I prepared for at least a month prior to telling my boyfriend (now my husband) those three words – “I love you.”! Always one to move incredibly slowly, it was two years since we’d met and during that time we had certainly proclaimed how we felt about each other, but never with the “official” declaration of love! I prepared myself for the moment: New hairstyle: Check! New outfit: Check! Dinner reservations made for the incredibly romantic tryst we would no doubt enjoy once we had proclaimed our love: Check! “Speech” prepared? Check!
Sadly, as you’ve guessed by now (otherwise, why would I be telling this story?!) my declaration of love didn’t go quite as planned. As I sat on the steps of our townhouse leading to our loft bedroom, I was stunned – and scared – to see the color drain from my boyfriend’s face. The word “love” apparently had a toxic effect on him! Suddenly, the evening took an alarming turn and I was being asked to move out – my evening was definitely not turning out well! As often happens in life, this horrendous moment where I wished I could take back the words that hung so precariously in the air between us, actually was a blessing in disguise.
Although I hesitate to use that term lightly – it’s so cliché – if we are open to the potential of our intimate relationship and look critically and honestly at the role we can take in improving it, we can learn and grow.
Suffice to say, I did move out – it was the most amazing period of growth that our relationship experienced, but it wasn’t the second, or even the third. To this moment that I’m writing this, we are still experiencing growth in our relationship – facing the challenges that come together. The foundation for how we handled that first period of growth for us, has served us well, and in looking back, I went through these six initial steps in creating the relationship that I wanted – despite my having said, “I love you!” And yes, I eventually did say it again and continue to do so every day!
Saying “I love you” is an important step in risking your heart – and risking your love. Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to creating true intimacy is our natural inclination to protect ourselves – we must face risk in order to love. This is normal. No one wants to be hurt – to give their heart unconditionally and to have their ripped out of their chest! But, life is risk, and it is here at this point in your relationship that the decision is made to move ahead to greater intimacy or to remain closed off from both your emotion and the possibility of a truly magnificent relationship with your soul mate. Once you have decided to “risk love” your next step is create a truly intimate relationship.