…patiently let each other venture in to the back rooms, the intimate rooms, ones furnished with painful memories and the pictures on the walls are of unforgotten wounds, something magical can happen. The magic of intimacy.

People Fall In Love Everyday—None Fall Into Intimacy

# 90 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: A good relationship is a good fit. The broken pieces and whole pieces interlock

You may have heard that good relationships are a good fit. 

I remember first hearing the concept from a post-Ph.D psychologist (a former college friend) when I told her about the demise of my 22 year marriage. She wisely told me relationships aren’t like going to the grocery store and picking the perfect item off the shelf, they have to be a good fit, comfortable for each partner.

The mental image was suitable and thankfully soon thereafter, I reconnected with the best fit of my life, and for the past twelve years we’ve been constant companions. We built our relationship on mutual respect, but there’s a lot more to it than that. We take care of each other’s broken pieces, sometimes filling in missing portions, other times strengthening and protecting the ruins. 

What makes a good fit?

A good fit is indispensable to a good relationship, but I want to explore what makes a fit good?

A good fit is when the broken pieces of each life fit together, not the whole ones.

That’s something not everyone sees. Think of Tom Cruise and Kelly Preston in Jerry Maguire. Those two were too perfect. Sure, the sex was hot, but there was no room for intimacy in the midst of all that stifling, demanding perfection. Check the linked scene. Who could live up to that?

If you want a good fit, one filled with deep intimacy, you have to embrace brokenness.

And let me add this caveat; everyone’s broken. Even the people who think they’re perfect.

Intimacy in a relationship comes from excavation of the buried, broken pieces, and carefully exploring how they fit together.

Broken pieces fitting together creates intimacy
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

What plays on dating app profiles, won’t create intimacy

When someone starts a relationship telling all about their successes, achievements, and accolades, you may feel happy for the teller, even excited, but not intimate. There’s neither room, nor need for you in those stories other than as their personal admirer, cheerleader or fan. 

They may be a wonderful influencer, but those stories don’t admit intimacy.

When you share only your carefully curated best moments, you’re signaling how rich your life already is and how little your listener can do to make it any better except as your captive audience. It is nice to have affirmation, even admiration. But intimacy is better.

Sounds a lot like typical dating profiles, doesn’t it?

But within the broken places… lies a world humility, vulnerability, trust, and protection—intimacy.

There may be such a thing as love at first sight, I don’t know. Sight to me is a very untrustworthy barometer of most anything real.

I know this. There is no such thing as intimacy at first sight.

Intimacy takes time. It takes trust. Being built on shared brokenness, it requires the discovery of where your broken places, ownership of the pieces, acknowledgement that there may be whole chunks missing now, and the willingness and the wisdom to know when to share those details with a new potential partner. 

That last piece is key. Not everyone deserves your broken pieces. And no one deserves them too soon. Freely share your whole ones, let everyone see those. Fling those whole bits like you’re riding on a Mardi gras float. 

But for your own sake, save the best of you, the broken places, for someone worthy.

When two people build a friendship from mutual initial commonality and attraction, then patiently let each other venture in to the back rooms, the intimate rooms, ones furnished with painful memories and the pictures on the walls are of unforgotten wounds, something magical can happen. The magic of intimacy. 

That shared brokenness is the best. Tenderness, lovingkindness, and protective shielding awakens between the partners. Each knows the other’s vulnerabilities and rather than exploiting them for selfish gain, cherishes and caresses them, partners carefully, lovingly tracing each other’s scars, and holding each other in fierce determination not to create new ones.

You cannot fall into intimacy

The Beatles, in With A Little Help From My Friends asked, 

“Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time

What do you feel when you turn out the light?

I can’t tell you but I know it’s mine.”

Beatles: With A Little Help From My Friends

I prefer the Joe Cocker, Woodstock version as seen here.

Whether or not at first sight, people fall in love every day.

No one falls into intimacy.

That’s reserved for those willing to be vulnerable, patient, and fit each other’s broken pieces together into the puzzle of Intimate Love. That is a good fit.

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