Technological Advances Can Lead to Relationship Retreat

Person typing on cell phone

Modern families look quite different than those from a half-century ago. In the 1960s and ’70s, about two-thirds of married couples had only one spouse in the workforce— usually the husband. Many wives tended to domestic chores, child rearing, and other tasks throughout the work day. The result was that in evenings and on weekends, couples and family members had time to devote to each other without the burden of a never-ending list of obligations.

Fast forward to 2012: In nearly half of married couples, both spouses work. For couples with children, this means evenings and weekends are filled with all the pesky things that cannot happen during the week, like housework, grocery shopping, and extracurricular interests. Add to that the events and activities that children participate in, and there is little time left for couples to connect with each other and their children.

In a recent article, experts explain that the technological advances of recent years may make it easier to communicate with people, but can also lead to communication breakdowns in families. Psychologists agree that cell phones, smart phones, tablets, computers, and video games have consumed what little couple time people have today. “People are plugged into their electronic gadgets, practically every waking minute of the day,” says Barbara Koppe, a licensed social worker from St. Louis. Koppe, who focuses on family and marriage therapy, says couples are so focused on their gadgets that they don’t make time to have real, live conversations with each other. Texting and emailing may be the convenient, but according to many marriage experts, it can also impair a family’s ability to have meaningful interactions with each other. So rather than Googling “temperamental teenagers” or “distant spouses,” maybe we should put down our phones, shut off our laptops, and sit down with our loved ones. We can learn a lot more about what’s really going on in our relationships from the people we share them with than we ever can from technology.

Reference:
Antoon, Reem. Struggling relationships in a gadget era… Gulf Daily News. N.p., 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=340431

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  • barry t

    barry t

    November 11th, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    I don’t want to have one of those families that you see eating out together but never have anything to say to each other because they are all too busy puncing away at a phone or something.

  • Mark.S

    Mark.S

    November 11th, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Every night after dinner, 30-40 minutes is family time. Every night, no exceptions. I see this as a way to get the children, the wife and me to connect with each other and yes, all gadgets are banned when we are together. We just talk about our day, share a joke or play a board game. Yes it may have been 30 productive minutes but I see some family time as more productive than anything else out there.

  • Anna

    Anna

    November 12th, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    This is an extremely timely article for me. I am a married mom of two. I have worked full time for the last four years (I went back full time once my youngest started school full time). Two and half months ago, my husband’s company moved us over seas and suddenly I am a stay at home mom with 9 1/2 hours every day to get all of the domestic stuff done. It has made a huge difference in our evenings and weekend. Of course, my kids don’t have after school activities yet. That has been a great thing. Instead of taking the kids to soccer for exercise, we run together at night. When I got home from work, I was so done with people that usually we just ate dinner in front of the TV. We have eaten dinner while watching TV only one time since moving, and at least we were all together then watching the same show. And, even though the kids don’t have after school stuff yet, we usually don’t even watch TV except on the weekends.

  • ted n

    ted n

    November 12th, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    I have a hard time believing all people did was spend time together in the 60’s and 70’s. There may not have been as much technology but asking me to believe that everyone sat around and sang kumbiya at night is asking a bit much.

  • Laken

    Laken

    November 12th, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Say what you want, but it’s my family’s job security. I want to have a job and be able to pay the bills? Then I have to be available to my boss and so does my husband. I think, I hope, the kids understand why we have to do that sometimes. I realize that it’s not necessarily ideal but you do what you have to do to make it work.

  • PH

    PH

    November 12th, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    Well any technology or anything practically could be misused and its ill effects would ensue.The solution is moderation and being in control.As long as technology is in your control you are fine but as soon as you are under its control that’s when things can get difficult.

  • latasha

    latasha

    November 12th, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    this topic needs more focus.ridiculous to see how so many young people,and even middle-aged people readily ignore the person in front of them,not pay attention to the conversation they could be having and yet be engrossed in talking to or texting someone miles away.

    This has a bearing on family life too.That is the reason why the dining table and family times are strictly no-cellphone zones in my house.The kids need such discipline or they will just ruin even the few personal interactions they still have.

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