We seem to intuitively know that building a bond takes intention and attention. You set aside time to date your partner, you take time to have a conversation, you keep phones away or on silent. You focus on your new love and limit distraction. You probably wouldn’t dream of talking on the phone or skimming your instagram feed on a first date. You don’t just get to build a bond with your partner, then sit back and coast. It’s a daily practice to nurture and maintain a relationship bond. Phones often gets in the way of the necessary attention to keep your relationship healthy! We're so busy paying attention to email and social media that we can inadvertently stop paying attention to the people in front of us. It’s easy to get lulled into comfort and complacency, but it’s that lack of connection and attunement that underlies a lot of conflict. So here's some practical tips to help maintain that connection and limit some conflict by putting away your phones.
1. Make mealtimes phone-free times. This is good even if you're dining alone to practice mindful eating, but it’s especially important if you're with someone to use that time to connect, laugh, and share in the experience of the meal.
2. Establish a phone free schedule. I suggest turning off your phone/tablet/laptop the hour after you get home from work or the hour before bed. Use that time to talk and connect.
3. Add activities together that are incompatible with having phones out. This can be a walk in nature, playing tennis, sex, playing board games, etc. Do something together that encourages you to be present and connected and active.