Our day-to-day lives are absolutely saturated with technology, from the email inbox at work to the smartphone in your pocket, TV shows in the DVR, new levels to beat in your favorite video game.
It’s all too easy (and common) to get absorbed into this digital world nowadays, and it isn’t even always for entertainment or distraction. So many of our jobs, our hobbies, our communications with friends and family, are hinged on these technological devices – so much of what we do is dependent on staring at the screen.
The problem is, though, that when we’re sucked into Facebook (no matter how important the conversation), or compulsively checking our phones for sports updates or new notifications, we’re (to some degree) ignoring the “real world” around us in favor of the digital world at our fingertips.
- It’s easy to get distracted by technology. Remember to focus on what’s really important!
And this is a very real problem, not just for couples, but for all social relationships. Have you ever been sitting at dinner, and all around the table people are fidgeting with smartphones instead of talking to one another?
This is hardly an ideal way to spend time with others.
So what can we do about these technological distractions?
First, we have to recognize them as distractions! We have to make this distinction between our physical relationships and our online relationships. We’ve got to remember to put the people closest to us (physically and emotionally) first.
Second, replace those technological pastimes with something else, something more “real life,” at least in part. We’re not asking you to throw your phone out the window or to smash your television set, just recognize the fact that they are taking you away from the very real things happening in your immediate life.
Is there some community project you can work on instead of watching your evening TV show? A craft you could work on with the kids instead of playing Candy Crush? Instead of that conversation in your favorite online forum, have that conversation with your spouse.
The problem with being hyper-connected at every moment, to every corner of the world, is that we lose sight of those short-distance connections sitting right in front of us.
There are small steps we can all take to break the cycle of techno-obsession though, like just leaving your phone in the other room during dinner. For TV, try to stick to the shows you know you like and want to see, and cut out the aimless channel surfing.
Taking a few small steps to break the habits already formed will show you that you don’t actually need to check every time you get a Facebook notification. You don’t actually need to beat that next level – you just want to. The world doesn’t fall apart if you miss an episode or don’t check Twitter.
Technology is here to stay, and it is a marvelous and important way to learn about the rest of the world, to stimulate our imaginations, to stay connected with people abroad, to meet people who share our interests… but it can’t be so intriguing that we let it take away from the lives we actually live – in the real world, with real people that we can see and touch.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com