Relationships are hard. This is not new information. But I propose that part of what makes them hard is not the adjustment and disclosure that authenticity demands of us. Instead, it’s our relentless resistance to adjusting and disclosing.
I bet Donald Miller would agree. Over the weekend, I finished reading his latest book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. In it, Miller discusses a painful disruption of his life (which started with the demise of an engagement), his later relationship with the woman he’d actually marry, and how his experiences resulted over time in an ability to pursue what he never had pursued before: true intimacy.
Stuff like self-doubt and skeletons scares us into avoiding actual intimacy, and settling instead for the safe and superficial. But we miss out on the opportunity to authentically connect when we resist real intimacy. The world around us misses out, too, on access to the real you — to the truth about you, which needs to be known if you’re to love or be loved.
Miller’s stories in Scary Close, from which a reader can learn how to drop the act and find true intimacy, and why we ought to adjust and disclose, are easy to read and important. For information about the book, click here. And read on for 10 of my favorite excerpts:
“The more we hide, the harder it is to be known. And we have to be known to connect.” -page 20
“…true intimacy is just like that: it’s the food you grow from well-tilled ground. And like most things good for us, it’s an acquired taste.” -page 79
“Sometimes the real bonding happens in conversations about nothing, Don,” (said his then fiancée, now wife Betsy). “Sometimes being willing to talk about nothing shows how much we want to be with each other. And that’s a powerful thing.” -page 89
“To love somebody is to give them the power to hurt you.” -page 90
“Whenever somebody starts keeping score in a relationship the relationship begins to die.” -page 104
“And I wonder if we’re not all a lot better for each other than we previously thought. I know we’re not perfect, but I wonder how many people are withholding the love they could provide because they secretly believe they have fatal flaws.” -page 129
“The stuff it takes to be intimate is authenticity, vulnerability, and a belief that other people are about as good and bad as we are.” -page 155
“I think we can fall into reactionary patterns in relationships rather than understanding they’re things we build and nurture and grow. … I’d made the mistake of becoming reactionary in my relational life. I let friendships, business relationships, and even my relationship with Betsy take a natural course rather than guiding them to a healthy place.” -page 194
“I don’t know if there’s a healthier way for two people to stay in love than to stop using each other to resolve their unfulfilled longings and, instead, start holding each other closely as they experience them.” -page 216
“The union of souls is worth sacrificing for.” -page 224