Is life more manageable because of your partner? Do you ever feel upbeat and rejuvenated after spending time with your spouse? Does a reassuring word from your loved one bring you comfort and peace?

Intimate relationships have the power to make you feel happier, energized and more alive. These experiences stem in part from the emotional intimacy and closeness you feel with your partner. Because counseling works in a similar fashion, it's helpful to look at it in this context.

In some regards, your relationship might not be so different from therapy:

There are many different forms of psychotherapy, and each therapist has his/her own unique style. This means that if you seek counseling and work with ten different therapists, you will have ten very distinct therapy experiences. Would one type of therapy be more effective than another? Not necessarily, because there is one feature all therapies and all relationships share.

Out of all the therapeutic approaches, the most healing experience of therapy arises out of the connection that develops between you and your therapist. While therapists are skilled at nurturing this type of therapeutic connection, the conditions that form this type of bond are not unique to therapy. In fact, you might already act in ways that create this type of intimacy in your own relationship.

Two ingredients necessary for emotional intimacy:

Therapists create a powerful connection by:

~ Showing unconditional acceptance.

~ Communicating an understanding of a client's deepest struggles.

When these conditions are present, the relationship becomes therapeutic, and healing can take place. Why is this so important? Because we all need acceptance and understanding from another human being. When these vital ingredients are missing from our lives, we can not reach our full potential.

1. Send the message of unconditional acceptance to your partner

Important parallels exist between your relationship with your partner and the kind of relationship formed in therapy. Unconditional acceptance creates an atmosphere of safety; it allows you to let down your guard and truly be yourself, trusting in the security that you will not be judged or criticized--this condition is essential for emotional intimacy and a healthy relationship.

Once your guard is down and you feel secure, you're able to become fully authentic and vulnerable with your partner. It is vital that you and your partner create conditions that allow mutual vulnerabilities to surface. It's the communication of these shared vulnerabilities and the experience of mutual understanding that allows a meaningful and deep connection to form.

You create an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance when you suspend judgement of your partner; you open yourself up to his/her uniqueness, quirks and the differences that exist between you. While you may not agree with everything your partner does, the message should be that you accept her/his essence, despite the differences and disagreements that arise in all marriages and relationships.

2. Show your partner that you understand him/her

Nurture intimacy by communicating an understanding of your partner's core vulnerabilities.

We all bring emotional vulnerabilities into our relationships, areas of our psyche where we feel totally raw and unprotected. These core vulnerabilities usually house our deepest hopes and fears, aspirations and longings. Just a hint of criticism is enough for you to quickly cover up and guard these parts of yourself. Our deepest pain occurs in these areas, as well as our most rewarding connections with others.

You and your partner's core vulnerabilities stem from the emotional injuries of childhood. The hurt and pain we inevitably suffer on the road to adulthood leave emotional scars that we all bring to our adult relationships. When you learn about your partner's life, the triumphs and failures, listen closely to where s/he felt most alone and pained. Communicate an understanding by validating how difficult it must have been. And don't stop there. Continue to validate the struggles your partner currently faces. When you see the world through your partner's eyes (even if your reactions may be different from his/hers), s/he will feel understood and closer to you. This is where intimacy begins.

There's no denying that your marriage or relationship has the power to lift you to heights you haven't imagined and drop you to lows that you never dreamed of. When you make unconditional acceptance and mutual understanding a regular part of your relationship, you sow the seeds of intimacy and your marriage enjoys a deep, fulfilling attachment.

To discover more relationship tips, visit http://StrengthenYourRelationship.com/ and sign up for Dr. Nicastro's FREE Relationship Toolbox Newsletter.

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 psychologist and relationship coach who is passionate about helping couples protect the sanctuary of their relationship. Rich and his wife Lucia founded 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