There was a time when face-to-face human interactions thrived. We loved to look each other in the eyes and have wholesome conversations. We looked forward to talking about our day. We were eager to express our feelings to others in person and feel the genuine sympathy/empathy that came from our listeners. Life was much more social, engaging and fulfilling. Nothing felt better than being able to effectively communicate with others in their physical presence.
Then entered technology and “social” networks.
With the introduction of technology and more specifically, “social” networks, natural communication became dysfunctional and irrelevant to our everyday lives.
What does this have to do with marriage/relationships?
I’ll tell you. The communication bridge between husband and wife (especially newer, younger couples) has quickly begun to deteriorate. Technology and “social” networks seem to have replaced our ability to communicate to our spouse with a short attention span that causes us to shut our spouse down. Instead of our attention being focused on our spouse, it gets focused on television, our cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The urging desire within your spouse to have a genuine conversation with you, gets rejected with your desire to stay in tune with what everyone is doing on social media.
Let me give you a prominent example.
The last time you were in a restaurant, I’m pretty sure you noticed a handful of couples sitting together at various tables. What were they doing? I wouldn’t be surprised if you answered either:
A) They were both on their phones; or
B) One of them was on their phone while the other looked hopelessly in the distance.
This is the sad reality that we face today. We’ve become so engaged with the online world that we’ve become disengaged with the one we claim to love. Things like this don’t just happen in public. They happen right at home as well. Imagine sitting at home on the couch with your spouse. You’re dying to tell him how your day went. You say something like, “Babe, I had a long day today. You won’t believe what happened.” His response is, “Oh, really?” His eyes are glued to his cell phone or television screen. You notice this immediately, but hope he’ll give you his attention if you keep going. You proceed to tell him about your long, stressful day – but all you get from him are short answers that really translate to: I’m not really interested. If you’re lucky, you get a few quick glances from him, but that’s all. It seems as though whatever he sees on his screen, has much more importance and interest than what you have to say. It might not have been necessary for you to imagine this scenario, because it might’ve happened to you before — plenty of times. As I stated previously, things like this happen all the time.
Note: I used “he” and “him” in the above scenario, but of course this goes for both genders.
This lack of communication reveals why your physical presence isn’t enough.
Being physically together, doesn’t mean that you’re close together. Let me rephrase that. Being in the same room, whether sitting on the couch or at the same table in a restaurant, doesn’t indicate that you’re spending quality time with your spouse. Your communication and engagement indicate whether you’re spending real quality time with your spouse. The lack of communication obviously proves that you’re not.
So how do we fix this lack of communication?
To the offender:
You have to realize that giving more attention to technology/social media can be very damaging and hurtful. By choosing social media over being engaged and spending quality time with your spouse, you’re insinuating that what others have to say through social media is more important than what your spouse has to say. You become just a roommate, rather than a husband or wife. You can’t have a genuine relationship, without communication. Relationships are established and built on communication. When you met your spouse, she had your undivided attention. When you first saw him, you couldn’t do anything but talk to him and gaze into his eyes. That’s how things should remain. If your spouse desires to talk to you, you should have the desire to put away your social media and provide your undivided attention. Make eye contact and pay attention to what your spouse is saying. Provide sympathy/empathy. Make your spouse laugh and forget about the cares of this world. Whatever your spouse has to say is far more important than what your “friends” on social media are saying/doing. Show your spouse that at all times.
To the victim:
Don’t just remain silent on the issue. If you want more attention from your spouse, let him know. If you want to spend genuine quality time with her, let her know. Your significant other needs to be aware that their short attention span towards you is hurtful and reduces the quality of your relationship. Communicate your concerns and desires. If your spouse loves you and cares, he/she will be willing to change their priorities for the sake of your relationship.
Technology and social media have made a negative impact on relationships. Spending too much time on them can be detrimental to your marriage/relationship. Today, you must choose to spend quality time with your spouse and be engaging. Your spouse needs you to be an effective communicator and listener. Without those qualities, your physical presence will never be enough.
Make your physical presence count today!
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