We are privileged to live in a society with ever advancing technology. So many things have drastically changed even within the last 20 to 25 years. When I was in high school the thought was that only doctors and drug dealers owned pagers. Yet today the rich and the poor alike own technology that is far more advanced than the simplistic pager. Now, while I love the convenience that smart phones, tablets and other devices provide I can’t help but wonder what impact they are having on our relationships.
When my husband Van and I first got married we were very intentional about making choices that would enhance our relationship. One thing we committed to do was to never put a television in our bedroom. We wanted to hold our bedroom as a sacred place for intimacy and communication with each other. Having been married now over 10 years we believe it’s one of the best decisions we could have ever made.
Interestingly enough, as the years went by and technology advanced the TV we had forbidden from our bedroom had very craftily found another way to enter and distract us from healthy communication. Someway somehow the TV had repackaged itself into a small compact device we call a smart phone.
Without even giving it a second thought we found ourselves spending more time with our phones than communicating with each other while we were in our designated sacred place. At bedtime my cell phone and I would cuddle up real close as I checked emails, scrolled through facebook, and caught up on the events of the day. Before I knew it I was I was too tired for meaningful conversation and I would drift off to sleep.
Van, being the techno geek that he was, wasn’t so interested in social media but nonetheless his smart phone still found a way to seduce him into its ranks. He found himself watching CNET reviews and other tech videos on his phone until he too drifted off to sleep. Our cell phones had taken the place of our conversation.
Now in all fairness there was nothing inherently wrong with either of our new found habits, but there was and is something very dangerous about it. Slowly and without notice our communication was dwindling away. Our cell phones were distracting us from the greatest tool to strengthen our relationship, communication.
Communication is a key ingredient for successful relationships. Whether it is the relationship with your spouse, child, parent, friend, or coworker, communication is key. In the busy non- stop society we live in today it is often very difficult to carve out just a few peaceful moments to spend uninterrupted with the ones we love. That is why it is so important to put boundaries around your quality time.
Thankfully Van and I recognize this and have decided to place healthy restrictions on our smart phone use. By doing this we are allowing ourselves to become more mindful of the meaningful conversations that we could and should be having with each other.
Here is the conclusion I’ve come to, if we want to live the Extraordinary Life, we must understand that extraordinary living begins with having extraordinary relationships. An extraordinary relationship with God, our families, and our friends must start with healthy communication. Therefore, if modern technology is distracting us from growing these relationships in any way it’s time that we set up some healthy boundaries.
Homework: Take a few moments and write down your activities from the previous day or even week. As best as you can identify how much time you spent doing a variety of activities. How much time did you spend on social media, watching TV, or doing any other thing for pleasure? Now compare that to how much time you spent having meaningful communication or spending quality time with the ones you value most in your life. If you discover there is a great imbalance then you should identify ways to make the necessary changes.
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