When we quit sabotaging intimacy in our relationships by demanding unconditional love, we discover something much greater—the deeply satisfying, transformational love that is companionship.
In these pages psychologist Kelly Flannagan shows how each of us has within ourselves, exactly the way we are, the gifts that are needed to cultivate the life-long relationship we are longing for, whether it is within marriage or friendship. He shows us how self-knowledge leads the way to growing in love for both God and others. He shows us how understanding our own loneliness can help us relieve the pressure on our companions. And he shows us how understanding our own psychological and emotional defenses can help us to make the choice to love more vulnerably.
More than a marriage book, this is a companionship book. Anyone—from single young adults to elderly married couples, from the divorced to the widowed, from siblings to friends—can benefit from the wisdom it uncovers about what it means to be human and to be true companions.
Groups, couples, and individuals can use the companion study guide for five sessions on how to show up in your most important relationships.
What You Need to Know About This Book (and Unconditional Love)
Part One: Grow Quiet: Befriending Your Loneliness
A Letter to My Wife: Before We Belong to Each Other, I Must First Belong to Myself
1. Abandonment Is Not Loneliness
2. Neither Is Shame
3. Nor Is Isolation
4. A Cautionary Note About the Digital Crowd
5. You Are a Great and Precious Thing
6. So Learn How to Be Alone
7. Maybe Even Find God in It
8. And Let Someone to Stand with You for Awhile
A Letter to My Wife: You Are My Destination
Part Two: Grow Strong: Embracing Your Struggle
A Letter to My Wife: Love Goes the Long Way
9. Observe Your Protections
18. And Excitement
A Letter to My Wife: Thank You for the Moments Between the Magic
Part Three: Grow Old: Cherishing Your Time
A Letter to My Wife: The Whole Thing Is Inconceivable
19. Time Isn’t Money, It’s Mortality
20. And Remember, Bodies Matter
21. So Go Elderly Slow
22. Fear (Not) Missing Out
23. Laugh Out Loud
24. Let Your Memories Gather
25. Rust into Something Beautiful
26. And Trade Your Strength with Each Other
27. Until Death Do You Part
A Letter to My Wife: A Timeless Reunion