There’s an app for everything. Whatever you’re looking to improve or learn about, you can access it on your smart phone. So what’s the most helpful option for improving your relationships?
Based on the many couples I talk to, your phone’s most helpful feature is the “off” switch.
In this day of being constantly connected, our devices are with us everywhere—including the dinner table, places we gather with friends, even the bedroom. We can be so busy about what’s going on somewhere else that we aren’t really present to the people we’re actually with.
This distractedness is damaging to relationships. The other person feels that he doesn’t matter enough to receive your full attention—which, in truth, he doesn’t have. However great you are at multi-tasking, it’s just not the same as focused attention.
Yes, we all do it. It’s hard to turn the phone off; we might miss something! On the other hand, I hear a lot of complaints from people that their partner is distracted–and a lot of enthusiasm when someone puts the devices aside: “He didn’t look at his phone during the entire dinner!”
When you choose to focus your whole attention on someone, she feels like she matters to you. Because that’s so unusual these days, it really feels special. Isn’t your honey worth it?
Even if the whole idea feels a little freaky to you, I encourage you to experiment with it. See what it feels like to put your phone on silent, in another room, for an hour. Do you feel anxious at first? or relieved? Does any anxiety increase or lessen over the course of the hour? When you later look at your phone, how much have you really missed? Many people find the idea of being disconnected uncomfortable, but the reality of it pretty relaxing.
Also notice the effect it has on your relationship. Does your partner seem glad to have your attention? Does she reciprocate (with or without being asked)? What does it feel like to be fully with each other? If you’re like most couples, you’ll find that phone-free hours (at least once in a while) will make your relationship stronger and happier.