Some people struggle with their personal relationships. Matthew Kelly, a New York Times best-selling author and spiritual public speaker, came to Northern Kentucky University Oct. 30 to explain why, from his book “The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved.”
Kelly has written 12 books including his newest “Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness.” Kelly travels the country and talks to students at high schools and universities with the Matthew Kelly Foundation’s Schools Project. NKU’s Catholic Newman Club sponsored Kelly’s visit.
As part of The Matthew Kelly Foundation’s Schools Project, Kelly gives out more than 50,000 copies of his books to students who attend his lectures to let students take a tangible part of his message with them. At NKU, the first 200 students who arrived received a copy of “The Seven Levels of Intimacy.”
“It is important to reach out to young people,” said Bethany Hawkins, a staff member with the Matthew Kelly Foundation. “The purpose is to give students a life direction.”
The seven levels of intimacy Kelly discussed were given a precursor: Kelly’s definition of intimacy. “Sex is not intimacy,” Kelly said. “Our culture thinks that it is. Our culture thinks that sex and intimacy are the same thing. Sex does not guarantee intimacy. Intimacy is self-revelation; me revealing myself to you, and you revealing yourself to me.”
The real challenge, according to Kelly, is to get in a relationship where people become comfortable revealing themselves. Contemporary culture says to build a great relationship around common interests, but then if interests change, so do relationships.
To avoid this, people need to have a personal mission statement, or what Kelly calls, “a common unchanging purpose. Common interests are not enough.”
Kelly compared this common unchanging purpose to the U.S. Constitution. More than 200 years later, Americans have only amended 27 times. As people and as citizens, Americans are working toward becoming what Kelly calls “the best version of ourselves.” This should be the focus of everyone’s relationships.
Throughout Kelly’s speech, he described each of the seven levels of intimacy. These levels in order are clich