The Struggle for Intimacy for Couples “You may find yourself living I a shotgun shack, You may find yourself in another part of the world, You may find yourself behind the wheel of a beautiful automobile, You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife, You may ask yourself, how did I get here?” – Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads “The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing How blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere They’re in each other all along.” – Open Secret by Rumi The complexity of our lives and times place tremendous stress on relationships. How can a couple find the time to nurture and develop mutual and satisfying intimacy? What creates a healthy relationship? Research shows that over half of marriages end in divorce and that regardless of the liberated 2000s, more people are having sexual problems and require medication to inspire desire. My belief is that what we are looking for and desiring is intimate contact with others, especially your life partner. If you are looking to improve your relationship with your husband or wife or significant life partner, let me offer you hope with a new way of relating that is meaningful and creates lasting emotional bonds that further your understanding of yourself and your partner. Communication between partners is a first step to build stronger and more loving relationships. After years of counseling couples, I have found that two methods have resulted in positive outcomes. The first is an emotionally focused treatment that creates a space for each person to share from their heart and open themselves to others with their most tender vulnerability. The second is a scientifically researched treatment that has powerful evidence and concrete guidelines for making a marriage work. John Gottman’s seven principles are: Maintain a love map Foster fondness and admiration Turn toward instead of away Accept your partner’s influence Solve solvable conflicts Cope with unresolvable conflicts Create shared meaning A relationship with yourself and others is at the core of the journey of a meaningful life. Love relationships provide us with a learning lab filled with opportunities to practice life’s lessons and experience personal expansion and growth. Openness, empathy and trust of a loving intimate partnership invites self-reflection and the possibility of becoming more than we ever thought we could be. Let’s start this work together.