If you clicked on this blog title, chances are you or someone you know is letting technology take over their relationship. But have no fear, you are certainly not alone. We are all susceptible to the trap of spending hours on that new app, binge watching the latest Netflix offering, or getting lost in a sea of social media entertainment. Many of my clients report simply wanting to be able to unwind and relax after a long day of work and parenting, and I don’t blame you! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a little time for yourself in order to recuperate. I relish my alone time as much as anyone. However, as with most things in life, balance is key.
After sleep, your typical work schedule, parenting tasks, and other ‘mandatory’ obligations, think about how much time that leaves to do what you want. Now think about how much of that time you spend with technology versus your partner. Do you feel it’s balanced? If so, congrats on being one of the few. For most of us, this is a great struggle.
What I do know is that relationships take a lot of effort to maintain a close connection, and a relationship without connection are susceptible to attacks from outside and inside the relationship. However, a relationship that has been carefully fostered to sustain that connection is very durable and shielded from such attacks. Most of the couples I’ve seen report having a very strong connection at some point in time, which typically leads me to believe that they are, at their core, compatible. But maintaining that connection after the butterflies, the infatuation, and the electricity of the early months/years are gone, that’s the challenge. Here are a few tips on how to make sure your relationship is taking priority and not technology:
Schedule a time each night that you and your partner sit down and chat face to face. This should be a technology and kid-free time. If this is foreign to you, start small with 5 minutes. Try and find a time that works each night so it just becomes a part of your daily routine.
Use technology to bolster your relationship instead of hindering it. Do something fun with your partner using technology: find a game you can both explore together, explore relationship apps together, and text/video chat each other.
Do something active together. This can be as simple as taking a walk around the block a couple of times a week, with or without kids. Do workout video or series together (you can download these right onto your TV!). Join a sports league together. The possibilities are endless.
Engage your partner in meaningful conversation that doesn’t just include the logistics of getting through the day. Ask where they’d like to visit, what they want their career to look like moving forward, or, better yet, what they’d like your relationship to look like!
These are a few “simple” ways to take your relationship back from technology. In fact, I believe one of the reasons couples therapy is so effective is because it’s often one of the few hours in a week that couples interact with each other without looking at their phones! If the things on this list feel too daunting or far-fetched to implement on your own, give us a call or email and let one of our amazing therapists help walk you through the process of reclaiming your relationship.