The Creation of Adam – Michelangelo
Image by Calvin Craig from Unsplash

When you hear the word ‘intimacy,’ what do you think of? Mainstream culture may have tried to take hold of its meaning, but those who search for the Good, True and Beautiful will probably think beyond such restraints. 

Intimacy is a core component of successful relationships, whether it be your relationship with your spouse, your local barista, or your childhood friend. Author and speaker, Matthew Kelly, in his book The Seven Levels of Intimacy, explores how we can foster intimacy within our various relationships. He names these levels clichés, facts, opinions, hopes and dreams, feelings, fears/weaknesses, and needs, to delineate how we interact with, and improve our relationships with others. Lastly, he argues that you could indeed survive without intimacy, but you would definitely not thrive without it.

Here are three reasons why intimacy is crucial to living life to the fullest

1. To grow in our love for others

You may have experienced the awkwardness when you or someone else breaches a level of intimacy. It makes sense that the degree to which we are intimate, depends on the type of relationship that exists between us and the other. Different levels, and different relationships, direct the degree of vulnerability, openness, and trust you offer to the other. For instance, you might only explore Kelly’s first three levels of intimacy with your local barista, but if your primary relationship (that with your spouse) is limited to the first three levels of intimacy, you may find your relationship isn’t all it could be. Understanding and owning the boundaries and demands of intimacy is key to growing in love for others.  

2. To grow closer toward the person God created us to be

God wants us to experience the rich tapestries of human existence; to do so requires we grow in intimacy. Growing in intimacy within our relationships is key to living life to the fullest. A dull life is one without meaning, without purpose, and ultimately without God. A dull life is one without intimacy. Pier Giorgio Frassati, a young Italian Christian activist, lived much of his life for others. He is known for saying “to live without faith, without a heritage to defend, without battling constantly for truth, is not to live but to ‘get along’; we must never just ‘get along.’” Growing closer toward the person God created us to be demands that we grow in intimacy. 

3. To grow in our love for God

God wants to know us intimately, and He wants us to know Him intimately. The intimacy we develop with Jesus will awaken our awareness of Him in our daily lives. Pope John Paul II, in a homily for an Ash Wednesday service in 1997, exclaimed that “conversion involves a new discovery of God.” This new discovery is almost like climbing different levels of intimacy with God, so that here, right now, we can encounter Him “face to face” and one day, having known Him so well, be able to “see Him as He is,” in all His glory (1 John 3:2).

If you’re keen on reading Kelly’s The Seven Levels of Intimacy, we’re giving away a copy over on our Facebook page.

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