A friend who has read my book Daddy Issues recommended this article to me:
It’s a terrific, eye-opening article. I found much of it moving and instructive. For example:
The Latin adjective intimus means “inmost, deepest.” So real intimacy means, first of all, that both partners listen deep inside–i.e., get to know their inner worlds of emotion, desire, and vulnerability–and then reveal what they’ve learned to each other in an atmosphere of loving acceptance.
This is the scariest place for many people. In my own relationships, I’ve found when I’m crawling the walls and needing to reveal something deeper, often my partner doesn’t want to go there. Or, when he has a moment of despair, I misinterpret it and take it personally. It’s only when both parties can agree that they will do their best to meet that need whenever and however it comes up that the relationship can deepen and grow. Love becomes a decision, not merely an emotion.
A few years back, the book Love-Making from the Inside Out, by Dr. Bill Cloke, transformed my attitude about relationships. I had thought that I had to be perfect, to have all my issues settled and all my neuroses handled before I could expect anyone to love me. Dr. Cloke’s book taught me instead that it’s in our moments of weakness and vulnerability that we can feel the deepest and highest love. A love partnership is when both make the commitment to keep the love flowing when one or the other needs it, not merely being okay with the person when they’re totally fine.
My last relationship failed because while one of us was willing to make this commitment, the other admitted they were not. There was nowhere further we could go after this discovery. We couldn’t get any closer. It saddened me because in many ways it was the best relationship I’d ever had.
So my challenge to myself is: Am I available to hold someone when they’re going crazy? Am I willing to be there when my partner is defeated and hurting? Will I stay by his side when he’s filled with self-hatred or internalized anger? Will I listen and try to understand his childhood phobias without trying to change him?
That’s the love I want. And I think it’s the love we all need.