When used in excess, smartphones tend to disconnect us from eachother. Jordan Grey gives us six ways to flip this and actually strengthen your relationship.
I see endless news headlines with titles like: “Digital communication is making us more disconnected,” “We need more face to face and less Facebook” and “People texting instead of talking.”
Whatever excuses people give themselves to hide behind, I don’t buy into any of it. And even if the majority of people are letting their relationships suffer by letting technology interfere with their love lives, it’s irrelevant… because you are not most people (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article).
I can’t remember where I first heard this, but one of my favorite quotes/concepts is the idea that “You can’t curse all of the red lights if you aren’t also thanking the green ones.” So while technology may certainly bring up some small roadblocks in how people relate to each other on an intimate level, there are also some massively useful ways that it can help us in love as well (if we use it correctly).
Not only did I meet my girlfriend using technology (not online dating, but social media… and that’s a story for another day), but our relationship is improved by technology on a daily basis.
You can either embrace the change, know when to use it, and how to manipulate it so it works for your relationship, or you can be unintentional and let it become a huge, mysterious thorn in your side.
I’m going to ignore the more obvious ones (like sending flowers from anywhere in the world, Skype’ing when you’re physically apart, or meeting your ideal partner via online dating) and only tell you about the technological hacks that I personally use in my intimate relationship.
Here are the six highest leverage ways I have found to use technology to improve a relationship.
1. Shared Relationship Bucket List
My girlfriend and I have a shared bucket list where we periodically add things that we want to do.
We brain dump things like date ideas, vacation ideas, or little things that we want to learn or experience together into the document.
When we do one of the things we either cross it out (meaning we’ve done it already but would do it again), or remove it from the list (meaning we did it and wouldn’t do it again).
Having this list to refer to also means that no matter how tired either one of us is at the end of a long day at work, we always have a big list of ready-made creative solutions to the age-old question of “What do you feel like doing today/tonight/this coming weekend?”
It takes less than a minute to set up an online shared document and having it will pay dividends into your overall relationship satisfaction.
2. Use a Shared Calendar Purely for the Relationship
I recently wrote about how important putting your relationship into your calendar is, and I don’t feel like it can be overstated enough.
Whether you’re putting in entries to remind yourself to have an extended sex date, a unique date night, or a connection or communication session, your calendar is one of your best friends when it comes to relationship intentionality.
Show me your calendar and I’ll show you your priorities. Are you prioritizing your relationship enough?
3. Use Text Messaging for Good
Most people have jobs that don’t allow for extended phone conversation breaks with their lover—that’s where texting comes in.
Texts are short, sweet, and can be received and responded to whenever you each get the chance.
Sending a short, sweet “Thinking of you xo” or “Good morning beautiful” text mid-day can go a long way in reminding your partner how much you love and care for them.
4. Sexy Picture Messages
Simply put… sexting is digital foreplay.
Take tip #3 up a notch by sending sexual or scantily clad images to your partner of things that you know turn them on.
And if you’re not sure what turns them on? You’ll probably want to read this.
5. “Facebook Official”: A Psychological Mini-Marriage
There’s this super-cool sales psychology term called ‘commitment and consistency.’ It basically means that what we, as humans, commit to, we go to great lengths to then act consistently with. For example, if you tell five of your closest friends that you’re going to start shifting your dietary choices in a certain direction then you’re more likely to follow through compared to if you had just kept it to yourself (because you don’t want to look like a liar/failure in your friends eyes).
This is a part of the power of a marriage ceremony. You and your partner spend a small pile of money on your wedding and swear in front of all of your friends and family that you’re going to love each other forever. Now, psychologically speaking, because you’ve made such a big hoopla about your love in front of so many people, you’re going to be that much more likely to want to work through your sticking points in the relationship when times get tough. Because you not only made a vow to your partner, but you did it in front of a ton of people that you love and respect. You carry the weight (in an advantageous way) of your promise with you.
The same thing happens with making your relationship “Facebook official.”
By digitally standing up in front of your collective hundreds (or thousands) of Facebook friends, you are then more likely to really lean into the relationship and earn your way out if the relationship is to end at all. There’s the added social pressure of not wanting to go back on your word.
So making your relationship Facebook official is basically like getting pre-married these days.
6. Use Your Digital Notepad to Your Advantage
My brain is funny. I have a really awful memory for most things.
Want to know what I had for dinner on a certain vacation 10 years ago? I can tell you that. Want to hear tw20enty tips to cure erectile dysfunction? I can tell you that too. But if you expect me to remember when my girlfriend is getting her haircut next, you’ve got another thing coming.
I use an ongoing digital notepad to remind myself of things that my partner said, did, mentioned that she liked, or mentioned that she might be interested in doing one day.
She mentions she’s getting her hair cut next Thursday? It’s going in the notepad (and on my calendar so I can comment on how amazing she looks). She tells me that she’d love to go to Paris one day? That goes in the notepad too. She tells me that she doesn’t like cooked mushrooms or raw tomatoes? You guessed it… going in the pad.
I’m like that guy in the movie Memento. I leave notes for myself all the time to make sure that I don’t forget the things that she tells me. The weakest pen is stronger than the best memory. So if your partner tells you something that you think would be worth remembering for future use, I would strongly recommend you write it down or type it into a digital notepad as soon as you can to ensure your relationship’s health.
A bonus effect of the digital notepad exercise? You will never be stumped for gift ideas ever again. People drop hints about things that they want all the time (even unconsciously). So if you always have a running list of things that your partner loves/wants/adores, then you’ll never be stuck when their birthday or the next major holiday comes up around the corner.
That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed this post and that you can use one or many of these tips in your relationship starting today.
[image: via Emilien ETIENNE on flickr]