But there is more to developing vocational intimacy than just choosing to work on stuff together. There are three key components to maximizing vocational intimacy. The first is to recognize each other’s unique giftedness and invite your partner into the arenas of his or her strengths. Secondly, it is crucial to offer words of encouragement to your partner. The effect of encouragement is to infuse courage into your partner to face the challenges of the task. And finally, it is crucial to celebrate together your successes as a couple.
It is crucial that you understand whether this type of intimacy is very important to your partner (and to yourself) or not so very important. My wife is somewhat of an introvert. She enjoys gardening, cooking, or doing other household tasks by herself as she experiences those times as relaxing and a respite from the demands of people. I basically hate all those tasks, but if I can do them with her, I enjoy the process much more. So my need for vocational intimacy is much greater than hers. She has learned to do some of those tasks with me, not because she needs to do it that way, but because it is so meaningful to me.
OK. So let’s look at practical ways you can build vocational intimacy.
Routine chores and tasks.
– Have a discussion with your partner about the routine chores that each of you do and whether that person would prefer to do that task as a twosome. Simple tasks like folding laundry and cooking can also be great time to talk and catch up on each other’s days.
Home improvement projects.
– There’s a hidden gem awaiting you in this area. You not only can have the positive experience of planning and executing an important project together, but you also create a space that speaks of you as a couple. This becomes our nest that we have imagined would be perfect for us and now we get to enjoy it together. Your home becomes your sanctuary, designed by the two of you as your respite from the rat race of the world.
Support your partner in his or her work.
– It is so easy to let this part of your relationship slide into oblivion as your partner’s work world gets more complicated and his or her expertise becomes more removed from what you understand. But do not underestimate the importance of your interest in and support for your partner’s career. Just by asking simple questions about the challenges that your partner faces and offering support for meeting those challenges you help lighten the load that your partner carries. Your partner will feel that you are invested in this world to which he or she sacrifices so much of the week. You can even ask if there is a way you might help. There just might be.
Volunteer in the community.
– One of the greatest ways of developing vocational intimacy in a relationship is to do volunteer work together. You and your spouse might join together in your child’s PTA, scout troop, or athletic team.