So as you’ll recall, last month I wrote about two of the major ways technology can screw up marriages in Troubled Marriages and Technology (Part 1). And to be completely honest, it was a heavy conversation. This month, as promised, I want to talk about some of the ways that you and your spouse can use technology to further your connection, or even rekindle it!
Truth be told, there appear to be far more resources and experts out there talking about how technology, and specifically things like social media and the internet, are taking their toll on relationships. Last month, I added my own voice to the chorus. At the same time, I want to let you know that it doesn’t have to be that way. The Internet, your iPhone and twitter account in and of themselves are not negative.
Believe me, as a military spouse who has endured deployments, the Internet has been a major blessing for my family. A Facebook message from my husband could leave me grinning ear-to-ear for a week at a time. And last year when we spent several months apart due to a training assignment, Skype/FaceTime chats allowed us to interact in a more dynamic manner. Suffice it to say I’m a firm believer that when utilized in the right manner, technology can help couples maintain and even strengthen their marital bonds.
Marriage Affirming Uses of Technology
1) Playful Flirtation
Remember when you were dating/engaged or first married, and there were those “little things” that each of you would do for the other? Perhaps it was a little note left where the other person would find it, or flowers for no reason at all? Not wanting to get off the phone (You hang up first… No, you hang up first!), or driving massively out of one’s way to visit?
Those things were great, weren’t they?
Well now you’re married, and if you’re like me, your life has gotten busier over the years. Kid stressors, school stressors, work stressors have weaseled their way into your life, and taken up way more time than you ever intended. Scheduled date nights and sexy time are great, but you miss the everyday romance.
Technology-Facilitated Fix: The Text Message
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15 years, you may be familiar with a little gadget known as a cellphone. You more than likely have a feature on it called “text messaging”. In addition to its practical uses, such as reminding your spouse to pick up milk on the way home, you can also use it as a tool to infuse little romantic gestures into every day life.
Picture this: You’re having a really stressful day—whatever that looks like for you—and in the middle of that stress, all of a sudden your phone beeps indicating you have a message. You check the message, “I love you, (pet name)!” Are you smiling at the thought? I am. Some how in the middle of a hectic day, hearing from my husband seems to make everything a little more manageable. The next time you’re apart from your spouse, and a loving thought about them crosses your mind—please let him/her know! Romance doesn’t have to entail huge gestures!
Other options include snapping pictures of things that make you think of them, or even a picture of you and sending them along.
2) A Wealth of Knowledge and Resources at Your Fingertips
This second tip is one that I think should be a “no-brainer” but at the same time, a staggering number of people email me, Facebook message me, text me asking how to go about creating a thoughtful or romantic experience for their partner. I’m flattered they think to ask me, but the truth is—the answer is already at their fingertips, and it’s the source for probably 99% of the ideas I’m going to give them. The answer? “Google it!”
Technology Facilitated Fix: Google.
Yes, seriously. I don’t mean to sound glib. The answer really is that simple. If you want an idea for creating romantic evening for your spouse, cooking a nice dinner, or topics of conversation to get you guys talking again—look no further than the Google search bar. I’m guessing that’s how you stumbled onto EM.com to begin with—at least that’s how I first found Dustin’s page!
If you’re feeling fancy, you can also check out Pinterest. Many people, including myself, have created specific boards full of romantic ideas, quotes and tips. You can check out my Couples Therapy board by clicking on the link.
3) Status Symbol
You might recall that in Part I of this article series, I mentioned how Facebook posts taking vague (or not-so-vague) digs at your spouse were definitely NOT a good idea in terms of helping your marriage stay healthy. Neither is implying that you’re getting divorced every time you have a fight by changing your status. You’d think I was talking about teenagers, right? But I assure you, I’ve seen full-grown adults with jobs, kids, careers and even graduate degrees behave in this manner.
Technology-Facilitated Fix: E-go Fluffing!
Despite the fact that the older we get and the less our worlds seem to revolve around our Facebook statuses, social media provides a wonderful outlet for gushing about your spouse in a positive manner. I call it “e-go fluffing.” Something I hear over and over again from married folks is that they fear they’ve become dull or boring to their spouses. Some even feel taken for granted.
While social media cannot begin to undo the totality of those thoughts or beliefs, sharing that you’re going out on a date night, or hanging at home with a cheesy movie can be a fantastic way of communicating your happiness. Reveling in your partner’s accomplishments on a semi-public platform is also great for bolstering positive feelings.
“Out celebrating my brilliant wife and her new job!”
I particularly love when people gush about each other on their anniversaries—
“11 years ago today, I married my best friend. What a road it has been! I’d do it all over again, just to be with you.”
—Seriously, how cute was that? (And yes, that was a real status I saw a few months back). Again, these are little gestures to compliment some of the more complex and time-consuming tasks of rekindling a marriage. At the same time, I’ve yet to meet a person who didn’t enjoy seeing/hearing/reading that their partner was proud of them.
So there you have it—3 Ways to Utilize Technology to Rekindle Your Connection!
1) The Text Message
2) Google It!
3) E-go Fluffing
Now it’s your turn! I want to hear from you in the comments! Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any other uses for technology that really seem to help out your marriage? The EM community wants to know!!!
Image Source: Courtesy of FreeDigitalphotos.net and anankkml (photographer)
E.J. Smith is a Nationally Certified Counselor, motivational speaker, writer and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse. She is also the face (and mouth) behind SimplyEJ.com. Born in New Jersey, and transplanted to Texas, this self-professed holistic health nut enjoys a wide variety of athletics, reading, and cooking. Raised Catholic and the wife of an active duty Marine, E.J. uses introspection and pragmatism to help readers create loving, fulfilling relationships from the inside out. Follow EJ on Twitter @SimplyEJS