The struggle to keep intimacy alive is one of the most important relationship challenges you'll ever face. And you're not alone...

"I love my husband, but lately I feel a distance between us. It's not the way it used to be…" ~Joan (married for nineteen years)

"We're just not on the same wavelength anymore. It's getting to the point where she does her thing and I do mine…" ~Eric (living with his girlfriend of four years)

"We only seem to talk about practical things: who's picking our son up from daycare, what to eat for dinner, where to go for the holidays. We never talk about us anymore…" ~ Jasmine (just celebrated her seventh wedding anniversary)

All these couples share a similar struggle: The loss of a deep connection that once grounded their marriage or relationship.

An Intimacy Primer

Intimacy is the foundation of your relationship--of all romantic relationships.

Couples often seek my help because of intimacy-related issues--they love each other but are unable to keep their deep connection alive. It is this need for meaningful connection (emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual) that drives us to find a life-partner, a soulmate. And intimacy is all about connection.

Couples are often surprised to discover that love does not guarantee intimacy. You're are not alone if a growing divide has crept between you and your partner. It's painfully ironic to be in love, yet feel disconnected; to be loved, yet still feel alone.

The good news is that you have the power to breathe new life into your relationship. The most important first step is understanding the conditions that support and nurture intimacy.

The Path to Meaningful Intimacy:

1. Show that You are Trustworthy

You and your partner need to trust each other. When intimacy suffers, it is often because trust has been damaged in some way. A lack of trust can begin with a traumatic experience, like an affair, but often it is the result of more subtle problems. Repeatedly broken promises, inconsistent behaviors (for example, your partner is patient and supportive one day, but easily frustrated and annoyed with you the next), and a lack of responsiveness to each other's needs set the stage for mistrust and the erosion of intimacy.

2. Show that You are Committed

Can you imagine feeling deeply connected to someone who openly expressed uncertainty about the future of your marriage? Would you bare your soul to a partner who eyes the nearest exit when the going gets rough? Probably not. That's where commitment, a prerequisite for intimacy, comes in. Commitment sends the message that you're both in the relationship for the long haul, not just during the joyous highs of the relationship, but during the inevitable lows as well.

3. Practice Acceptance

When you practice acceptance you give your partner the gift of unconditional love. You create an atmosphere of safety that allows your partner to bring all of her/himself to the relationship, from beauty marks to warts. A deep connection can only occur when judgmental attitudes are suspended and replaced by authentic invitations of acceptance. Remember that differences between you and your partner do not imply right versus wrong--so put the brakes on judging your partner and send the message that you appreciate and accept all the things that make him/her unique.

4. Validate Each Another

We all need to feel understood by others. One of the most powerful ways to create a bridge of intimacy is by showing your partner that you understand his/her experience. Validation makes people feel sane. It tells us that we're justified in having our reactions, that we're not alone in how we think and feel. When you make efforts to see the world through your partner's eyes, you have taken a huge step toward a more intimate and fulfilling union.

5. Develop Shared Interests

The development of shared interests is one of the most powerful ways to create a more fulfilling, intimate relationship. When you share mutually satisfying activities with your partner, you connect with him/her in a positive, meaningful way. This adds a spark to your connection, helping you rekindle the playfulness that existed early in your relationship. Shared interests and activities foster a sense of togetherness and also buffer against the daily stress and grind of life. Developing enjoyable routines that you both agree on can go a long way toward preventing problems in the future.
The loss of intimacy is a painful reality in many marriages and relationships. This is often the result of a failure to understand the conditions that allow intimacy to thrive. Use the five conditions above as a roadmap to guide you and your partner toward a stronger and healthier connection.

Are you ready to build a stronger, more intimate relationship? Visit and sign up for Dr. Nicastro's FREE Relationship Toolbox Newsletter. Once each month, you’ll receive practical tips and suggestions you can apply to your own relationship right away. You’ll also hear what other couples have done to create the relationship of their dreams.

As a BONUS, you will receive the popular free reports: "The four mindsets that can topple your relationship" and "Relationship self-defense: Control the way you argue before your arguments control you."

Author's Bio: 

Richard Nicastro, Ph.D. is a relationship coach and psychologist who is passionate about helping couples protect the sanctuary of their relationship. Rich is co-founder of LifeTalk Coaching, an Internet-based coaching business that helps couples strengthen their relationships.

Additional Resources covering Intimacy can be found at:

Website Directory for Intimacy
Articles on Intimacy
Products for Intimacy
Discussion Board
Richard Nicastro, the Official Guide To Intimacy