We're living in the Information Age, a time when technology is becoming increasingly more important and a necessary part of life year after year. Our children are even being exposed to information and technology much sooner and are expected to know so much more by the time they start school.
We're more knowledgeable, efficient, and aware individuals because of it. But, at the same time, it also has vastly changed the way we communicate and connect with others, thereby impacting our relationships. The impact can be good, especially when used to keep in touch with those we don't get to see very often. However, when it comes to your spouse or partner the use of technology can totally detract from the relationship in more ways than one.
Our cell phones, in particular, have the potential to be so distracting and we tend to be less productive because of it. Feeling like you have to be connected to social media or need to keep your mind occupied at all times (i.e., checking your phone and social media just to be doing something) is something you need to be mindful of and work to make less of a habit.
Below are a few things to consider in regards to the use of technology when at home or even when out spending time with your family.
1 - Recognize Your Level of Use
Recognizing that you or your spouse are spending too much time on a device (e.g., phone, tablet, computer, TV, gaming system, etc.) is the first step.
2 - Discuss Where You Each Stand
Communicating the issue and coming to an agreement as to how to be more present going forward is key.
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3 - Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries on the use of devices is the next critical step. This isn't about controlling one another. It's about doing what's necessary for the health of your relationship. Obviously boundaries that are set may need to be adjusted during any given week depending on what may be going on at school, work, church, etc. The point is to set a baseline for stepping away from devices as much as possible when you're in each other's presence.
For instance, two of our boundaries includes no phones at the dinner table, and no phones in bed at night soon after we climb in to go to sleep. We're working on putting our phones away when we're sitting on the couch watching something together or when we're out on a date or as a family.
4 - Be Patient
Being patient and understanding is vital. By now, we've created habits when it comes to using our phones regularly as a source of entertainment. Therefore, making a change to when and how much time we use them can be very difficult. Give each other time to transition and work together to form new habits that involve each other (and your children).
By lessening the engagement with devices, and using them only when truly necessary, you'll find that you communicate even more, that you're more aware of each other's needs and have time to work towards meeting them, and are closer and more intimate! I can assure you, this change will definitely make for a stronger relationship and happier marriage in the long run. I pray both of your strength as you and your partner take on this new but important challenge.
Tell me! Is this something you and your partner struggle with?!