Intimacy is essential for us to thrive. It is being able to share all parts of yourself, both the strengths and the flaws, both the successes and the failure. It is sharing our story with people. Intimacy is being fully known, and fully accepted. Our culture thinks that intimacy is sex, but it is really much more than that. There are four kinds of intimacy. Physical intimacy is touch, not just sex. Emotional intimacy is knowing how we are experiencing events and sharing that with others. Intellectual intimacy is knowing how someone thinks, understanding their philosophy of life; it does not require both people having the same view. Spiritual intimacy is knowing that the other person desires us to be the-best-version-of-ourselves.
There are a number of prerequisites for intimacy. One is that you must be comfortable with yourself before you will be able to share yourself with others; becoming comfortable with yourself is the purpose of solitude. Another prerequisite is that your relationships are built on a desire for the other person to become the-best-version-of-themselves. Common interests are not enough; when the common interests diverge, the relationship ends. This is why couples whose shared purpose is raising kids disintegrate after the kids are grown. Discipline is another prerequisite, because excellence in any area requires discipline. Discipline is also necessary because love and intimacy requires giving yourself, which is only possible if you are free. Our culture thinks that freedom is doing what we want, when we want to, however long we want to; this is not freedom but adolescence. Freedom is the ability to defer gratitude, so that we are able to do what is right, and to always be the-best-version-of-ourselves. Finally, intimacy requires unstructured time, time unplanned. Kelly recommends two hours per week, one day a month, and one weekend a quarter, of unstructured time in a primary relationship to build from this level.
The first level of intimacy is clichés, the small talk about things that are safe. They help us connect with people initially, and also help us do transactions with people. It is not good if a relationship gets stuck here, however, since neither party is sharing anything of themselves.
The second level of intimacy is impersonal facts, like what we did during the day. This level is also good, and can spark deeper interest. For instance, a conversation about going to the art museum can spark an interest in why the person went, what the person’s values are, or what kind of art the person likes. But again, nothing personal has been shared, so staying at this level is very lonely. Sharing personal facts can help move the relationship deeper. An example of a personal fact is “I accidentally bought a ticket to the art museum for Friday instead of Saturday, and I was really disappointed when I was turned away because I love art and have not been able to visit the museum for a year, so I was looking forward the visit all week.” Buying the ticket on the wrong day is impersonal, but the how this affected you is personal.
The third level of intimacy is sharing opinions. The previous two levels are safe, but sharing your opinion gives the option for the other person to disagree with your opinion and reject you. Usually a disagreement of opinions leads to either someone using a surfacing technique like making a joke to bring the conversation back to level one or two, or an argument breaks out. “Arguing is the intellectual equivalent of having a temper tantrum” (152), and arguments are usually clashes of worldviews, so you are not likely to actually change someone’s mind with an argument; instead, arguments tend to degenerate into personal attacks. Both surfacing and arguing are not helpful to intimacy. Instead, level three is where you accept people even though you disagree with their opinion. You can learn why they have this opinion, and what events in their life brought them to this opinion. In fact, all relationships have unsolvable problems, so acceptance is essential to healthy relationships. The challenge at this level is are you willing to reveal your opinions, and accept those whose opinions are different?
The fourth level of intimacy is hopes and dreams, which more deeply reveals who we are and what we value. Discussing each others dreams is a great way to deepen your primary relationship, but make sure to keep current, because hopes and dreams change. Discuss your hopes and dreams for the relationship, too. Not all hopes and dreams can be pursued equally, so pursue the ones that make both of you the-best-version-of-yourselves. This will take sacrifice and discipline, which is an act of love. The challenge in this level is, will you look past short-term gratification and build a future together?
The fifth level of intimacy is sharing feelings. Feelings are the reactions to the events that we experience, and we need to be able to express them to others in order to thrive. But it is helpful to realize that feelings are only reactions. Sometimes we feel something that does not logically follow, or for which there seems to be no reason. That does not invalidate the feeling. However, neither should we put too much weight on the feeling. For example, waiting until we feel like we love someone before we will act lovingly to them is like telling a stove “I’ll give you wood when you give me heat.” The challenge in this stage is, will you be vulnerable?
The sixth level of intimacy is sharing our fears, faults, and failures. This stage is the emotional equivalent of nakedness. In the previous stages you have learned that the other person accepts you, desires the best for you, and cares about how you are experiencing life, making it safe to share your dark side with them. The other person already knows your fears, faults, and failures—especially your faults—by now, but humbly admitting where you are weak is very endearing. It also provides the other person with ways they can love you, as you humbly ask for help.
