Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
--Rainer Maria Rilke
Mature love is a powerful and wonderful thing that has to be learned in adulthood. Children are certainly capable of loving and receiving love, but they are not yet fully formed as individuals. Adult intimacy is like a bridge spanning the space between two people. When our intimate partner confides in us and becomes vulnerable, our task is to make that moment safe. And when we become vulnerable, we have a right to the same safety - which means no disrespect and no demeaning or abusive behavior. When someone puts trust in us, it is our duty to honor it.
Some of us grew up in families where love was paired with abuse and disrespect. The very people who loved us sometimes deliberately hurt us. As adults we may find ourselves being more decent and polite to strangers than to our loved ones. This becomes our adult challenge: to act respectfully to our loved ones and protect and honor the trust they have placed in us.