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The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved Paperback – January 9, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A throwaway buzzword in pop psychology, intimacy remains a litmus test for the health of relationships and is something everyone should strive for, says Kelly, the bestselling author of The Rhythm of Life. "Intimacy is the one thing a person cannot live happily without," he writes. Since many people cling to the "pubescent notion" that intimacy and sex are synonymous, Kelly begins by talking about what intimacy is not-sex, common interests-and proffering up inspirational tidbits and oft heard motivational questions ("Who energizes you?" "Why do they energize you?" "How do you want to be remembered?") before hammering home the thesis of this book: intimacy is a "legitimate need." His seven levels of intimacy-clichés; facts; opinions; hopes and dreams; feelings; faults, fears and failures; and legitimate needs-each get a chapter-length discussion. Kelly advocates openness-in communication, enduring pain, delaying gratification-and sprinkles in bits of spirituality in cajoling readers to foster intimacy, and, in turn, love and the meaning of life. "Life is about love. It's about whom you love and whom you hurt. Life's about how you love and hurt the people close to you." His view may seem simplistic, but Kelly's simple, direct prose and patient explanations will appeal to spiritual readers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A highly readable, well-written book that contains deep wisdom and practical guidance about relationships that will be useful to everyone seeking genuine and durable intimacy, especially couples. I especially appreciate his thesis that love is a commitment to helping the other become the best person he can be. I highly recommend it."
-- Harville Hendrix, Ph. D., author of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

"Matthew Kelly reminds us that love and intimacy aren't just cozy feelings that drop into our laps. They're the result of hard work and the giving of ourselves -- and lead to the ultimate joys of life. A wonderful book about an important subject -- readable and full of wise and practical suggestions."
-- Hal Urban, author of Life's Greatest Lessons and Positive Words, Positive Results --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside; Reprint edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743265122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743265126
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Matlock on November 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I don't believe that the most reclusive of us wants to go through life alone. We are social beings and we want to have friends, we want to share our lives with someone. Perhaps it's just someone to talk to at first, but sooner or later we want it to switch to mutual love.

Mr. Kelly has written an interesting book. The first six chapter are about what intimacy is not. Intimacy is not sex, it's not common interests, it's not 118 pages of things.

Only with this base established does he go on to describing what true intimacy is, how it developes over time. He starts with cliches. This is the way we communicate when we really don't know each other. At that time neither party is ready to exchange the deepest emotions. And if you start to tell someone about yours they'll wonder what's wrong with you. By the seventh level however, which he calls Legitimate Needs, we need to have the ability to tell our partners that we're beat tonight and just want to have a drink and veggie out in front of the TV.

He continues with ten reasons that people don't have a great relationship. Unfortunately they all make sense. As you read them, you can see where relationships fell apart. Finally he concludes with designing a relationship and putting that plan into effect.

Mr. Kelly has clearly thought out the issues of relationships and has written a book that explains a lot.
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Format: Hardcover
Matthew Kelly is such a great inspiration! This book is not about the physical part of intimacy. Rather, it talks about how you grow in relationships with friends and family. Matthew encourages readers to be with people that bring out the "best-version" of themselves. He wants all of us to share our dreams; even keep track of our dreams. After we decide what we want to do, we make a plan, and surround ourselves with people who will help us be that best we can be.

I would also suggest that people buy his book "The Rhythm of Life" which is a definate 5 star book. I think these two books give you a lot to think about and work on in relationships. I can honestly say that some of my relationships have improved since I have changed some things within myself.
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Format: Paperback
I turned 50 this year and finding myself single and dating for the first time in 25 years I did not know what to expect. After reading Mathews Rhythm of Life book I wanted to read more of his work. Mathew has a way of writing that reaches you on a real level like a life long friend. He presents the material in a way that I can relate to my life very simply. Beginning a new relationship I did not want to make the same mistakes. I wanted to find out how to keep the energy of a new relationship alive and lasting. In reading the "Seven Levels of Intimacy" he explains how and why Intimacy grows as we open up and share more of ourselves. He also explains the risks we take when we do so yet the great depth of relationship you gain by taking that risk. As Mathew explains each person we meet there is a level of Intimacy that is appropriate for that relationship. Only a few would you open up to level 7. As my new relationship develops I am more aware of how the relationship is growing and developing relative to levels of intimacy. The greatest value I have gained is it has made me more aware of my behavior and how my partner is responding in a positive way. This has allowed me to be consciously aware of why we are doing well and thus I make mental notes to keep practicing those behaviors that help us grow in intimacy. Reading his book has opened my eyes to a deeper understanding of the cause and affect of how we treat each other. So many couples feel their partner has taken them for granite and have quit showing appreciation. Mathew helps you understand the importance of the levels of intimacy and how much you have to gain by safely and respectfully sharing it with your partner and by doing so we appreciate each others uniqueness. I highly recommend this book to anyone in a new relationship or wanting to grow their current relationship to a deeper and richer level. Another book I read that I feel is a great companion to this one is "His Needs Her Needs" by Willard F Harley Jr.
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Format: Paperback
We are all involved in relationships. But most do not achieve real meaningful ones. Our relationships don't turn sour, we just become indifferent.

We have been bombarded by messages that promise fun, excitment, pleasure and possessions are the answer to our emotional needs. But those are all feelings. And feelings change. They are not permanent. So no matter how much fun and excitement we pursue, it will not satisfy the basic need for intimacy. Our wants - material possessions - cannot fulfill our need for intimacy.

Matthew does and excellent job of exploring what intimacy is and what it is not. Most people have a misconception of what intimacy is.

The book is filled with very valuable information about the various types of intimacy - physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Matthew also provides the basis for a strong relationship. If you read and accept his premise, you will change the way you look at your relationships. You will understand that most relationships are self-centered and therefore almost always doomed to fail.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part defines intimacy, the second part discusses the seven levels of intimacy and the last part discusses the 10 reasons why people do not have a great relationship and how to design a great relationship.

Your primary relationship will have a huge impact on your quality of life. This is very valuable information and should be read by everyone who has not commited to living as a hermit.
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