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Marriage in a 24/7 world

Last week my hubby was furious with me. Every time he wanted my attention, I was glued to my cell phone, texting or deleting email. I'm not really a workaholic but these smart phones are so addictive. Yet, marriage therapist say they see an increase in spouses who feel lonely, ignored by a spouse who is physically there but mentally in cyperspace.

As I point out in my Miami Herald column today, in the 24/7 working world, our spouses have to compete with a computer screen for our attention. The good news is that couples are figuring out how to deal with this infringement on romance...mostly by setting boundaries.

For advice on marriage in the digital age, I turned to one of my favorite relationship experts, Joel Block.

Block had two especially great tips:

1. Become more efficient at being intimate: "If you are putting on your socks in the morning, say something about the day ahead, but speak from the heart about your worries or hopes."

2. Treat your partner like your boss, turn away from your screen and make eye contact. To communicate your needs as the spouse who wants attention, don't nag. "Make a plan to spend time together. That's much better than the blame message," Block says.

3. Meet your spouse where your spouse is. For example, if your spouse is addicted to his BlackBerry, communicate with him throughout the day by email. If your spouse loves to text, send romantic text messages.

4. If you want one on one attention, ask for it. Sometimes all your spouse needs is a reminder. Of course, that may mean sending a text -- from the next room!

5. About.com says find things your spouse enjoys to do to tempt your partner to put away his iPhone and enjoy time together.

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