The seventh level of intimacy is sharing our legitimate needs. Love is the dynamic collaboration of helping the other person become the-best-version-of-themselves, and we all have legitimate needs that need to be met for us to thrive. We have physical needs for food and water and nutrients. We have emotional needs to be accepted and to be listened to, as well as emotional needs that vary from person to person. We have intellectual needs to encounter new ideas, but interests vary widely between people. And we have spiritual needs to for silence and solitude. Note that needs are different from wants. We can thrive without our wants as long as our needs are met, but no amount of meeting wants will cause us to thrive if our needs are not met. Aside from the universal needs, we each of unique needs that the other person can meet. For instance, Kelly needs to have ten minutes after he wakes up and after he returns from a trip to decompress, because he literally is unable to think coherently until then. Or maybe one day work is really stressful, so planning for the vacation is not something you can do; calling your wife to let her know beforehand that work was stressful can avoid a big argument. Or vice-versa: maybe one day the kids took everything out of you, so calling your husband to let him know that you do not have the energy to make dinner allows him to provide for your need, perhaps by ordering pizza, or even by cooking himself. Communicating these needs to each other enables the dynamic collaboration of love.
Great relationships do not happen by accident, or because we hope that they will. We need to make plans for having a great relationship. Kelly gives a ten step plan, which largely boils down to identify what a great relationship looks like for you, prioritizing it in your life, and setting SMART goals to evaluate how you are doing and course-correct.
The Seven Levels of Intimacy offers an insightful model of intimacy that is both explanatory and actionable. His insights explain why some of my relationships have been good, while some longstanding friendships have felt empty. The levels give direction on becoming more intimate. And his idea that the primary goal of life (and therefore, relationships) is becoming the-best-version-of-yourself is quite insightful. Similarly, his definition of love as being willing to (healthily) subordinate your own personal goals and desires in service of helping the other person become the-best-version-of-yourself brings the sort of clarity in thought that also makes clear the sort of things that acting this out would involve.
This is definitely a “pop” discussion of the topic. He just makes huge assertions like the meaning of life is to pursue being the-best-version-of-yourself, or how relationships work, without any justification whatsoever. This raises the question, why should I believe him? He was only about 30 when he wrote the book, why should I believe he has insight that somehow people with decades of life have frequently not acquired? What he says sounds true, but he gives nothing to back up his argument, not even the unsatisfying “I have thought about this topic for a long time and these are the conclusions that I have come to.” It sounds like he probably has read a lot on the topic, but he does not even provide a bibliography of where one might get more information. We just have to trust that he is right. I think he is probably right, but I think it is inexcusable to not tie down his ideas to something that is rooted somewhere.
Although there is not a single justification given for his assertion and the ideas are kind of jumbled around, Kelly does present an insight model of relationships. I wish I had encountered it much earlier, and I will be using it to guide my relationships in the future. The writing is terrible, but the ideas are good, and I recommend adopting them.
Ch. 1: Sex Is Not Intimacy
- Intimacy is being able to share all aspects of yourself including the strengths and the flaws, the talents and the inabilities.
- Intimacy includes sharing our story with people. Over time we tend to get disconnected from our story, so that answering “where did you meet your spouse?” starts off as a long story but tends to become shortened to “we met in a park”.
- Relationships prevent us from hiding in our fantasy; other people keep us honest.
- We want to share ourselves, but we are afraid that people will not accept us if they knew who we truly are. Ironically, it is sharing our weaknesses that endears people to us. And if we share who we are, then we know that the people who love us truly love who we are.
- We need to be known, but the fear of intimacy creates an unfilled need, that we try to fill using other things, which leads to addiction.
- Sometimes we are lonely because of absence of other people, but often it is out of fear of sharing who we are. “Others yet are lonely because they have betrayed themselves and they yearn for and miss their lost self.” (16)
- There are four kinds of intimacy:
- Physical intimacy: broader than just sex, it is all kinds of touch. Physical intimacy is the easiest, but also has the most limited potential for growth.
- Emotional intimacy: this requires first that we observe ourselves to know how we are experiencing the events in our lives and how others are experiencing us, and second that we share these with others.
- Intellectual intimacy: this is knowing how a person thinks, their philosophy of life, not so much what they think. It does not require that (and can be easier if) both people have the same view. It does require being non-judgmental.
- Spiritual intimacy: this is a mutual knowing that the other person desires us to be the best that we can be.
