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Building Connection

Technology and Relationships: To Connect Or Disconnect

Technology is neither helpful nor hurtful for relationships; it is how we choose to use technology that determines whether we harm or help our relationships. We need to examine whether we are controlling our use of technology or we are allowing technology to control us. If we allow technology to monopolize our time and attention, our relationships will suffer from disconnection. Technology can be a tool that challenges relationship in the following ways:

Technology
Technology

Miscommunications happen all the time in relationships, but miscommunication is exponentially increased via text message. It is too easy to misinterpret or assume the tone of the message.

It is far easier to be cruel to a loved one via text or email. Angry, hurtful words can be sent off in seconds, without the opportunity to see the effect those words have on others.

Not being present when we are with our loved ones is a dangerous use of technology. When we give more of our attention to our computer, phone, television or electronic games, than we give to the people around us; we are seriously eroding our relationships.

If we choose to control our use of technology it can help us connect with our loved ones. Technology can be an aid to strengthening relationships in the following ways:

Facetime, Skype, ooVoo and others can help us feel close, even when we may be half a world away.

Electronic calendars and reminders on phones can help us remember important events, dates and times. We can help ensure that our loved ones feel remembered and cared about, by setting reminders ahead of time to send cards or purchase gifts.

Receiving and sending a kind, thoughtful, funny or loving text, email or phone call throughout the day can help us feel connected when we are busy and apart.

Technology makes it easy to display photos of loved one; photos of fun and treasured moments, as screen saver or phone background, can bring a smile to our face and help us feel close.

As wonderful as technology is for helping us connect; virtual intimacy can never replace actual intimacy. We need the eye contact, the touches, hugs, smiles and time together. Take a few moments to evaluate whether your choices around the use of technology are helping or harming your relationship. Choosing to use technology wisely can help build and strengthen our relationships. Allowing technology to consume and distract us from our time together has the opposite effect.

Building Connection

Connection

Connecting with your partner lays the foundation for any intimacy, including sexual intimacy. Consistently building the connection between the two of may be the single most important thing that you can do to improve the quality of your relationship.

Ways to build connection include:

Eye contact

It may sound simplistic, but think about it, how often in the past week have you had any sustained eye contact with your partner? Making eye contact with your partner lets him/her know that s/he has your undivided attention. Remember that staring can seem confrontational. Practice making eye contact with your partner in a loving way. Flirt a little, enjoy.

Time Together

Spend time together. Plan for it. Make it a priority in your life. There should be times when everything else; including work, children, parents, or friends; takes second place to your relationship. Take time to have fun together and enjoy one anothers company.

Talk

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Talk to each other. Everyday, find some way to talk, even if it has to be through email or texting. Reach out and make that connection. If you feel like you have nothing to say to each other, start small. Talk for a minute at a time and talk about something fun. Think of something interesting that has caught your attention and tell your partner about it. Tell him/her a joke that you have heard or describe something funny that happened to you. With a little bit of effort you can rekindle that desire to talk to each other all the time.

Listen, Listen, Listen

When your partner wants or especially when they need to talk to you, if at all possible, stop what you are doing, give him/her your attention and really listen to what they are saying. The gift of a listening ear will help your partner feel much more connected to you. And who knows it may even make him/her more apt to listen when you want to talk.

Sharing

What should you share with your partner? Everything. But remember there is no need to be hurtful when sharing with your partner. Share your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams, your fears. Share your time; share YOU.