I often hear couples complaining that their husband or wife is more in love with their phone than with them. It is easy for any of us to get sucked into the exciting world of our screen and miss out on the real life that is happening right in front of us. It is definitely good to make a commitment to put down your phone, but there are also ways you can use your phone to improve your relationship.
Having the Wrong Priorities
A few days ago I was going through the bedtime routine with my 5 year old, Lucy. We got her pajamas on, brushed her teeth, washed her face, and read a couple of stories. As I was tucking her in she asked me if I would lay with her for a few minutes.
I was laying next to her and sort of rolled over and turned my back to her. I got on my phone and was trying to hide that from her. Of course she figured me out right away and asked why I always had to be on my phone. Busted.
Then she said, “That’s enough screen time for today, Dad.”
Using Technology for Good
I know I do the same thing with my wife. Although we should all make an effort to put our phones away and concentrate on our family, I also think phones can be helpful to your relationships too.
The key to determining whether you are using your phone in a way that is going to improve your relationship is to ask this question:
Am I using my phone to interact with the people I am with or am I using it to zone out?
This is a funny video of how to not use your cell phone in your relationship.
The following are 6 ways you can use your phone to interact with people around you and improve your relationship with them.
- Have Fun with Snapchat
I recently started using snapchat and it can be really funny. If you haven’t tried it, I would recommend downloading the app and playing around with it a little. It has various options that appear on your face and move around when you do. It is so cool. You can choose from something like a dog or princess to wearing a crown.
Another fun thing about it is that you can easily take pictures and videos and add text right on top of them. When you send them to someone they can only watch them once or twice then they are gone forever. How mysterious and exciting.
- Play a Game Like Heads Up
You could do this with just your spouse, the whole family, or even with a group of friends. It is a game where you choose a category and then put the back of the phone against your forehead with the screen facing out. A word appears on the screen and everyone else on your team has to get you to guess the word.
It is definitely a lot different than getting lost in your own cellphone world. Everyone in the room can get involved.
- Take Selfies
Whenever we go out on a date or are even just hanging out at home, I have really been trying to make a goal to snap more selfies. My wife makes fun of me for it, but she also laughs and enjoys having a little record of our date.
Embarrassing yourself in front of your spouse is always a good way to improve your relationship.
- Make a Slow Motion Video
Slow motion videos are so cool. Check to see if you have this feature on your phone. There are a lot of ways to get creative and have some fun with this.
- Get the Bitmoji App
If you don’t have this already, you definitely need to get it. This app connects with the texting capabilities on your phone. First, it allows you to create a cartoon character of yourself. Then, you can choose from about 100 choices of pictures of your cartoon character doing and saying different things.
There are options such as “I love you,” and “thinking about you” but also “WTF,” and “Daaaaaayuuuuum” and your little cartoon character has an expression to match. These are great for sending a quick text during the work day if you don’t have time to call.
- Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook Together
This is pretty self explanatory, but I think it can be a very good thing for couples to do to feel connected. When you are watching and reading the same things it gives you so much to talk about and inside jokes to tell each other.
You could do this when you are physically together or just make a plan to listen to the same audiobook or podcast in your own time, but during the same timeframe as each other. This can be very helpful for long distance relationships.
I’m sure I’m super behind on the times and a lot of these suggestions are like so 2015, but I hope that you got at least one new idea that you can try soon to help you and your partner to connect and improve your relationship. With working hard, feeling stressed, and everything that needs to get done in life, it is easy to forget to have fun with your partner.
Your phone can be a great tool to use to bring some more fun back into your relationship.
Shane Birkel is a counselor with offices in Dover and Portsmouth New Hampshire. He specializes in working with couples and individuals with relationship issues. For more information check out shanebirkel.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-852-3654.