The nurture jar

Using cut-up pieces of special paper (e.g., hand-made paper, fine stationary, or a color copy of an “old” love letter), each person writes down about 15 things that would make that person feel really nurtured.  Different colored paper can be used to help distinguish which items belong to whom.  The time each nurture task takes can vary, but a good guideline is somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes.  These 30 or so items are placed in a cookie jar and usually placed in the kitchen or bedroom.  When things get hectic or one person simply really needs it, s/he can call “The Nurture Jar!” or use some other signal.  The signals vary from a long puppy dog look, a playful whimper, a long blank stare, being a little too quick tempered, or the more popular no signal because the person doesn’t even realize how much they need it.  The other person willingly goes to the jar and picks out a nurture request of his or her mate and does it as soon as possible.  For this ritual to work, it’s best not to stretch the rules by making requests at near impossible times (physically or emotionally).



  • Time (doing errands/tasks for your mate)
  • Space (creating a space, usually of silence/repose)
  • Physical touch (massage, hug, caress, brushing hair, back scratching)
  • Food (tea, coffee, sandwich, soda,
  • Listening (the other provides their full attention, without problem-solving, consoling, or other actions that tend to cut off connection; instead, heart open, and words, sparingly, reflect the emotion, validate what is happening, or reframe the content to something position when phrased in the negative). 


Principal Purposes Served

  • Create stable touchstones
  • Foster trust
  • Manage conflict
  • Provide regular opportunities for play
  • Help to accomplish tasks
  • Emotional money in the bank
  • Foster nurturing, affectionate, loving contact
  • Fulfill needs for predictability and novelty