What is a level 5 life?
The first time I was introduced to the concept of level 5 was when my husband, Louie, and I were in pre-marital counseling, almost 10 years ago. There we sat, in a tiny little office, holding hands and wondering what was about to come.
Our counselor was a very soft-spoken, middle-aged man. He was married with kids so in our minds he met all the criteria required to counsel us on our upcoming marriage. Little did we know that in the next 45 minutes he was going to drop two truth bombs that have changed the way we both live, even to this day.
Truth bomb #1 – “The hardest you will ever try in a relationship is right now.” Sad, (maybe scary even), but true. Our counselor advised us if we had concerns or issues in our relationship we really needed to get them figured out because it would only get harder once we were married. Seems common sense, but how many people do you know that think, “once we get married it will get better"? (See also, "let's have kids!")
Note: It will not.
Truth bomb #2 – “Understanding the dynamics of level 5 is the key to marital success." He took out a piece of paper and drew a line down the middle. On the left he wrote the words: men | physical intimacy and on the right the words: women | emotional intimacy. He then wrote out the numbers 1-5 on each side (each one below the next).
He asked Louie if he had ever listened to me on the phone with one of my girlfriends. "Yes" he replied. He then asked if he had ever listened to the sequence of those phone conversations. Specifically, had he ever noticed how one minute into the call I might be talking with my girlfriend about some major trial or trauma in my life, and minutes later we are discussing the upcoming weekend's weather and back again. For some reason women seem to move seamlessly from topics that feel intimate (and often vulnerable) to those that feel routine and even mundane, easily going from level 1 (routine topics) to 5 (highly vulnerable topics) effortlessly. “Women have high agility for emotional intimacy”, he said. He took his pen and drew lines up, down and back again on the women's 1-5 scale.
He then turned to me and said, have you ever noticed how your partner goes from 1-5 on a physical intimacy scale lightening quick? Blushing I responded, yes. “When it comes to physical intimacy, men have the same agility women do on the emotional side.” Again, he drew lines up, down and back again on the men's 1-5 scale.
“And that’s the problem” he said. "To create authentic connection, you have to connect at level 5."
There it was....the start our of #Level5Life story.
Over the years we have realized the times where we have engaged in pursuit of level 5 conversations are the times we have felt the most connected, authentic and ALIVE!
Over the past few months we have felt pulled to talk more about this journey, tell the stories of our experiences and share the tools for a #Level5Life with others. We believe it is possible to live your entire life at Level 5. Not just with your partner but with all the people in your life.
Ready for the bad news? There are no shortcuts or hacks to get you there quickly. It isn't easy and some days you just won't feel like doing it. Truth is, some days it just doesn't happen.
But when it does? Those days are magic.