We live in an isolated society. The electronic age has made us into social hermits. Phones and tablets, it turns out, are just too handy to put down, which is great for replacing newspapers and TV, but there's one thing they can't replace: The human face of your partner.

Generations growing up in the 21st century are reporting more and more that relationships feel disconnected. The rise of LDR or long-distance relationships has borne this out most tellingly. It gives us one more thing to do on a glowing phone screen - and one more barrier to human contact.



Now, the rest of the suggestions here might be a cramp on your schedule, but routine daily hygiene leaves no excuse. Showering together is good, clean, healthy, fun and also very prime to lead to more involved activities. Maybe make that a romantic bubble bath together for those with the luxury of a full size tub. Even with a shower, you can scrub each other's back, shampoo each other's hair, towel each other off, and discover other intimate ways to interact.



Nothing says a positive couple with a great future ahead like hitting the gym together. You can break the trend of solitary gym soldiers isolated on their iPads or staring at the HDTV by jogging side by side on your treadmills. Or one can lift weights while the other coaches. Whether for man or woman, it's a pretty sexy experience to watch your partner stress their muscles to the limit, maybe even turning it into a little friendly competition. If that's too much for you, a simple schedule to walk every day is both a type of exercise and a chance to enjoy each other's company.



The lawn has to get mowed and the dishes have to be washed anyway. And the couple who pitches in 50/50 on the effort is happier with the longer future. So why not turn your need for together time into a time-saver and work around the house together? Even if one of you isn't that great at shoveling the driveway after two inches of snow, be out there for moral support and bring a glass of water to the one doing the most work. Remember, any couple can appear compatible at a fun night at the movies. But the real test of a relationship (http://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/ ) is whether you can withstand the drudgery of work together.



It used to be a common-sense thing that the family would gather around the dining table for supper. Now, we all have conflicting work shifts and busy schedules, so the typical routine is to run into the kitchen and microwave something for yourself, scarfing a Hot Pocket as you breeze out the door to work. Is this any way to live? Make a commitment to at least one meal together at home per week. And if you can cook together, so much better. A pasta or rice dish, homemade taco night, or a quick meat-and-veggies stir fry are all light, healthy dinners that are fun to make and enjoy.


The ten-minute rule

This is our special tip just for the parents out there. Our resident couple (married 23 years and counting) swears by this for couples with kids. Every day, both of you arrange a time and go in your bedroom and lock the door. It is now your ten-minute break. No electronics or distractions are allowed. Do not answer the phone, the door, or anything else from the outside world. It's amazing how hard this is to do! Today's society is filled with message notifications and emails from work and a hundred distractions to eat up your time. Yes, the kids can survive without you for ten whole minutes. The world will just have to solve its own emergencies for ten minutes. Have the gall to isolate yourselves together and just lie on the bed, decompose, and have a conversation. It feels like a revolution!

Our busy world is almost a conspiracy against couples staying together. As we leap from one crisis to the next, our time gets eaten until there's nothing left for each other, and then couples wonder why they grow apart. You have to fight for the chance to get some time together, but in the end it's worth a hundred times over.


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