Do Unto Others

You have probably heard the religious/moral teaching; "Do unto others as you would have done unto you" and agree that it is a great way to treat people in life.

However, following this guideline in relationship can cause a lot of issues and here's why:

This saying suggests that others want to be treated in the same way you would like to be treated yourself. However, Gary Chapman highlighted the issue with this when it comes to love and relationships. In his book, The 5 Love Languages, he identifies five different ways people like to give and receive love (Words of affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch), and that our preference may not be the same as our partners.

When we give love to our partner and feel like it is rejected, not noticed or not appreciated, we put a whole story to that may include things like: the other persons intent was to hurt our feelings, they don't love us, or that we are not important to them any more. The same goes for the meaning we put to our partner not expressing their love to us in a way we need it to be expressed.

We also do this when we see our partner struggling. We try to help in the way that we would like to be helped or give them the help we think they need.

This often leads to conflict, with two people left feeling like their partner doesn't listen to them, doesn't understand them, doesn't see them or love them. But, it's all really down to miscommunication.

When we get conscious about the way we like to receive love and communicate that to our partner, and when we ask our partner what they need from us, before stepping in to try to "fix" things our way, we set our relationship up for success and help our partners feel understood, seen, heard and loved.

The Golden Rule, therefore, in relationship is to learn to:

"Do unto others as they would have done to them."


  • Take some time to think about the times when you felt most "loved up".
  • When did you feel most loving towards your partner, a family member or friend?
  • What had happened or what was happening?
  • What sorts of things do people do for you that leave you feeling really cared about and seen by them?
  • What do you love doing for others to show that you care?
  • Write them down and set some time apart to share with your partner about the things on your lists.
  • Offer to do at least one of the things on each others list over the next two weeks.
  • Come back together and share how it was for you.