As my husband and I got ready to go to a movie together, I brushed my hair in the bathroom and chatted casually while he changed his clothes in our room.
After a number of sentences, I realized he wasn’t really paying attention to me.
I called to him, “Mark?”
I tried again, “Mark?”
This time there was a delay but he responded.
“Are you texting?” I asked.
“No,” he said.
But by then I was standing behind him, his cell phone in his hand.
This actually happened years ago. We had a fight that night because I’d asked him so many times before to stay present while we were alone together. Or, at the very least, to warn me when he was about to check out.
I didn’t like being under the impression that we were connecting, when in actuality he was communicating with someone else, or doing something else, which had him emotionally someplace else entirely.
And to be honest, it felt like rejection.
But now, only a few years later, I too have an iPhone that I am attached to.
I read articles on my phone in bed.
I follow people on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
And mostly, I answer text messages as expected — within the first three minutes of receiving them.
I don’t notice anymore how cell phone use distracts from our relationship.
But experts agree that it is messing with marriages, and relationships in general.
In a study performed by Brigham Young University, they found that out of the 143 married women included, the majority reported that their technology devices were significantly disruptive in their relationships.
When my kids were small, I had a “no phone at the table” policy. Now, my 18-year-old daughter has to remind my husband to put his phone away at dinner.
Cell phones are not going away, and just as with any advancement, there are drawbacks as well as advantages.
So what will future relationships that are exposed to constant cell phone use look like?
So much is changing.
For example, I used to think it was bad practice, and so I resisted, fighting via text message.
I don’t resist anymore.
I’ve started to appreciate the benefits.
Advantages to fighting by text:
1. You can’t interrupt each other.
2. You can’t yell. (Sure, you can use capital letters and tone may be an issue; but I much prefer that to screaming. If children are at home, this is an additional perk.)
3. In an effort to be concise, you address the most salient points.
4. It allows you the time and space to delete and edit, which when fighting is often a blessing.
It took me some time to come around but now when I’m putting on make-up in the bathroom, and there is no conversation, I know Mark is busy on his phone.
I don’t get angry anymore.
I don’t take it personally like I used to.
The phone beats me by a long shot:
It is a shining bright light so full of information that it never bores him. They can do fun things together and his phone is always available. It gives him complete, undivided, attention.
My phone does the same.