It's funny when you do a little research into the history of technology and what people thought it would do for us, our jobs and our lives as it advanced. I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the general perception early on was that technology, and specifically computers, would provide us with more time to spend with our families and in leisure activities because our jobs would be completed quicker. How has that worked out for us?
The exact opposite has happened. Technology has only heightened and increased the competition among businesses and increased our work loads. No only has our work load increased but now it follows us around no matter where we are because of cell phones, Palm Pilots and Blackberries. Not only are people getting home later from work but work seems to follow us there and rings or vibrates throughout dinner with our families.
This is something that Melissa and I have really struggled with over the past year.
I love my cell phone and tend to be on it a lot. I actually forgot it at home today and all day I keep grabbing for it and looking for it. You don't realize how much you actually use something until you don't have it.
My phone, up until two weeks ago (I'll explain the change in a moment), has been a huge point of contention in our marriage because I would get home and instead of paying attention to Melis and talking to her I would be constantly checking my phone. Writing texts to friends or youth group kids, checking my personal or work e-mail, checking the Red Sox scores and latest news or simply playing solitaire. I even would take my phone to the bathroom with me if we didn't have any new magazines.
Basically, I was acting like I was married to my cell phone and my constant need, addiction really, to constant information and contact. I was having an affair with my Palm Pilot!
Melissa has been talking to me for a while about this and expressing how much I was hurting her with my constant attention to my phone vs. my lack of attention to her but I am stubborn. I would always just excuse her feelings and tell her she wasn't being realistic. "I need my phone with me at all times!!"
What happens if a kid is having a crisis and needs me? What if there is an e-mail about something important going on tomorrow? What if someone needs to get a hold of me? What if the Red Sox come back in the bottom of the ninth and I'm one of the last to hear about it?
Really...all those excuses are either selfishness, pride and buying into the worlds notion of working all the time!
I really came to the realization of my addiction in Mexico. Through the teaching of the staff and missionaries, some insightful comments by some brilliant high schoolers and by my own observations of the Mexican culture and their value of relationships my eyes were open to my misplaced energy and time.
So what did I do? Well...I didn't go to the extreme of getting rid of my phone, but there is a part of me that really wants to. But instead I deleted all the games on my phone and got rid of the internet. No more solitaire...no more e-mails...no more Red Sox news. (I did this all without Melissa even knowing I was doing it by the way).
On top of that, when I get home from work I try to put my cell phone in one place in the house and leave it there as opposed to it following me around in my pocket. Some nights I turn it off as well. And you know what, it has really helped Melis and I over the past two weeks. My attention is beginning to be placed on my wife and not constantly checking my phone.
It's not completed fixed because I still get phone calls (it's our home phone too) and texts but things are much better. Partly due to the canceled internet and deleted games but also because of a little disciple to avoid the phone and love on my wife.
Now, I know I am not the only one who has struggled with this issue of allowing technology cut into real relationships. Melis and I were at a bar last week to watch the Red Sox-Yankees game with some friends and everywhere I looked were people "hanging out" but yet texting people who weren't even there at the same time. The room was half full with people just staring at their cell phone screens...sad really!
I would really challenge you to assess your technology use? Is it cutting into real, physical relationships? If so...don't let it anymore. Do something about it. Get rid of it or part of your plan and commit to not letting it take away from conversations or time with your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or others.
Ask your spouse or significant other if they feel like it's a problem.
Talk about the issue and figure out a plan to make it a non-issue!
You're relationship is worth it...
Funny quote: "I just went and bought Madden 10 and was gunna pick up condoms too but I thought that would be a pretty oxymoronic purchase."