This Valentine’s Day – instead of the standard flowers or chocolates, try on FULL COMMITMENT! We may complain an awful lot about how difficult it is to get our kids to put down their phones, but let’s face it – most adults have the same difficulty disengaging from technology. These small devices are getting in the way of our marriages and important relationships. Just notice the next time, you are out for dinner and the couples around you. They are not engaging with one another, they are interested in gazing at their phones. Robert will often say to me, why don’t you go over to them, tell them what you do, give them your business card and get them to turn towards and face each other? Like me, he knows how disconnecting it can feel when a partner is distracted and more interested in what is going on with their device. Hurt feelings can often rise which breeds discontent, anger, resentment resulting in movements of turning away. This leads to lasting problems for intimacy and connection and a decreased level of dissatisfaction in the relationship contributing to more feelings of anxiety and stress. What is more important, by not being present with one another, you are not attending to one another needs.
It is no surprise, that many people are dissatisfied in their relationships. Devices rank as high as financial problems, sex and child rearing problems. Looking at your phone, basically says, you are not important to me. So, what is the obvious solution? Put your phone down and turning it off is the best way to express your full commitment and gift your gift of presence. Some strategies to help you do this are:
ESTABLISH TECH FREE ZONES
Keep technology out of the bedroom and the dining room. Make it a hard and fast rule that there are no devices at the dinner or on our date night.
FIND THE MUTE BUTTON
Keep your phone on mute when you’re spending time with your loved ones. This can help you stay immersed in the present moment rather than distracted by an incoming text or email. Turn notifications off to help keep your attention fully present.
CHOOSE PARTNER OVER FACEBOOK FRIENDS
Getting the latest update from your social network can help you reconnect with current and former friends, but don’t forget who is number one. You may have many friends on your Facebook, but having a real loving connected partner truly gives us pleasure and helps us to feel tethered. As for those friends, keep the relationships real by having face to face interaction.
MAKE YOUR PARTNER A PRIORITY AND PUT THE TIME IN
Relationships take work and effort. Leaving a garden unattended, the weeds become overgrown and chaotic. Most couples don’t spend enough time with each other or communicate very well. Take a Relationship Retreat or spend time reading a love letter you wrote to your partner to re-ignite the spark of love. Spending real time… quality time enhances our well-being and restores our feelings and connectedness. Who wants to be an IPAD widow anyway?