The Forces of Time:
The Process of Intimacy
The previous chapter described different forms of intimacy—intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal—and how time plays a role in each. The current chapter focuses on temporality in relationships, how couples relate to time, and how time impinges on couples. This chapter attempts to build a systematic description of the big picture, which is often lost to couples in the midst of their daily routine, of how relationships proceed in time, and of how partners coordinate their lives together. From this big picture, I hope readers will derive a sense of the wholeness of transpersonal intimacy (see Quality 3, chap. 2). The enlightened activity of continuing to relate with another person through time (In time mates see)—and the coordination this entails—can be seen as a spiritual discipline. On the one hand, this requires extraordinary effort; a certain degree of faith, self-transcendence, mindfulness, concentration, compassion, patience, and an ability to flow is required. On the other hand, it requires a simple understanding of “all that is ordinary in human life, ” that is, appreciating the warm security of the routines and the little things (timing, pacing) that are shared together.
This chapter outlines a model or tool for representing reality so that many processes that could not be simultaneously perceived are described in a single formulation. Eight functions facilitate the use and influence of time within intimate relationships: scheduling (planning), routine (ritual), timing, transition, rhythm entrainment (coordination), time transcendence, perturbation (disruption), and pacing. The functions represent the ordinary and mundane aspects of our life with another. These functions are derived from four forces that influence and control couples unless or until they learn to harness them: chaos, time shaping, structure, and nurturing conditions (context). Relationships