- You must be comfortable with yourself before you can share yourself with others; this is the purpose of solitude. If you are afraid to be alone, you may get in relationships that are not right for you just because you are trying to avoid being alone.
Ch. 2: Common Interests Are not Enough
- The meaning of life is to become the best version of you. Not the most talented, skillful, accomplished version of yourself, but the most virtuous version of yourself.
- The best books, movies, and relationships push us to be the best version of ourselves. Sports is attractive because the cycle of sport is becoming better.
- It follows that the purpose of relationships is to facilitate the other person becoming the best version of themself. Relationships built on common interests disintegrate if our interests change. Many couples’ shared purpose is kids, so when the kids leaves the marriage disintegrates. Relationships built on pleasure end if the pleasure diminishes or a better pleasure appears.
- “The great journey in relationships is from ‘yours and mine’ to ‘ours'.” (44)
- Lots of people and things want us to compromise who we are and what we value in exchange for something. When we do this, we betray ourself. This leads to shame and guilt, which we run from. Eventually we leave the people who caused us to compromise ourself, even if we willing and desireously chose to do so.
- If you find yourself in such a relationship, the solution is the humility to admit how you betrayed yourself. (The other person, however, may or may not respond in such a way to preserve the relationship.)
- “If you betray our [sic] very self, how can you ever be true to anyone or anything?” (48)
Ch. 3: You Know the Storm is Coming
- The question is not if the relational storm is coming, but when. When it does come, it is too late to put down roots, so prepare now. This involves doing things that facilitates getting to know the other person, like date nights, walks together, exercising together (shared improvement), vacations.
- It is important to appreciate the other person, and to be grateful to them. We complain a lot, especially about silly things and about the people who are most important to us. A professor assigned students to write down all the things that they complained about for 24 hours; only four people over decades did not complain about anything. Next he had them write down all the things they were thankful for in 24 hours, and the next class the students were visibly more content. “When we focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong, life improves considerably.” (54)
- Communicating our gratitude encourages the other person become the best that they can be.
- “Joy is the fruit of appreciation.” (56)
- Respect builds trust
- Simply enjoying people nurtures respect. Enjoying people accepts them, learns to understand them, and discovers their passions, hopes, and dreams.
- Being silent encourages respect because it enables us to reflect on who we are, where we are going, and what we value.
- Discipline is essential for love
- No one can give us discipline or force us to be disciplined; “discipline is a gift we give ourselves” (60)
- Our culture thinks that freedom is being able to do what we want, when we want, for however long we want. This is not freedom, this is adolescence. Freedom is being able to be who we are. Being who we are requires discipline.
- Thriving in any area requires discipline. Athletics requires discipline, learning requires discipline, sitting in silence before God and ourselves requires discipline.
- You must be free in order to love, because love is giving your self. “Yet to give your self—to another person, to another endeavor, or to God—you must first possess your self. This possession of self is freedom. It is a prerequisite for love, and is attained only through discipline. This is why so few relationships thrive in our time. The very nature of love requires self-possession. Without self-mastery, self-control, self-dominion, we are incapable of love. We want to love, but without self-possession we are simply unable to do so. We are not free. We do not possess ourselves and so we cannot give ourselves. As a result, we preoccupy ourselves with all the externals of relationships and call those love.” (62)
- Our culture does not want discipline.
- We need to give healthily. It is not healthy to give self-sacrificially all the time. More importantly, does our giving achieve the goal of facilitating the other person to become their best self?
- Our culture does not like uncertainty, so we either create an illusion of uncertainty or explain it away.
- Trees sway in the wind; relationships are not a problem to solve, but a mystery to be lived (paraphrasing Kierkegaard).
Ch. 4: What Is Driving Your Relationships?
- Relationships are what make us thrive; I’ve spent time with rich and poor, and the thriving ones are the ones with great relationships.
- Great relationships takes time. Since our time is limited, we need to prioritize it on the relationships that energize us, that push us to be our better self.
- It’s okay for some relationships to die. Some are only for a season, and that is okay.
- Some relationships the encouragement to be the best self is one way: we feed them, or they feed us. The best friendships go both ways. And for a primary relationship (wife/husband) it is essential that it go both ways.
Ch. 5: The Opposite of Love is Not Hate
- The opposite of love is indifference.
- Indifference is soulless living. Soulful living is pursuing our essential purpose, becoming the best version of ourselves. Anything can be pursued soulfully; one can be a soulful janitor and one can be an indifferent jetsetting executive.
