With a little self-empowerment, our relationships can thrive in spite of this distracted digital age. Learn all about the magic of conscious connection.
It seems somewhat of a paradox, but the more connected we become, the less connected we become. In our modern world, it’s easy to blame our problems on technology, but it’s hard to deny that the friends sitting around the dinner table, staring into their phones, are more connected with their digital lives that they are their physical realities.
In our quest for efficiency and demanding that everything happen at the click of a button, our ability (along with our desire) to communicate with one another has been dramatically impacted. Our reliance on email and text messaging has replaced our need to make a call and has virtually eliminated any need for human contact. The ease of working remotely means office water cooler chat is becoming a thing of the past.
While that might all be great for a productive work-force, when we look at how this impacts the social interactions we have on a wider level, it’s not such a positive outlook. Our comfortability with our digital world compels us to constantly search for an outlet which will let our instant gratification receptors dance with glee.
Why would we engage in life in the real world, when the entertainment our phones provide allow us to mindlessly float through life for hours?
Connection & Communication
It’s not a new concept—one of the pillars of a happy relationship is communication. But, it’s perhaps not too difficult to fathom that communication in couples is becoming a dying art…and relationships are suffering for it.
It follows a natural process—as couples become comfortable with one another, the desire to impress decreases while the ‘true Self’ is revealed. But nowadays, all too often, that ‘true self,’ is a distracted one. And whether you’re working from home or simply social media stalking, although your physical bodies may be touching on the couch during a Netflix binge, your mental and emotional identities are taking more and more strides apart.
Think about anything you’ve ever been successful in. Whether you’re a sports star, you landed a promotion at work, or you did something small you were proud of, I’m willing to bet a conscious effort on your part went into it. You didn’t achieve success by mindlessly going through the motions, being distracted, and not thinking about what you were doing, right?
The same goes for marriage, or any relationship for that matter. Relationships take work to succeed and without conscious communication, the fundamentals of a successful relationship are being foregone. The psychological effects of this connection break-down can be immense, inevitably leading to an unhappy relationship and an ultimate break-up.
The tragedy is, we often can’t see it coming.
Picture this. You and your spouse are sitting on the couch. The TV is on, but you’re working on your laptop and he’s tapping away on Facebook. You ask, “What do you want for dinner?” He doesn’t answer. You ask again. He answers, “Whatever,” not really thinking about your question, and goes back to what he’s doing.
Then, while you’re making dinner, hubby comes to grab a drink and asks, “I think we should paint the wall in the lounge blue this weekend.” You’re still thinking about how much time you’ll have after dinner to finish that presentation before you have to go to bed. You hear him speak, but don’t really listen and say, “yeah, cool”
At dinner, as you both eat, you watch him eat his dinner, while a creeping feeling of resentment trickles into your mind. You think, “I’ve made him his dinner and he hasn’t even asked me how my day was.” Meanwhile, he asks “Where should we get the paint from?” to which your confused facial expression reveal that you have no idea what DIY project you’ve agreed to.
**Hands up if you can relate!**
The truth is, there are a thousand different versions of this scenario, but they all, sooner or later, bring up feelings of discontent in a relationship. Sometimes, you just can’t put your finger on what it is, but the underlying communication issue is almost ALWAYS—in part, at least—to blame.
So, how do you get out of this rut and make an effort to save your relationship?
Before you start, making a commitment and agreeing to work together is necessary to make this successful. The ability to make progress comes from treating one another equally, the willingness to share concerns with one another freely, and an openness to the process.
Couples who communicate—which means listening, observing, and touching, as well as just speaking—are bonded in a way that is incomparable to those who don’t share or are not open to receive.
Here are five simple ways that consciously connect and strengthen your relationship:
Practice Awareness with Each Other
The first step is identifying your ‘unconscious connection.’ Notice when your partner hasn’t listened because their mind is elsewhere. Train yourself to break the silence when you’re both focusing on your phones. Activate the “Screentime” app to give you a reality check on how much time you’re spending being distracted.
But—and this is the most important thing—don’t just silently notice. Make it known that you’ve noticed, whether the culprit’s your other half or you. Fair warning, this can get annoying. You don’t want it to cause any arguments, so make it a game. Maybe a forfeit is given to the offender. Maybe you stop the behavior with a kiss. You decide!
Set Aside a Time to Connect
It’s not easy to implement a new lifestyle and change old habits in an instant, so set aside a time to sit and talk. It’s as simple as that. You don’t need to make it anything too intense, just let it flow.
By opening up your channels of communication in this way, you’re setting yourself up for the times when the serious stuff needs to be talked about. Not only will you both be better equipped to deal with the situation when it arises, it’s likely you’ll nip it in the bud much sooner than if you didn’t have these open lines of communication.
Say These Three Things EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
No matter how busy you are, you can say these three things.
#1 “Good Morning, how did you sleep?
#2 “How was your day?”
#3 “Good Night”
Bonus: “I love you.”
Now, these are pretty self-explanatory. They seem so simple, but what you’re really communicating when you say these three things is, “I care.” And isn’t that all anyone wants to hear?
Make the Bedroom a Device-Free Zone
The bedroom is for sleep…and a connection of another kind. Apart from our communication skills, did you know that tech is also sabotaging our sex lives? Couples lie in bed, mindlessly scrolling, and by the time they realize they’re tired, any hope of physical intimacy goes right out the window.
Physical touch is so powerful to make us feel loved and desired. Without the preoccupation of your device, what other option is there to either talk to each other or have a snuggle?!
Recognize the Rut
If all else fails, make sure you are prepared to speak up if you’re falling into old ways, if you’re not connecting, or if you’re still not getting what you need out of your conscious connection efforts.
Sometimes couples need a little push in the right direction if their ability to connect has been on the blink for a while. Couples counseling can be an extremely powerful tool for getting you back on track.
Now it’s your turn to consciously connect and see how it can transform your relationship.
About the Author
Jennifer Craig loves love! Whilst in her own long-distance relationship, she began SurviveLDR to help other long-distance lovers thrive in their relationships. It was then that she became fascinated with love and its effects on everything in our lives. From physical, emotional, and mental health to career, friendships, and happiness, the state of your relationship affects it all…and Jessica loves nothing more than to delve into the inner workings of dating, marriage, and love!