relationship communication Posts

3 Ways to Combat The Dangers of Technology to Relationships

Let’s face it. Technology has crept up on us rapidly and changed the face of our relationships with each other in just a few short years. Of course, it has its positives and I would not want to do without my computer, ipad and iphone. However, it is not just kids who have challenges in balancing technology, adults too have their challenges with technology, particularly in the area of relationships.

You may notice that you are increasingly unwilling to let a text sit without responding to it no matter what is happening in your family. There is certainly research evidence building that social media involvement builds discontent. Certainly, when couples each spend what used to be time together and now becomes time away on their computer device, distance is created, even without intention. When texting with your partner, especially if you try to discuss a pressing issue, the danger of miscommunication is an everyday difficulty. The building of couple resilience, attachment and connection takes time daily and it is difficult enough to come by that time without the insistent call of technology. So what are some things you might do about this that will help you to build fences around your relationship in regards to the influence of internet technology.

  1.  Set aside a time for yourself and assess your own life and the balance of technology. Ask yourself questions about time and how you are spending it. Does the amount of tech time align with your values? If you spent less time on the internet, what would you want to do with that time? What do you need to change personally?
  2.  Sit down together as a couple and hear each other regarding where you think the boundaries need to be around technology and the current irritations you feel around each other’s use of technology. Each couple relationship will have different needs in this regard. Come to this table discussion with an open mind and heart, willing to come together, taking both of your needs into account. Get agreement on what changes you want to institute and then support one another in that.
  3. Assess what has  been lost by your use of technology. For example, have you lost touch with a good friend who does not text or a family member, such as a great grandmother who does not text? What about your children? I often see mom’s texting while walking their child, where in other times there would be lots of communication with the child on a walk. These are just a couple of examples of loss that creeps up on us. When you become aware of this, you may want to commit some of your tech time to other forms of communication that leads to a re-connection of these losses that you may still value.

Some things that other couples have tried and found helpful are to have no tech times such as meal times together. Also having a place in the house where everyone drops their devices when it is a family or couple time or time for shutting down for the day can be an important habit.

The rapidity of change in technology makes it important for you, your relationship and your family  to  do this reassessment every 3 months or so in order to live your life according to your personal values and meaning. Go forth and be wonderful in this!




3 Ways to Embrace Your Differences in Relationships

Part of making your relationship work is to be able to embrace your differences. Continuing to try to change your partner or look at their different personality characteristics as flaws will keep you in a power struggle. So how  to change this?

1. Just because you have differences does not mean that you both do not need to be heard. Use your voice to let your partner know how you feel and listen well with understanding to hear what they feel about your challenges together. Use ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ in your conversations together to be inclusive. As you have experienced, there are even differences in the way people naturally communicate in relationships. Make sure you can articulate exactly how your partner thinks and feels about the issues you struggle with. Even if you have argued about the same difference for a long time, check out with them periodically that you still understand where they are at. Continue to have an attitude of curiosity about your partner. Allow the differences to be something quirky  between you instead of a fault. If possible, find some humour in your differences. Wouldn’t that be a change from your current fighting stance?

2.Listen to your partner’s complaints – allow the differences to be there and be open to making compromises in all kinds of ways. Brainstorm moving together on the challenges. If you are great a starting things and your partner cares more about finishing, can someone else help with the finishing? Have a team approach to the challenges. See your strengths and voice each others strengths.Acknowledge the differences and how they need to be dealt with. Don’t bury your head in the sand. If it matters to your partner, it matters. This need not be conflictual – these are most often personality differences.They can also be birth order differences. Look out for these in your relationship, acknowledge them and work within them.

3. Take a personality test together and see your differences on paper. I find when I do this with couples it really helps with understanding and takes some of the power struggle away from between the couple and puts the challenges on the outside of the relationship which helps to move to a team approach. I recommend the Meyers Briggs Personality Inventory.If you are not able to see a professional in your area to do this test, you can do a version of that for free online  at which gives you the basics in each type. Or you can contact me and I will send you a list of characteristics and an example of the ways differences in personality characteristics can get in the way of relationships. Click the contact Lynda link.

Remember when you are in a committed relationship with anyone, you have chosen a set of challenges together. Some of these challenges will be resolved fairly easily, others will be resolved over time and some will not be resolved but you will learn to live well around them.

Endings…Freeing Yourself Emotionally, Add Health to Your Relationship

As we near the end of the year what have you left undone?

Finishing things leaves you freer emotionally. And who doesn’t need emotional energy to manage our lives these days. Some things can be finished, not just by doing the activity to completion but by re-evaluating whether it needs to be finished. Not finishing is not necessarily failure but smart when you have re-evaluated and need to use your energies for more relevant pursuits now. We not only have activities or goals from ‘to do’ lists but also emotional goals as well. Some emotional loose ends need to be forgiven and let go. Make a list of things you are still hanging on to and spend some time resolving these right now. Provided that you have had some understanding on both sides what the issues have been, decide that you will no longer bring them up in the new year. Forgiveness is a head decision and through decision and practice, you can be free of your old baggage (if this seems like an outrageous idea, you may need some help in counselling to make this happen for yourself). You can bring health to your relationship communication in the new year – just by this one idea that you decide to put into practice. You can start with a new slate and not carry your emotional baggage into the next year. Go forth and be wonderful. Cheering you on!

Marriage Communication – Are You on My Team?

There has been lots of emphasis in my marriage counselling recently on the idea of couples wanting to be on the same team. Establishing the idea of team early in the relationship is very helpful but it can still be hard to sustain the idea of team in relationship over time. Somehow in the stresses and disappointments in a day, it is much easier to separate emotionally and consider that the other has poor intentions towards the relationship. This is a choice you can make in your relationship. By making the choice towards holding the belief that your partner has good intentions, you are part way to the place of understanding and team. When something goes wrong on a hockey team, the team members do not automatically go to bad intentions towards their team mate. The team goes back to the drawing board to work out how to do better as a team the next time. The team mate who made the mistake, practices more and endeavours to change themselves. When you choose to have a mindset that believes in your partners good intentions, you can have a conversation that allows you to look out for the holes in your team and work out how to be a better team the next time. You can brainstorm how to make changes individually and as a team to strengthen the attachment together, and know that it is “you together” against the world. Peace and strength to your house!