Everyone knows we’re living in the digital age. Many of the consumer driven technological advances are in electronics. That means that there’s an abundance of electronic gadgets out there for whatever your pleasure is: Music players, e-readers, laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, etc.
For a lot of couples these gadgets are great. It gives them a way to keep in touch with each other in ways that they weren’t able to just a few years ago. But for more and more couples they cause problems. Instead of couples spending time together at night talking or doing projects together, more and more couples are spending their free time ‘plugged in’.
The problem with this is that it can cause distance from each other at times when the couple would otherwise be spending time doing something together. Instead of talking to each other about how their day went, they’re facebooking it to all their friends and family. And instead of discussing what’s coming up this week with each other, they’re checking their smartphone to make sure there are no other conflicts on their calendar.
Even as a therapist, I’m not perfect at this. My wife even tells me she learns new things about me through Facebook before I tell her myself.
When you’re logged in, you’re often connected to a broader network of friends, family and e-acquaintances on your social sharing pages. These online relationships (even with real friends and family) only imitate real life relationships. The reality is, being logged in is a solitary exercise – you only need yourself to do it. And online relationships do not adequately replace the range of emotions that come from time spent face to face with someone doing something together
As a result of getting fulfillment from connecting with others online, you’re not reaching out to get the same connecting fulfillment from those physically around you. So while spending time online can feel like it’s time spent connecting with others, you are often neglecting those physically around you as a result. And nowhere does this happen more than in your marriage. So instead of reading a book together (like you might do before wi-fi was invented) you’re on your e-reader browsing suggested titles. Or instead of talking with your spouse about your day, you’re posting it online with other friends and family.
Instead of finding something to do electronically every night to occupy your time, try spending time away from electronics for a night or two a week. That means no TV, no smartphones, no tablets, etc. Try it and see what happens. It might feel awkward at first but after a couple of nights you’ll start to find things to do with each other. And you’ll begin to connect in ways you’ve never connected before (and I don’t mean online).