you watch sporting events or soap operas on TV when it’s a beautiful day outside and you could be doing something fun with your partner?

_______ _______ How often do work-oriented thoughts come into your mind when you are making love?

_______ _______ How often do you nurture your spiritual selves?

_______ _______ How often do you let go and totally trust each other?

_______ _______ How often do you take a "prudent risk" in your professional or personal life?

_______ _______ Can you forgive your partner when he or she hurts you?

I recommend that you discuss with your partner the areas where your answers differ widely - obviously, a reality check is in order. Can you deduce anything from your discrepancies? Perhaps you should consider strategies to upgrade your "never’s" and "occasionally’s". You singles should evaluate your potential to be a good partner and work on any weak spots, so that you will be more well-rounded when the "right" person comes along.

Maggie Barton is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Waynesville, NC. You can reach her at 828-452-9609.


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