Relationships are different these days. In the age of technology and social media, screen time has its way of wedging its way between partners, making it difficult to stay connected – and I mean connected in an emotional kind of way, not a likes-all-my-posts kind of way.
Ask yourself if you are guilty of the following:
- scrolling through your phone next to your partner in bed
- checking out social media when out to dinner
- playing on your phone when hanging out on the couch together
If you identify with any of these behaviors, know two things: you are not alone and there are ways to break these patterns.
Schedule screen-free time together
No TV, no laptop, no tablet, and no phones. Make this the rule for special, designated times together. Perhaps that means on movie night phones will be shut off and stowed away in another room or they stay in the car when you are out to dinner. Maybe, instead of eating a homemade meal together in front of the tube, you shut off the electronics, light a candle, and entertain one another with conversation. By agreeing on mandatory screen-free time together, you can truly reconnect.
Work on a digital project together
Since technology has become such an integral part of our lives, it’s going to touch our relationships – but this isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. By finding a project to work on together, you can use technology as a tool to strengthen your bond. Some ideas could include creating an online photo collage of your favorite moments together, editing a video to send to long-distance family members, or creating a blog or website detailing your cooking adventures.
Get creative with texting when apart
If you scroll through your texts with your partner and the only messages you find are “plz pick up bread,” “I’m on my way,” and “okay,” it might be time to mix things up. While you’re at work or otherwise apart from one another, try devoting a day to communicating only through picture messages. This opens up creative communication opportunities and will give you something to laugh and talk about when you see each other again.
Don’t skimp on verbal and handwritten communication
If it feels like a lot of your communication is text-based, make an effort to change that. Just like scheduling screen time, making a routine out of sitting down to talk to one another without distractions is healthy. So is communicating in other ways, like leaving handwritten notes, gifts, or drawings for one another. And, don’t forget the importance of communicating through physical touch, as well.
Get out and see the world together
So much of the world is brought to our screens every day – the good, the bad, and definitely the ugly. If we are oversaturated with devastating news and world events, we can lose sight of hope and happiness – and this could end up affecting us on broader levels. Be sure to purposefully take time out with the one you love, away from news and current events, to experience the stuff in life you can’t get from a website or a tweet. Go hiking, explore a new part of town, crack open a cookbook, hop in the car and visit your grandparents – do what it takes to feel connected with the rest of the world and, in turn, with your partner.