Intimacy is not something you have, it is something you do…. Terry Real

Most human beings have a deep desire for love. To give love and to receive love is as necessary to us as breathing.  It is the human condition to crave intimacy. Emily Dickinson said it well, “that love is all that there is, is all that we know of love. Yup. That's about right.

I recently attended a wonderful training with Dr. Scott Stanley, one of the most thoughtful, clear thinking, and humorous relationship researchers I have listened too. Dr. Stanley has studied dating and mating patterns for decades. He suggests many key relationship choices are being made by sliding into them rather than consciously deciding on them (#slidingvsdeciding). This sliding pattern is a new cultural norm that, unfortunately, has a lot of negative side effects.

Sliding occurs in micro and macro ways and it sets up a shaky relationship foundation. Take, for example, the couple who passively slide around regarding household chores rather than deciding together how to handle them. What happens? Chaos: laundry not done for weeks, trash piling up, dishes in the sink.  Or, the couple that slides around regarding cell phone communication expectations? What happens? Ambiguity: confusion, hurt feelings when the phone doesn't ring, or a text isn’t responded too.

Developing the ability and willingness to decide is critical to healthy relational living even when outside forces say don't bother. Clear decision making is a way of respecting oneself and one’s relationship. We must choose to consciously make relational decisions. This approach is recommended for everything from whom to date and marry, to how to build a Sunday dinner ritual. This creates clarity and direction in a relationship.

This is where the Relationship Practice Academy comes in. My mentor, Terry Real, said it at least a thousand times:

“Intimacy isn't something you have, it is something you do.”

Our mission here at Relationship Practice Academy is to assist you in the “doing”. What does intimacy look like? What is the moment-to-moment practice of intimacy? How do we learn to do intimacy? It’s time to go back to school.

It is September 4, 2017. Although it is sizzling hot today in Southern California, the crispness of fall is around the corner. September is time for back-to-school. I love fall, bulky sweaters, autumn leaves and new beginnings. A shiny new notebook, pencil case, and fountain pen mean that summer is gone and the promise of a new semester is here.

We invite you to join us here this “semester” for Relational Living 101. Your first assignment is this: Decide to have a conscious relationship. Decide to make the necessary small and large relationship decisions that are before you. You can only do this a little bit at a time. But you can start by making a clear decision today.

You are at a fork-in-the-road. One way is status quo. The other way is messy, wonderful/scary intimacy. Take the first step toward the intimate life you crave. Decide. Don't just slide into whatever you get. Decide.

We’ll see you here at the blog every Monday. Class dismissed.