Choice is not always a blessing. As it has often been said, "with choice comes responsibility."
I recently went on a weekend road trip to a hot springs retreat center in a very remote location. As my husband and I started to drive on the dusty and winding road, cell phone reception worsened and, within moments, the words "No Service" flashed on my phone screen. Every time I glanced over at my smart phone and saw the two words, I felt a strange mix of nervousness and joyful relief.
I had no service and no choice. "To tech" or "not to tech" was not the question.
My lack of choice made me acutely aware of the choice we do have in our daily lives. It reminded me of the daily myriad of decisions many of us, technology users, face every day at home or while with love ones. We mostly have the choice, conscious or not, to decide if or when to fire up our computers, to switch our phones on or off, to turn to our gadgets... or to our partners.
The Impact of Technology on Relationships
Decades ago, this type of choice was not as imperative, or as relevant. However, technology use has become so pervasive that if we fail to consciously exercise our power of choice today, the automatic impact of technology on relationships will choose for us. The mesmerizing power of the gadget will prevail.
A new Telenav study revealed that a third of Americans would prefer to give up sex for a week, rather than their cell phones. A recent British study by Ikea showed that couples are spending more time in bed looking at laptops than looking at each other. According to a report by Spring Technology, an IT recruitment company, "70 per cent agree that checking work emails while on holiday damages relationships." You get the idea.
We are becoming so dependent on our gadgets that relationships are increasingly taking the backseat.
Whatever the origin of that impulse to turn to tech rather than to each other, it comes with a cost. Relationships need to be fed to stay healthy and thrive. Time and attention are fertilizers.
Needless to say, we may need or want to use technology while with our loved ones. Sometimes, technology can bring us closer together. The key, however, is to choose consciously.
So every time you are about to turn to a digital device rather than to your partner, stop and ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) What motivates me to turn to technology in this moment? Need, enjoyment, compulsion, avoidance?
2) Will tech use bring us closer together or further apart right now?
3) Looking back at my life from my death bed, will I have any regrets about my gadget use?
Choose consciously. With lack of choice come consequences.
Plug into your relationship. Fire up your quality time. Switch on the love.
PS - My husband just walked over to my home office computer, and asked me, "Do you want to take a walk when you're done with that article?" I consciously answered, "Yes!" and smiled to myself. Let's see what kind of choice I actually make...