Be Joyful in Love

Whether you've just started dating or you've been together for years, one thing is probably true - as a couple, you and your partner could always be a little closer. After all, intimacy - of the true emotional kind as well as the sexual - is the glue of any relationship. Most of us want our lovers to be the person who knows us better than anyone else in the world… and yet, in the hustle and bustle of the day to day, fostering that closeness is one of the first things to fall by the wayside.

The good news is, getting (and staying!) tight with your mate doesn't require massive amounts of time. Just follow these five little ways to strengthen your relationship bond.
Get wired together…
While our cell phones, computers and blackberries keep us chained to work and chores, we rarely use technology as a tool of romance. And yet, it's one of the easiest ways to bond with a loved one - and it only takes a few seconds.

If you want to enhance the intimacy in your relationship, make it a point each day to do a little fact exchange with your mate. Whether it's by text, email or IM tell your lover a little something about you that they may not have known, and they can do the same in return. It doesn't matter if it's that your favorite color is green or that as a kid you wanted to be an astronaut - the details can be tiny tidbits or huge, life-changing moments. The point is to exchange information that makes you feel like you know each other better. What you learn - and what you share - might just surprise you!

Unplug together…
Just as important as finding ways to incorporate your lover into your every day insanity, is occasionally removing that insanity from the times you spend together. What does that mean you ask (you workaholic!)? It means it's time to unplug.

Take one day (maybe Sundays) - or if that's just too much, one night - and power down the phones, disconnect the computer and, if you're brave, turn off the television. Try cooking or playing a board game or giving each other massages - anything that involves absolutely no contact with the outside world for a stated period of time (at least several hours). While you may find it tough at first (they call them crack-berries for a reason, after all), what you'll gain as a pair will far outweigh the anxiety - and give you a chance to recharge, as individuals and as a team.

Learn something together
Odds are that as a couple you have some common interests, so why not explore them together? Take a class in something that appeals to both of you. Whether it's a six-week workshop or a single Saturday event, the experience will give you common ground and a shared experience.

Of course participating in any activity as a team is a great connection booster, but the particular appeal of learning something together is that you both start from a similar place. In other words, neither of you is playing the role of teacher - you're both students (save the role switching for later in the night!). Whether it's wine tasting, tennis or a foreign language, the best part is, you can go home and practice together.

Mix it up together…
Remember the days of the mix tape? Or if you're too young for that, the mix CD? Well, it might sound old fashioned, but a personally tailored music playlist (whether via I-Tunes or burned on CD), can reveal a lot about the person who makes it - and make the person who receives it feel special. So make one!

Music is universal shorthand. And whether you create a mix that reminds you of childhood, or a sultry soundtrack specifically for a night en casa, the point is to give your mate a window into the way you experience life… What the songs you select bring out in your lover may reflect a shared experience - or open you up to a new set of experiences to share.

Celebrate each other together…
One of the smallest things that makes the biggest difference in happy, close-knit relationships is attention to detail. Paying mind to the little things in your lover's life (say a particular work project that's about to come to a close, a favorite sports event that's coming up, a sleepy Sunday spent in bed together) is what separates you from the other people in each other's lives. So why not make something that means a lot to your partner a little more special by celebrating it? Get tickets to that game - even if you're not a fan. Cook their favorite meal the night that work project wraps - and surprise them with it. Make Sunday the day for breakfast in bed when they'd planned on mowing the lawn as usual. They'll appreciate that you took the time to notice and the time you'll share will do wonders to bring you closer.

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