- Soulful living includes tending to our needs: exercise and healthy eating (physical needs), emotional needs [no examples given], reading good books (intellectual development), spiritual needs [no examples given].
- “Soulful people have intellectual curiosity.” (99)
- Love isn’t a feeling, it is a verb. This means we must choose to do it. When you no longer “feel” in love is when you can actually start to love your wife.
- When we desire the other person become the best-version-of-themselves, we accept them for who they are now, but we also desire that they change for the better (although we do not demand it). But the other person may not have that goal for themselves. The best relationships happen when both people are seeking to become the best-version-of-themselves and the same for the other.
- Life is about love.
Ch. 6: How the Seven Levels of Intimacy Will Change Your Relationships ... and Your Life!
- Intimacy is an actual need we have. Unlike our need for air, food, and water, we can survive without it, but we cannot thrive and become the best-version-of-ourselves without it. We feel an unceasing, internal restlessness without it.
- The seven levels of intimacy:
- Hopes and dreams
- Faults, fears, and failures
- Legitimate needs
Ch. 7: Clichés: The First Level of Intimacy
- The cliché level helps us initially connect with people and also helps us do transactions with people. This is necessary, it’s generally not good when a relationship gets stuck there.
- Some people use clichés as a way of shutting down vulnerability. “What do you think about the riot?” “It is what it is!” Teenagers especially use this to avoid connection.
- Some people avoid small talk because they “can’t suffer fools” and jump right in to their specialty, but really they’ve become insensitive and unempathetic.
- Both types do it because they either think the other person does not actually care about them or will judge or criticize them; or that they are not worth being cared about.
- Carefree timeless is important for getting beyond clichés. This is time with the other person without an agenda (this does not mean that you don’t schedule your agenda-less time). “You want to go out Friday? We’ll decide what we’re going to do when we leave.” You have to plan the time together, and it provides unstructured time for sharing to happen. My mother took just me to the art gallery every so often and then we had lunch together, so it was natural to share my concerns with her.
- For your primary relationship, recommend 2 hrs/week, one entire day per month, one weekend per quarter of unstructured time.
Ch. 8: Facts: The Second Level of Intimacy
- This level of intimacy is impersonal facts, like what we did during the day.
- We all have a natural curiosity, and facts bring this out. So some facts can bring out our intellectual curiosity and move us toward the best-version-of-ourself; others do not. For instance, hearing about someone’s trip to Paris, the Picasso he saw at a museum there, and his research about Picasso’s life can pique your interest in art, or Picasso, or his struggles, or Paris, even though only facts may have been communicated. On the other hand, talking about someone’s affair is not likely to move you towards the best-version-of-yourself.
- Moving from lower level to higher level facts facilitates a transition to level three. Lower level facts are more general (current events, weather, etc.), whereas higher level facts are more specific (the life of a famous person, what causes a tsunami, why is a certain stock keep doing the unexpected).
- Speech is hugely important in how we communicate (imagine not being able to speak).
- “Catch someone doing the right thing”; normally we only say something when there is a problem, but we all need encouragement, and saying something when someone is doing something well is encouragement.
- Don’t rush to judge a situation; the lady who can’t control her kids at the ice-cream store might be because she’s still in shock from the father dying. We cannot evaluate something without knowing the context of the other person. In fact, suspending judgment and non-judgement is important for exploring intimacy.
- If you need to correct someone (an employee, say), do it without criticism. Saying “this is crap"—especially if you do it in front of other people—wounds their pride, and then they react out of pride. To demonstrate how to do it properly, and assure them that everyone needs to be taught, etc. is correction.
- Gossip tears down.
- People are under-appreciated; expressing appreciation is a great way to build up a relationship.
- Levels one and two are very lonely places. Moving beyond this to level three requires revealing yourself. You can use level two to block intimacy or develop it.
- “The most devastating form of loneliness is not to be without friends; rather it is to be surrounded by friends and never be truly known.” (149)
Ch. 9: Opinions: The Third Level of Intimacy
- When a discussion ventures into into level three, someone expresses an opinion that someone else disagrees with. The usual result is that either an argument starts or someone uses a “surfacing technique” to make a joke or something that defuses the situation back to level two. This also happens on the relational level.
- “Arguing is the intellectual equivalent of having a temper tantrum” (152), and is emotion-driven and degenerates into personal attack.
- Surfacing is more passive, but not less damaging.
- Both are caused by a lack of self-awareness or maturity.
