Caring for Your Family

Each family is unique and built differently. Family can be related to us or chosen, and we may find family in unexpected places. Regardless of what our family looks like or where we find our family, it is important to put care into our relationships. Take time to focus on your relationships and strengthen your family!

Set Aside Tech Free Time

Though we have focused on finding ways to connect with your partner through technology, it is also important to set aside technology-free time throughout the week. Talk to your partner to identify moments during your day or week to unplug and spend time together. This can also be a conversation you have while setting boundaries around technology within your relationship. When you make an effort to spend quality time with your partner without the presence of technology, you can increase intimacy and connection within your relationship. This time provides a space for you to check-in with one another and talk about any challenges you may be facing or any joys you’d like to share together. Ask each other about your needs or ways that you can best support one another during these moments! Some ideas of moments you can use to set aside technology free time include during dinner, before bed (if you’re living together), and during weekend events or getaways.

Common Interests & Quality Time

Technology can be a great avenue to discover common interests and spend quality time with your partner! When you use technology with the intention of sharing what you are engaging in with your partner, you develop an opportunity to learn more about one another and create shared memories. Using technology conjointly presents moments for intimacy through laughter, joy, sadness, and even physical touch (Campbell & Murray, 2015). Maybe you or your partner enjoy watching movies or funny videos, playing video games, reading online blogs, or connecting with friends and family through social media. Share these interests with your partner and encourage them to do the same with you! For example, you and your partner could find movies, TV shows, or video games that you enjoy watching/playing and discussing together. We encourage you to think of ways you can use technology to share things about yourself and create space for togetherness in your relationship!

References

Campbell, E. C., & Murray, C. E. (2015). Measuring the Impact of Technology on Couple Relationships: The Development of the Technology and Intimate Relationship Assessment. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 14, 254-256. DOI: 10.1080/15332691.2014.953657

Check-in On Your Partner

You can use technology to be intentional about checking-in with your partner during stressful moments or life challenges. It can be difficult to keep up with our own schedule along with staying up to date with your partner’s schedule, especially if you’re both extremely busy. However, with technology, you can set reminders on your phone to help you check-in on your partner when you know they have an important event, such as a big presentation at work or a job interview. You can give your partner the extra support they may need during these moments by sending them a text or giving them a call with kind and encouraging words before their big event!

Gratitude, Encouragement, & Love

A great way to use technology to build connection and strengthen your relationship is to send your partner text messages expressing gratitude, encouragement, and love! When you send kind and encouraging messages, you are showing your partner that you care about them deeply and think about them throughout the day. This promotes love and intimacy and demonstrates your support for one another! We encourage you to send your partner a text expressing love, encouragement, and/or gratitude at least once a week. 

Set Boundaries Around Technology

A key aspect in using technology to promote connection in your relationship is to set ground rules and respect one another’s boundaries. Have a discussion with your partner about how and when technology should be used within your relationship. Here are some questions to help guide you through this process:

  • Are there certain moments where it’s okay to be on your phone and others where you expect each other’s full attention?
  • Are there shared activities using technology you and your partner will engage in?
  • Will you set aside moments that are technology free? If so, when and what will that look like?

Once you set ground rules and boundaries surrounding technology in your relationship, be sure to check-in with one another periodically to see if things need reevaluating. Keep in mind that it’s normal for your boundaries to change over time!

To learn more about setting boundaries in your relationship, check out our blog post titled “Set Appropriate Boundaries.”

Phubbing & Couple Relationships

In today’s blog, we will be exploring the phenomenon of phubbing and examining how it can affect your relationship with your partner.

What is phubbing?

Phubbing is a combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing,” meaning to be snubbed by someone who is using their phone while spending time with you (Roberts & David, 2016). Phubbing may look like one partner disengaging in shared time with the other partner to use their cell phone (Roberts & David, 2016). Many of us were probably familiar with the experience of “phubbing” without necessarily knowing the technical term for it. We’ve all likely experienced being ignored or neglected in favor of a cell phone at some point in our relationships, and many of us may also be able to think back to a time where we were the perpetrators of phubbing in our relationships. It can be easy to phubb or be phubbed, often times without even knowing it, due to the increasingly intricate role technology, and smartphones specifically, play in our lives. We have access to so much information and entertainment at our fingertips, and we are able to instantly connect with the larger world. It’s hard not to look to our phones for instant gratification and fulfillment, especially during challenging moments, where it can feel like an escape from life’s stressors. However, it’s important to recognize that when we choose to engage with our phones instead of our partners, we are losing out on opportunities for connection and harming our relationships. 

