In today’s increasingly plugged-in world, couples are finding themselves spending more time on their computers, tablets, laptops and smartphones than they are with each other. A recent article by counselor and New York Times best-selling author Ian Kerner suggests that if you’re trying to salvage your marriage, you may want to sink your smartphone.
The article, called “Your smartphone may be powering down your relationship“, says that too much time on your smarthphone, or being on your smartphone at the wrong time, can ruin intimacy and drive you apart.
Technology allows us to be constantly connected to the world, but it can also make us even more disconnected from each other,” says Kerner. “In fact, two recent studies show that cell phones can have a negative impact on close relationships.”
Kerner cites a study from the University of Essex which revealed that people who engaged in personal conversations when a cell phone was close-by, even if neither person was on the phone, reported less trust in their partners and less relationship quality overall. They also said that they felt their partner was sympathetic to their concerns.
In other studies, says Kerner, it’s been shown that people have trouble living in the moment because of cell phone use.
So what should couples do if they’re concerned that their smartphones may thwart their efforts to salvage their marriages?
Kerner says that one of the first rules should be that the cell phone is turned off and kept out of site when couples are on a date or trying to have some quality personal time.
I also recommend shutting down phones, tablets and laptops at night, or at least charging them in a room other than your bedroom. Not only can they interfere with your ability to relax and unwind, but their distracting presence can also put a real crimp in intimacy,” Kerner advises.
Kerner isn’t completely against cell phone use; in fact, he says that cell phones do have their place in a relationship.
If you do want to connect online as well as off, consider joining a digital service that helps foster togetherness. Best described as intimate online spaces for just you and your partner, programs like Between or TwoCup offer a place to share private memories, messages, and photos — away from the prying eyes of others.”
He also says that engaging in a little cell phone or text flirting can be a good way to keep the fires burning while you’re apart, especially if one of you is away for an extended period.
Smartphones aren’t the devil and you don’t have to give yours up just to have a healthy marriage. However, putting your smartphone in its place may be one of the best things you can do to salvage your marriage during a rocky time.