- People resist any attempt to change their opinion, and many people cannot have a discussion without feeling like they need to convince the other person. “Learning to be at peace in the company of people who hold and express opinions that completely oppose your own is a sign of great wisdom and extraordinary self-awareness.” (153)
- “In many cases, the conflict is not simply a clash of opinions, but rather a much more significant clash of personal goals and worldviews.” (154-5)
- The best relationships have a common agreed-upon purpose, which enables conflicts to be resolved. Without a common purpose, relationships tend to either become superficial, or a never-ending conflict of egos.
- A relationship where one person’s goal is as much pleasure as possible and the other’s is to become the best-version-of-themself will have many disagreements, because the goals are opposed. “Once the issue is individual gratification rather than collective fulfillment, all arguments become a matter of cunning, pride, and manipulation.” (156)
- Seek the points where you can agree; explore rather than be right; figure out how the other person sees the situation; see if there are ways they might be right.
- The key to the third level is accepting people, even if we do not understand them. (Including ourselves; we do not even understand ourselves. And we cannot accept others if we do not accept ourselves.)
- Witholding acceptance until you understand someone is like telling a stove, “I’ll give you wood when you give me heat.”
- Opinions are formed from our experiences. Opinions also change. Knowing that opinions are not immutable helps us accept others.
- All relationships have unsolvable problems. Relationships are mysteries. We don’t fix the relationship, the relationship fixes us. How we deal with the unresolvable problems determines the trajectory of the relationship.
- A relationship is giving and receiving in service of becoming best-version-of-yourselves (or at least a common goal). Any relationship (husband/wife, parent/child, etc.) is a team. If the team loses, you lose; the goal is for the team to win.
Ch. 10: Hopes and Dreams: The Fourth Level of Intimacy
- Our hopes and dreams tell others about who we are, which is vulnerable, so we generally only share our dreams when we feel accepted (making level three a prerequisite).
- We have a lot of dreams, so we need to prioritize the dreams that make us the best-version-of-ourself.
- Achieving a dream requires delayed gratification. Delayed gratification requires getting comfortable with pain. Michael Jordan and Lance Armstrong both wanted to be at the top of their sport, and they both were willing to endure a tremendous amount of pain to achieve that dream.
- Our society is a culture of instant gratification (and even that is too slow). There is likely a correlation between that and our record consumer debt, especially when saving $1/day and investing in the S&P at 9% our 55 years of work would result in over $481,000 (on an input of $20,000).
- If we want a great relationship, it needs to be ahead of our personal agenda. And if we want our dream relationship, we need to sacrifice for it now. If we want the other person to fulfill their dreams we need to sacrifice for it.
- Write down your dreams individually and as a couple. Keep updated (since dreams change). This helps guide the partnership because you know where you are building towards, which determines what you can and cannot do now if you want to get there. If you don’t talk about your dreams with each other, then you will have arguments when the other person unknowingly acts in a way that pushes your dream farther out.
- Write down dreams in the seven areas of life: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, professional, financial, and adventurous. Write down individually and as a couple. Make goals (a dream with a timeline).
- Being open to new ideas is a great way to foster acceptance.
Ch. 11: Feelings: The Fifth Level of Intimacy
- Challenges of each level:
- 2: Are you willing to say something about yourself?
- 3: Are you willing to reveal your opinions, and offer acceptance to those whose opinions differ from yours?
- 4: Are you willing to set aside short-term gratification to build a future together?
- 5: Are you willing to be vulnerable?
- We need to express our feelings
- Choose appropriate times, places, and people. The author is unable to have a focused conversation immediately after getting up, or returning from a trip. You should not share some feelings with your teenager or they will just end up getting worried about the situation with no power to change it. Don’t attempt to have a level 5 conversation in front of the TV or in a bar with loud music.
- It may be difficult and uncomfortable at first, but keep doing it and eventually it will become instinctual.
- Sharing your inner world to someone is like describing a painting to a blind person; you have you use words they will understand. (“Blue and yellow Picasso” won’t help, but thick strokes, bumpy texture, swirling might be more understandable.)
- Usually our feelings have a reason, but not always, and it is okay to say “I’m feeling excited today, maybe it’s because the sun is finally out!” or “I’m really feeling miserable, but there isn’t any obvious reason why.”
- Just telling someone close to you that you are happy tends to make you happier, and telling someone close to you that you are lonely since your grandfather died tends to make you less lonely.
- Expressing our feelings to others allows others to know us; knowing and being known is intimacy.
- Intimacy requires getting good at listening.