How can phubbing affect my relationship with my partner?

Phubbing can negatively affect couple relationships by impeding connection and intimacy and leading to feelings of resentment and anger. When we choose to connect with technology instead of spending quality time with our partners, it can leave them feeling neglected, lonely, betrayed, and isolated. Phubbing can also result in increased levels of conflict within the relationship, as partners may begin to feel resentment and anger toward one another due to the harmful role of technology in their relationship. 

How can I avoid phubbing in my intimate/romantic relationships?

None of us are perfect, and it’s inevitable for us to experience phubbing within our relationships – whether we are the one doing the phubbing or the one being phubbed. However, we can be proactive about trying to decrease the frequency of phubbing within our relationships. There are two key components in helping us reduce the occurrence of phubbing:

  1. We  must increase our awareness of what phubbing is and how/when it shows up in our relationships. If we are more aware of the role technology plays in our relationships, we can be more proactive and intentional about making choices that avoid phubbing. This may look like recognizing when you are using your phone while in the presence of your partner and then making an intentional choice to put it away. For example, if you’re going out to dinner with your partner and notice that you (and/or your partner) are constantly checking your phone, try turning your phone off/placing it on silent and putting it away. 
  2. Focus on using technology to connect with your partner. Research shows that when partners use technology in one another’s presence with the intention of creating a shared experience, they can build intimacy and strengthen their relationship rather than experiencing phubbing (Campbell & Murray, 2015). 

Though phubbing explicitly talks about the impact of cell phones on connection and intimacy in couple relationships, this concept can be applied to other forms of technology, as well. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, regardless of what type of technology you are using, you must be intentional about using it in a way that promotes connection and builds your relationship, instead of breaking it down. Stay tuned throughout the rest of this week as we share more tips to help you use technology to build connections with your romantic partner!

References

Campbell, E. C., & Murray, C. E. (2015). Measuring the Impact of Technology on Couple Relationships: The Development of the Technology and Intimate Relationship Assessment. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 14, 254-256. DOI: 10.1080/15332691.2014.953657

Roberts, J. A. & David, M. E. (2016). My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 134-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.058

 

Connecting through Technology: A Guide for Couples

Technology is constantly advancing and is becoming more and more central to our lives. We rely on technology for communication, entertainment, work, household tasks, and so much more. Technology has changed the way we communicate and relate to one another, especially with our ability to connect at any time and from almost anywhere through the internet. With the ever-changing advancements and technology’s increasingly integral role in our lives, it is inevitably impacting our romantic relationships, and it can be challenging for couples to navigate how to use technology in a way that promotes connection and intimacy. 

Technology can present barriers to connection and intimacy when proper boundaries are not in place. When partners choose to use technology instead of spending quality time with one another, it can decrease moments of connection, and instead lead to feelings of loneliness or resentment (Campbell & Murray, 2015). This is known as the phenomenon of “ partner phubbing,” (Roberts & David, 2016) which we will talk about more in tomorrow’s blog!

It’s often easy to talk about the negative effects of technology on couple relationships. However, we believe that while technology can present obstacles for connection and intimacy within couple relationships, if used intentionally, partner’s can actually build stronger relationships through the way they engage with technology! Stay tuned throughout the rest of this week as we expand further on technology’s role in building connection in couple relationships. We’ll be sharing some tips to help you and your partner use technology to build a healthier, more joy-filled relationship! 

References

Campbell, E. C., & Murray, C. E. (2015). Measuring the Impact of Technology on Couple Relationships: The Development of the Technology and Intimate Relationship Assessment. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 14, 254-256. DOI: 10.1080/15332691.2014.953657

Roberts, J. A. & David, M. E. (2016). My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 134-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.058