Relationships aren’t getting much help from technology. According to NPR’s Judy Carter, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month didn’t have any tech devices that could help couples.
While there were some devices that could be fun for families, there weren’t any devices that could specifically help your relationship, Carter said on NPR.
That’s why couples often turn to experts. One of those experts is Dr. Karen Ruskin, author of “Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual” who recently posted some helpful tips for married couples on our Facebook page.
The four tips, which come from 40 or so other tips featured in her book, give readers some help on how to pay more attention to their partner, even if it means losing out on technology.
Focus on your spouse
There are some subtle things you can do to help your marriage, Ruskin said. You can make eye contact with your spouse to let them know you’re paying attention to what they’re saying, Ruskin wrote.
“For example, do not communicate with your mate while your eyeballs are looking at your phone and texting another,” Ruskin wrote. “Rather, stop your tech moment and engage with your mate fully.”
Similarly, Randi Zuckerberg, former Facebook executive and sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, encouraged couples to unplug from their devices to spend more time with their significant other, according to Deseret News National’s Kelsey Clark.
“Technology has given us unprecedented opportunity to connect and share. While this is a wonderful thing, we also need to remind ourselves that a life truly well lived is not a life constantly buried in a smartphone,” Zuckerberg told Clark.
Reach for your spouse, not your phone
Ruskin’s next tip is simple: choose your spouse over your smartphone.
“Each morning when you awake, instead of reaching for your phone to see what emails came in overnight as your first thing, rather reach over to your spouse,” Ruskin wrote. "Give him or her a hug, a kiss, and tell your mate how special he or she is to you.”
Doing this may help you make technology less of a third wheel in your relationship. New York Magazine reported that 42 percent of American couples compete with their partner’s phones for attention. The report also said 18 percent of couples have argued because of their time spent online. You can avoid this by cuddling up with your spouse instead of clicking through your emails in the morning, Ruskin wrote.
Make time for intimacy
Ruskin said couples should make time for emotional, physical and sexual intimacy in their marriage, instead of spending time online.
“There's no room for Twitter, Facebook, emails and texts while you are interacting with your mate with those three aspects of intimacy,” Ruskin wrote. “And, remember, the top of the stool for these three legs is engaging communication providing trust, if you want the marriage to be strong, not wobbly.”
That may be a good idea for married couples to follow. After all, a study from Oxford University found that couples who use their smartphones a lot don’t have great sex lives, according to the UK’s Daily Mail. The study surveyed 24,000 European couples, who said they felt smartphones caused conflict in their relationship, which hindered their sex lives.
Technology can be used to your advantage
Ruskin said couples can also use technology in a positive way — from a short text you send to your spouse to a quick phone call. This is something I wrote about towards the end of last year. Couples can send simple text messages to their loved ones to help keep their relationships fresh.