Developing a relationship that respects and values both people equally is at the heart of the new intimacy, in which you both get to be loved for who you really are. And it’s pretty simple to do as long as you follow these five key principles. Each one will help you be romantic every day as well as maintain a clear vision of the overall purpose for the challenges that are unavoidable when two different people join their lives together.

The greatest spiritual purpose for your being together is to assure that both of you are expanding your capacity to love and be loved.

    In every relationship there always are two distinctly different people. Historically, both people tried to get the other to match their fantasies. That’s a sure-fire recipe for heartache. In the new intimacy, both people are aware of the differences between them
    and the need to respect those differences – different feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. (We are not talking about self-destructive or abusive attitudes and behaviors like drug abuse or self-sabotage at work, or domestic violence or emotional abuse).

    Only when you accept that your lover is a gift to your life, a blessing to be cherished precisely because he or she is not just like you, only then can you begin to appreciate the richness of the special romance the two of you can share. Only then can you love and be loved on your own terms.


    You both are active participants. Neither one of you is powerless. You can’t be a totally innocent victim or the sole perpetrator. Traditionally, feelings of powerlessness were expressed through being dominant or submissive. That led to power struggles and irreconcilable differences. In the new intimacy, both people know they have real impact on each other and on their relationship so they can do the love work required to make the changes they want.

    When you are accepted and valued for who you really are, then you can appreciate the work of art you both are involved in, the daily adventure of romance that from time to time needs a little tune up or prompts one or both of you to challenge deeply held, yet limited beliefs or behaviors. There is nothing to lose and a great deal to gain, and you realize that as a partnership you are always learning more about what love has in store for you.



    Curiosity is the sweetest aphrodisiac there is. We all want someone to recognize, understand and desire us for who we actually are. So, curiosity opens the path to being truly loved. In the past, relationships were largely shaped by acting out sex-role-stereotypes. As a result, people tended to take each other for granted and sex was usually the only form of intimacy available. In the new intimacy, a sincere interest in who the other person is, how s/he is feeling, what s/he wants and needs creates a deep, ongoing connection, a way to make love out of bed anytime, everyday.

    When romance includes the ability to appreciate each other and support each other’s passions, self-expression, creativity, and impulse to grow, then curiosity will never stop. You will remain eternally fascinated with each other as unique people. That way your relationship can never become boring or stale. Quite the contrary, it will thrive and blossom, taking both of you into further reaches of what you are here to learn, and give, and bring into the loving covenant that you share.



    Because you are different, conflicts are bound to erupt from time to time. And fighting – fair fighting – can be healthy for the growth of your love.

    Fair fighting and creative conflict resolution honor the changing needs of your partnership and keep the relationship strong and growing. Formerly, conflict and fighting were a win-lose situation. That made conflict dangerous and destructive. In the new intimacy, conflict is viewed as an SOS, a warning that something needs to be attended to. So, occasional conflict is expected and can be a spur to emotional and spiritual growth.

    When you hold the well being of your relationship as your top priority, then you will increasingly honor your partner’s needs and feelings as being as important as your own. You both get to feel recognized and valued and those are fundamental aspects of finding resolution to your conflicts. That way you always feel closer and more deeply bonded. And that way conflict is merely healthy fertilizer for your love.


    Receiving love depends upon whether or not you believe you are lovable. If you don’t, you won’t be able to receive because you won’t feel deserving. When you do, the love that comes to you will be sweet and warm and completely acceptable — especially when it is different from how you expected it would be.

In the old intimacy, people hid behind the insecurity of role playing. They lived with the chronic fear that “if you really got to know me” you’d – leave, laugh, reject me, whatever. Their ability to receive love was blocked. In the new intimacy, two people are open to the
differences between them and to the fact that love is expressed in many different ways. So, love is often surprising. It comes as a teacher, healer and, of course, a deep and dear lover. And for it to be trusted as real, love must always be a reflection of who you really are.

Open your heart to give and receive more sweetly the affection, the care, and the sincere love that celebrates the very precious life you share.

Husband-and-wife psychology team Judith Sherven, Ph.D. and Jim Sniechowski, Ph.D, are the bestselling authors of The New Intimacy, Be Loved for Who You Really Are, and
Opening to Love 365 Days a Year. They named their company The Magic of Differences because embracing differences is the key to successful loving and living. As guest experts they’ve been on over 900 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O’Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at
and sign up for their free ezines.