Lulls in conversation.
Connecting without the appendage of a phone in your hand.
Are these relics of the past?
A Psychology Today article reported that 70% of couples said their face to face conversations were stopped in their tracks by a partner’s phone use or active texting.
I noticed a couple across from us in a restaurant a few days ago who were texting or browsing or checking emails on their phones, or I don’t know, maybe playing games on them, the whole time they sat at their table.
They didn’t really “share” a table – they just sat at the same table.
The mere presence of a smartphone in the background degrades private conversations, making partners less willing to disclose deep feelings and be less understanding of each other.
“Love,” the PT article stated, “lurks in the lulls, in the unstructured moments of just being together – the times we are now most likely to turn to our devices.”
“The way my wife winds down before bed is to look at Facebook,” said one husband. “For me, that’s such an important time for talking and sharing the moments of the day and for intimacy, physical and otherwise. She says, ‘Just ask me and I’ll put it away,’ but that doesn’t feel very satisfying.”
Technology is like a third party in the relationship for many couples.
A Ph.D. candidate in Denmark, Aagard notes “gone are the rhythms of responsiveness and synchronicity of feelings that flow between partners which are hallmarks of satisfying relationships. What comes across is indifference. In the face of perceived apathy, partners keep restricting their responses, setting in motion a downward spiral of interaction.”
I was surprised to see on CBS Sunday Morning last week, that the I-Phone just celebrated its 10th anniversary of inception. It seems to me they’ve been around much longer than 10 years. Don’t you think?
Is that, I wonder, because they (and smartphones) are so ubiquitous now? They’ve become, as one journalist aptly observed in the story, the most universal prosthetic in the world. We often, literally feel we’re missing an appendage if we don’t have our phone.
Are they great? Certainly.
Do they help us with things we wouldn’t have imagined 10-15 years ago?
But me? I want to keep my dependence on them in check. I want to sit uninterrupted with my husband. I’d like my family to check them at the door when they visit. At least for hours at a time. And for the most part – they do. We love our time together and share such rich conversations. I’m so thankful for that.
We play games across the table from one another. We laugh. We dance. We enjoy road trips with long stretches of silence, taking in the scenery, letting conversations go where they’ll organically and often surprisingly go, remembering together.
The art of conversation is one of the richest experiences we can share.
I’m paying attention to the awareness of my desire to hang onto life’s lulls; the unstructured moments of reflection and openness to one another that feelings of closeness are built and sustained on, whether with my husband, my children, my friends, my grandchildren or extended family. They’re worth it. The connection is worth it.
Love interruptus? No thank you.
And I’d love to look you in the eye when we talk about it.