“Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and to feel connected with others. Instead, we often contract, fear intimacy, and suffer a bewildering sense of separation. We crave love, and yet we are lonely.” Sharon Salzberg
A beautiful soul named Lori reached out to me this week and the email started like this, “I just opened the door for a conversation with my husband…through text of all things because he and I have never been much to communicate….I asked him if he was happy. I asked him if he thought our marriage was salvageable…”
I understand why we believe it’s easier to communicate through text. After all, you get to think about what you want to say and not be put on the spot, feeling like you need an instant answer. Also, you get to talk at the other person, saying what you want to say without interruption or distraction.
But there’s so much missing in a text or email; things like tone and body language, things like touch and eye contact. We automatically shorten all that we might say because we don’t want to type it all out. And we edit what’s on our hearts because we’re thinking about how our partner will receive and react to the message.
Sure, technology makes our lives easier and it absolutely keeps us more plugged-in, but not necessarily connected to one another. Text is great for when and where to pick-up the kids, but not for questions like, Are you happy in our marriage? We are slowly, but surely, losing the ability to connect with one another on a deeper level.
I read a provocative article this week written by Anthony D’Ambrosio on braininspired.net that proposed that this type of constant communication with those we’ve pledged our lives to is another version of cheating on our spouses.
Through my coaching practice, the one thing that women tell me they want more than anything else that they do not currently have in their marriage is an intimate connection. They don’t know how to have it with their current husband, so they’re considering divorce. An intimate connection may not be something they’ve lost along the way, many have never had it…but they somehow crave it and believe it’s possible.
But even if you leave your marriage and find someone else, if you don’t learn how to really communicate with the people you genuinely love, why would the next relationship ultimately look and feel any different than this one?
I used to have a client that told me, “I don’t know what my wife means when she says she wants a more intimate connection. She says we don’t talk, but we talk all the time.” But he also admitted to the majority of their conversations take place through text.
The rate of troubled marriages, unhappy relationships, and rates of divorce continues to rise, but at some point, we have to look at our behavior and what’s our role in this.
The one gift we can give to the most important people in our lives in our time and undivided attention.
We think we’re good at multi-tasking; we’re not.
We think we’re present with our children while we’re helping them with their homework while checking social media; we’re not.
We think our marriages can be sustained without real, face-to-face, heart-to-heart communication; it can’t.
It’s time to put our phones down, turn away from our tablets and laptops and open our hearts in our relationships.
It’s time to be brave enough to tell each other what’s on our hearts and minds.
It’s time to look each other in the eyes and have the important – even difficult – conversations with those we love.