When the screens get between you – reconnecting with your partner

When the screens get between you – reconnecting with your partner

Are you in a closer relationship with your screen than your partner?

If your partner asks a question during the TV ad break, and your phone notification sound goes off at the same time , which do you respond to first? I will be honest here. I will usually reply to my husband while checking my notification. It’s an automatic action and he hates it.

Screen time is eating in to our quality time. Is this happening to you?

The “Screen-Free Time” experiment

I’m a phone junkie and hubby is a TV junkie. So the idea of allocating “screen-free time” for ourselves was quite challenging. When we come home from work we sit down and have coffee and a biscuit and chat about our day. We used to have the TV on at the same time and we’d both check Facebook and show videos to each other. Not anymore. Now we decide that coffee time is “screen free time” – a full half an hour of no TV and no looking at our mobiles.

It’s amazing how often we reach for our phones to “check something”. Weather, confirmation of a stated fact, what’s happening around town this weekend. Every day one of us reaches for our phone within the first 5 minutes. Then we realise what we’re doing and stop.

How did things change?

Since we started this experiment we have noticed a difference in the way we communicate with each other. We have more energy when we chat to each other. We are tired at the end of the day and it’s tempting to just sprawl out across the sofa and watch trash. But knowing that we have half an hour dedicated to relaxing in each other’s company, we started finding new topics to talk about.  Instead of just “how was your day?”, we talk about history, politics, cookery, match-making, and archery. It’s a curious new world of conversation every afternoon!

What did we learn?

We improved our listening skills. Knowing that we had to fill the half an hour with nothing but talk, every day, after fairly unstimulating hours at work, we took our time when talking, listened carefully and asked each other questions. It’s a slow-paced conversation, but it is detailed and engaging.

We learned more about each other. Coming up with new questions to ask every day led us to some very unusual questions. Why we chose the subject we chose in high school. Who we looked up to as kids. Debates about how good/useless we would be at running a B&B. It’s been quite enlightening!

We felt more relaxed because we actually unwound properly. Talking slowly, thinking slowly, responding slowly. Not thinking ahead to what else needs to be done. With a self-inflicted restrictions on what we can do, we simply had no choice but to chill. And who better to chill with than the love of your life 🙂


Do you practice screen-free time? How does it work for you?



2 thoughts on “When the screens get between you – reconnecting with your partner”

  • Well written. It’s strange that while technology has shortened distances, it has also sort of inserted a gap between us.

    • I suspect it is also limiting our ability to be flexible and compassionate. If you disagree with someone you communicate with online, you can easily cut yourself off from then and find someone else to engage with. But you can’t do that in real life. Screens become a way to avoid conflict, and instead become not only another reason conflict exists, but habit that reduces our opportunities to develop skills in conflict resolution. As a life-long conflict avoider I’ve found that my phone is a wonderful way to retreat from the world, but I have to challenge that complusion if I want to be a better person who is more skills and conversation, compassion and negotiation.

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