I have to admit, I feel like this sometimes. And I haven't met a couple who hasn't brought this, or similar issues, up in therapy:
"My husband thinks that watching TV together is spending time together."
"She's addicted to Facebook."
"He's on the computer so much, I told him he should've married it!"
"All she wants to do is play Candy Crush."
We are a culture addicted to entertainment. Entertainment can be a great distraction, and help us "tune in and check out" from our problems, emotions, and unfortunately...our loved ones. So have you asked yourself lately, "How much time am I spending on my electronics, and how much time do I actually spend communicating with real people in the room?"
A study on communication revealed that 55% of communication is non-verbal, 38% is tone and pitch of voice, and a very small 7% is actual content (words). When all of our attention is focused on something other than the people in our world, they know it.
I thank my son for teaching me this lesson. When I had my first smartphone, I was constantly checking emails, responding to work issues, playing Words With Friends (ok, I still sneak in a game here and there...), etc. At the age of 18 months, my son was able to teach me what I was doing wrong and what he needed from me in one simple movement...he crawled on my lap and pushed my hand with my phone away, putting his hands on my face and made me look directly at him. He didn't have to say a word. I got the message loud and clear. From that moment on, I made a committment to myself to leave my phone on the counter when I get home from work and spend time interacting with my family.
So here is my challenge to you...
For one week, put your phones, computers, tablets, etc. away at a designated time each evening. Spend that time you would have been on your electronics talking with your loved ones, playing a game with them, going for a walk outdoors...the opportunities are endless. Then, at the end of the week, ask yourself...What was different?
Was my partner more loving and affectionate to me?
Did my kids follow directions without so many prompts or arguments?
Did I feel more loving and connected to my loved ones?
Take the challenge, and share your experience with us!