We have all seen it at least a time or two – a couple out to dinner, both of them with their noses buried in their phones instead of talking to each other. This is the kind of behavior you would expect from a teenager, but it is surprisingly common among married couples as well. Technology is a great and wonderful thing, but it does have the potential to do some damage – don’t let it damage your relationship with your spouse. Time: Quality vs. Quantity
When you are spending time with your spouse, it is important to make sure that the two of you are actively engaged. Sitting in the same room as each other is not the same as spending quality time together. Whether you are surfing the web or your partner is watching television, distraction can drive a wedge between even the strongest of couples and it takes a certain degree of intentionality to make a relationship work. The more time you spend in the company of your spouse without actually being with them, the more likely you are to become disengaged. It is too easy to fall into a pattern where your relationship takes place at the surface level and this can be a path to some major problems. Take Time to Engage
It may seem silly at first, but consider setting aside 15 minutes a day to engage your spouse in meaningful conversation. Asking each other about your day or discussing the details of the day’s plans is not the same as having a conversation with your spouse. Intimate conversations involve sharing your feelings, your hopes, even your disappointments. Even if it feels like extra work to have this kind of conversation with your spouse, it is definitely worth it. Start with 15 minutes a day and make a plan to spend some quality time together on the weekend or on your next day off. Even doing something as simple as sitting down for a meal together instead of sitting in front of the television can make a difference. Go on a Date Now and Then
A date does not have to be extravagant or expensive for it to be meaningful. All you really need is you and your partner and some time for the two of you to be truly engaged with one another. If you have limited time or you don’t want to leave the house, try cooking and enjoying a meal together. Play a board game or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Try to avoid the temptation to talk about meaningless, surface-level things and make an effort to really check in with each other and to ask the tough questions. While it may take some extra effort at first, it will eventually come to be something you look forward to.
Maintaining a healthy relationship can be challenging at times – it is not something that just happens without any effort. As easy as it is to shut yourself off from the world by turning on the television or by playing with your phone, it is worth the effort to unplug and reconnect with your spouse on a real, intimate level.