My youngest son C does the same thing every morning when he wakes up. He raises his little head that is nestled against his mom, turns his face towards her, and cracks a big smile. Erin (my wife), on cue, looks into his eyes and with wonder and enthusiasm says, “Good morning buddy.”
What We All Want…
This moment is one of pure delight and joy between C and Erin. It is unabashed, unqualified, untainted. In this moment they both know that the other revels in who they are. Honestly, this is one of our fundamental needs as human beings. We want to look in the face of another person and see them delight in who we are.
No judgement, no measuring stick, no image to live up to or keep up. Just simple delight that we are alive, present, and in one another’s lives. Most people get this moment between a parent and kid. It makes sense, it’s in commercials, it is expected.
Adults Don’t Want To Be Treated Differently
For some reason we think the desire to be delighted in goes away when we become adults. It’s like there is a magic line that gets crossed and we think adults have to and want to be treated differently. Nope.
Every adult wants to wake up, look over at their partner, and see delight in their partner’s eyes. Parenting partners, your partner wants to feel like you revel in their mere existence. Without caveat, without criticism, without resentment, without judgment.
Free From Fear
As human beings when we feel that we matter and are special it frees us to engage life and relationships without fear. Life is stressful. Work is hard. Parenting is overwhelming and tiring. All of these things can make us afraid. Afraid that we will fail, afraid that we are doing it wrong, afraid that we are alone, afraid that we don’t know what we are doing. The remedy for this is not criticism, anxiety, blaming, overextending, avoiding, numbing, withdrawing etc.
Treat Your Partner Like Your Kid
If we want to make it through the rigors of life, parenting, and being in a couple relationship; the remedy is delight. Delight in your partner, delight in your kids, delight in yourself. See the wonder of your partner as they wrestle with life, just as you would see the wonder of your kid as they struggle to learn to crawl, stand, and walk. Laugh at your mistakes, smile at your insecurities, and revel as you grow into the parenting partner you want to be. It’s how you would treat a child and it’s how you should treat any human being.