- We don’t listen much in our culture. When people meet someone famous they usually remember what they said but not what the famous person said, yet the famous person is the one more worth listening to.
- Why the person is saying something is usually more important than the contents that they are saying.
- Pay attention to the adjectives they use, this often reveals how they are feeling.
- Feelings are simply a reaction.
Ch. 12: Faults, Fears, and Failures: The Sixth Level of Intimacy
- Level six is the emotional equivalent of nakedness.
- Telling your spouse your failings isn’t what improves the relationship-they’ve already known them for years—it is the honesty and humility of saying you need help. Obviously, this requires believing that the other person will accept you and wants you to become the-best-version-of-yourself.
- Level six is also where we feel comfortable enough to tell our fears to the other: I’m afraid you will leave me. I’m afraid we won’t have enough money to retire / pay for kids college / etc. The other person knows that their goal is not to fix you, but to walk with you.
- We need to own our faults, fears, and failures, otherwise we become victims. (“I am this way because X happened.”) The heroes, saints, and leaders are not victims, they are dynamic choice makers. Excellence and the victim mindset are diametrically opposed.
- Intimacy is owning and sharing our dark side, and it also free us.
- Becoming the-best-version-of-yourself is not an endpoint, you won’t arrive; the key is the striving for it, as you see “I was the-best-version-of-myself here, and here.”
- Our past is what has made us into who we are today. If we have grown from our failures, then we are better because of them, but you cannot try to take the failures the past away. If you love someone for who they are now, their failures contribute to making them the things you love now.
- Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future. The past does not define your future.
- Forgiveness is essential. “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (211) One key to forgiving others is realizing that we have needed forgiveness ourself.
- We should not necessarily continue a relationship with someone who has hurt us deeply, but we do need to forgive them.
- Humor can be helpful for intimacy, like when it allows couples to signal acceptance of the other person despite the unresolvable problems of the relationship. But humor can be used to avoid intimacy, and sarcasm is destructive to intimacy, especially since it often addresses an issue passive-aggressively.
Ch. 13: Legitimate Needs: The Seventh Level of Intimacy
- The seventh level is a dynamic collaboration of knowing and tending to the legitimate needs of each other. (Needs, as opposed to wants. Food is a legitimate need, because we die without it, but filet mignon is a want.) This involves sharing our needs with each other, as well as well as learning to figure out the needs of others (since we often don’t know our own needs and thus can’t express them). For instance, one person might need to have some time alone to think about an important decision while someone else might need to talk about it with their friends.
- Physical needs are pretty well known, since cause and effect are fairly obvious.
- Some of our emotional needs are to love and be loved, t"o express your opinions, to be listened to and taken seriously, to share your feelings, and to be accepted for the person you are” (218). We have an emotional need for intimacy.
- We have an intellectual need to be challenged and engaged.
- We have a basic spiritual need for silence and solitude.
- If we don’t get our spiritual, intellectual, and emotional needs met, we don’t die, but we don’t thrive, either. “Anger, resentment, discontentedness, and frustration are often signs that our needs are not being met.” (228)
- The more our lives and relationships are centered around our legitimate needs, the more we will thrive.
- “Love is the wanting, and the having, and the choosing, and the becoming. Love is a desire to see the person we love be and become all he or she is capable of being and becoming. Love is willingness to lay down our own personal plans, desires, and agenda for the good of the relationship. Love is delayed gratification, pleasure, and pain. Love is being able to live and thrive apart, but choosing to be together.” (222) “You know you love somebody when you are willing to subordinate your personal plans, desires, and agenda to the good of that relationship.” (222) Likewise, you know somebody else loves you when they do the same for you.
- If we choose to pursue our wants in a relationship, that relationship is dead, eventually. Thriving relationships are the collaboration in tending to each other’s legitimate needs.
Ch. 14: Ten Reasons People Don’t Have Great Relationships
- They don’t establish a common purpose.
- The don’t clearly define what makes a relationship great.
- The make it a moving target.
- They make it seem impossible.
- They don’t believe [that it is possible].
- They never make it an absolute must.
- They don’t follow through.
- They have no accountability [for example, with SMART goals].
- They give up in the face of major challenges.
- They never get quality coaching. (Could be in-person, books, etc.)
Ch. 15: Defining a Great Relationship
- Basically inverts the ten reasons people don’t have great relationships don’t and steps you through doing them.
Ch. 16: Don’t Just Hope...
- Don’t just hope your relationship will turn out great, you need to plan for it.