An old adage or moral code says, “It’s better (or more blessed) to give than to receive.” Clearly, giving from the heart without strings attached--an expectation of reciprocity--is a virtue. However, without somebody who is receptive, the giver is deprived of the joy of giving.
Many, if not most of us, have been taught that the desire to receive or get can be regarded as selfish, self-centered, or even characteristic of narcissism.
If you’re capable of giving freely and graciously, why not balance that at least somewhat by willingly, happily receiving?! Actually, doing so requires a solid measure of self-esteem--a gut sense that you deserve niceties.
Here’s a quick, simple assessment of your willingness to receive from your partner in different ways. For each item, rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 5, in which “5” indicates definite ease in receiving and “1” represents strong resistance to or considerable difficulty accepting that type of giving.
Acts of service
Compliments and affirmations
Emotional support, e.g. deep listening and empathy
Quality touch and sensual pleasure, including massage
I’d suggest practicing breathing in to receive, then exhaling to let the gift saturate your body.
Try this: graciously acknowledge your mate’s efforts to please or delight you in those areas in which you scored a 3 or lower. Ask for the support you need to balance giving and receiving so you can live more harmoniously.
Add up your scores. If your total is less than 20, especially if it's 15 or less, I’d recommend seeking counseling or coaching to enhance your sense of worth and your ability to receive from your beloved and from others.
May you be blessed for offering your beloved the gift of joyful receiving!
Your Relationship Coach,
Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.