Who does not want to build intimacy in their relationships? Have you ever heard of two people coming together hoping to fail in building a healthy relationship? What is going to cause a friendship or primary relationship to thrive? The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly helps us to understand how to develop more intimacy in our relationships. I would like to share with you what I learned.
Every healthy relationship must have a solid foundation from which to build. Matthew Kelly suggests this foundation must be helping others to become the best possible version of themselves. When your thoughts and words are focused on how to help others become the best version of themselves, you will be working toward a more loving relationship. When you are willing to curtail your personal desires for the benefit of improving another person’s quality and purpose of life by helping them to become their best self, this is the foundation of love. You feel joy when they are thriving and you feel sorrow when they hurt. When we appreciate, respect, and honor another person’s individuality, there is no judging. When you truly love someone, your love sees past their humanness.
Why is it that so many people fail to develop intimate relationships with other people when intimacy is what drives human’s true happiness; we can live without intimacy but we cannot thrive without it. To feel complete and fulfilled we all need intimate relationships. Why do so many relationships fail when intimate relationships are so important to us? The answer is in the planning. People don’t plan to fail in their relationships but they don’t have a well thought out plan to succeed either. Have you ever heard of a business thriving financially without a successful business plan?
Think about how all relationships begin – with small talk. Small talk is necessary chit chat required to begin any new friendship. But how to move a friendship from an acquaintance to an intimate relationship requires number one, a commitment of time, second the sharing of common experiences, and third the willingness to expose yourself in more self-revealing communications; it is a true journey between two people.
To succeed at creating intimate relationships you must make it a priority in your life. We all become to what we give our thoughts and attention. When you focus on your wants – a bigger house, a more expensive car, a luxury vacation, a better career, more fashionable clothing, your relationships may suffer. That is not to say you should forgo working toward fulfilling your wants, but it is important to stay focused on what it is that is your priority in your life. If building intimate relationships is not a priority in your life, you will never experience the joy of being involved in extraordinary relationships.
So what will drive the development of more intimate, richer, fulfilling relationships? Your plan must be focused around meaningful exchanges of communication. Many styles of communicating do not even merit being called communication. They are monotonous, boring, and reveal little about the other person. Creating intimate relationships will require the willingness to expose ourselves completely to another person. We will never be able to overcome our feelings of loneliness if we are not able to share our fears, insecurities, hopes, and dreams with another person. We must allow ourselves to remove our mask if we are going to truly share our “self” with other people.
Knowing how to develop emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy with another person is at the heart of building extraordinary relationships. Physical intimacy is limited – whereas emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy are limitless in their ability to fulfill us. But revealing ourselves is difficult for most of us. We are afraid that if people know our fears and insecurities they will not love us for who we are.
To develop emotional intimacy we must be able to communicate not only our fears and insecurities, but also our feelings, hopes and dreams. Developing emotional intimacy requires us to open our hearts and reveal our core self.
To develop intellectual intimacy with another person requires an open mind, good listening skills, and the ability to look beyond the idea to discover what caused the person to develop such a belief. Your goal should be not to only discover what the person thinks but why they think as they do. Intellectual intimacy is knowing what drives, inspires, and motivates a person.
Spiritual intimacy is at the heart of meeting another person’s needs and helping them to become the best version of themselves.
We all have needs to love and be loved, to express our opinion, to be listened to, respected, to share our feelings, and to be accepted. When we choose to build our relationships on a foundation of satisfying needs and helping each other become the best version of ourselves, our relationships will become more purposeful, meaningful, and joyful.
Intimate relationships are at the heart of every meaningful human existence. But to experience healthy relationships in your life, you will not only have to invest time into making new acquaintances, but also investing even more time and effort into developing your acquaintances into meaningful, intimate relationships. Extraordinary, intimate relationships can only be developed with the willingness to expose your inner self to others in heartfelt conversations as well as an investment of time to help lift people up to become the best version of themselves. Your goal must be to build emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy with others.
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