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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Just turn it off, seriously

How many "devices" do you have? We went from being a one laptop household in December to a fully digital, electronic family in six months time. 

For Christmas I bought my wife a laptop for her to use to write her children's stories (that way I could use the other laptop to work on this blog and other projects). My brother was REALLY kind and gave us a Kindle Fire as a Christmas gift to our family (on a side note, somehow he always gets the perfect gifts for everyone, it's uncanny). We were thrilled! We now had two laptops and a Kindle Fire. What more could one ask for?

At the end of May it was time for us to get new phones. Our old ones were just getting old (we'd had them for three and a half years and they were the basic phones that just made phone calls, took bad pictures, and allowed for text messaging) so we went to the cell phone store. I decided to splurge and get a smart phone, the Samsung Galaxy SIII. It's pretty cool and I'm in love. Could it get any better?


The next week I attended a conference and won a prize. Guess what it was? An iPad mini. What?!?! Yeah, I've never won anything in my life and here I am receiving an iPad mini! I was stoked. At that point Cami and I decided we were done with electronic devices and didn't need any more.

A month went by. We were happy with what we had: two laptops, a Kindle Fire, an iPad mini, and a smart phone. We struggled along to learn how to use them, with the kids teaching us a lot, and just enjoyed being part of the "in" crowd.

Then Microsoft sent an email to the University's IT office announcing that they were running a promotion on the Surface RT: 60% off. I couldn't pass that up. I told Cami I would be buying it and then selling it to make some money. And that's what I intended to do. Now that it's here I've changed my mind.

So now we struggle with a new dilemma that millions of other couples face: how to spend time together, really together.

It’s important to spend time with your spouse but how do we find the time? Here’s a suggestion, turn it off. What is “it” that I am referring to? Anything that comes in between you or interrupts, or has the potential to interrupt, your time together. If you are in the car, even for a few minutes, turn off the radio. Don’t force a conversation but sincerely ask your spouse what they are thinking about or how they are feeling. If they don’t feel like just opening up immediately (which may often be the case) that’s okay. Leave the radio off and wait. Most likely nine times out of ten they’ll open up and begin talking. And WHAMMO! you have a conversation.

Another suggestion is to turn off your cell phones or take the land line off the hook. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been out to dinner with my wife or simply at home watching a movie and snuggling and the phone will ring. Sometimes I suspect that the world is conspiring against us because we’ll be in the middle of a great conversation or just got comfortable in front of the television and RING! So turn it off.

Close your laptop or put away your iPad or smartphone. How many times I have seen couples together that are miles apart. Each of them surfing the internet looking at different things every few minutes saying “huh” and the other goes “what?” and then they share and both go back to being apart. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this but if the goal is to spend time together this isn’t the way.

The next time you and your spouse are trying to spend time together, consider turning “it” off, whatever “it” is. You’ll actually get to spend time with each other, mentally as well as physically.

How do you and your spouse handle your devices? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. I mean, if you have too many devices, you can always slide one over this way ;)

  2. I love this! Such great suggestions! My husband & I both fall prey to watching a lot of taped TV or Netflix programs together, and this eats up a lot of our time. We also need to keep reminding ourselves to silence our cells when spending time together, on date nights, eating meals, and when having sex (no joke! I'm sure we've both gotten a number of calls during lovemaking...which of course, we've never answered, but the interruptions are annoying).


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