By: Ellen Schrier, MS, NCC, BCC, Licensed Professional Counselor
Holy Redeemer Counseling Center
Have you ever felt as though your spouse wasn’t listening to you when you wanted him/her to understand something that was really important to you? Do you find that your mate is cuddling up with his/her cell phone, iPad or computer more than they are with you?
Distractions like that can be harmful to a relationship. Although these convenience devices appear to be a necessary way of connecting with the world, they have a way of distracting us from being present to the ones we care about the most. The irony is that the better connected we are electronically, the more disconnected we tend to feel from others. Before you know it, you are drifting apart from your spouse, not even realizing how it happened in the first place. Your life may be busy with obligations and you may find that you are overbooked, overscheduled and overstretched. You could also be distracted by worry, work overload and continual interruptions, especially if you have little ones at home. Many conversations couples have tend to be spoken in sound bites and may seem fractured, not whole.
Sometimes, one partner can be more distracted and distant in a relationship than the other. It can be tempting to blame the distracted partner for the disconnection in your relationship and you may resort to nagging or name calling, neither of which gets you the desired results you want and is rarely effective. Strengthening your marriage may seem like a challenge, but it can be accomplished.
Here are some tips to help you reduce distraction from your relationship:
- Take a serious look at how you are spending and using your time. You DO have control over how you spend some of your time every day. Take some time to identify what your distractions are and develop a plan to reduce some of them from your environment. This will go a long way in restoring a loving connection.
- Learn to restrict your electronic devices usage or simply TURN THEM OFF. This is a necessary habit when learning to reconnect with your spouse. You need to make time to speak love, show love and make love. Create this sacred space in your life to lovingly connect with your partner.
- Decide how you BOTH want to spend your free time together. Spend your time together purposefully, not haphazardly. Make a list of activities you both enjoy. What were the kind of things you used to do together when you were first dating?
- If worry is keeping you distracted, eliminate it by opening up and sharing your worries and concerns with your mate regularly. The more you try to resolve problems alone, the more isolated and disconnected you feel. Share with your spouse what you need from him/her in a kind way. If you need more love, attention, time or respect from your spouse, name it and ask for it.
- Be empathetic toward your spouse. Don’t label your spouse’s distraction as a character flaw. Try to accept your spouse’s tendency toward distraction and look at the positive characteristics that he/she does have that attracted you to him/her in the first place.
- Cultivating more time and attention into your relationship is key to eliminating the negative effects of distraction in your marriage. With a little extra effort, compassion and understanding, you can reduce unnecessary distractions from harming your relationship while building more connection with each other.
Need a little more help when it comes to relationships and communication? If you’re not sure or think it’s time to consider speaking with a professional, the Holy Redeemer Counseling Center is here for you. Our team includes certified and licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, licensed psychologists and licensed clinical social workers.
To learn more about the Holy Redeemer Counseling Center, visit our Webpage or call 215-914-4190.