Part of that is each person in the relationship knowing his or her own essential purpose. So I was listing my priorities and how I spend my time: Writing, farming, home maintenance, dogs, art, husband (not necessarily in that order). Then I puzzled over the list, trying to figure out what they all had in common. Finally, I saw the link. Everything I do involves taking care of someone or something. It makes me happy. Really, really happy. Like, deeply and profoundly happy. Some bits, the art bits, are even about taking care of myself.
I realized that my essential purpose is to take care of things, people and places. Even writing is for me about taking care of people. I write stories about people taking care of things, worlds, people. I also love the idea of someone lying down with one of my stories and getting up feeling rested and recharged in their own essential purpose, whatever that is. I can't be there to provide that in person, but maybe one of my stories can do it.
It informs my politics. I want my neighbors' taxes to be spent on things that benefit my neighbors--roads, emergency services, health-care etc. Which is why I get frustrated with people who make a loud noise about being Christians (Christianity being all about taking care of your neighbors) then turning on their neighbors with hatred and malice.
The next step in this whole intimacy project is the sharing of hopes and dreams with the object of my primary relationship, otherwise known as Doug. I am truly, really very bad at this part of the intimacy thing. I am not much with the talking in general. Listening, listening I do very well with the nodding and asking the encouraging, open-ended questions. This has the unfortunate side effect that people around me get used to being the talkers in the relationship, so when I do have something to say, I get interrupted a lot. So this discussion with my husband may have to be conducted with duct-tape over his mouth.
But if duct-tape is necessary to nurture a healthy, living relationship, so be it.