Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to Have an Absolutely Fantabulous Marriage in 10 Easy Steps--Unplug

Some people are good at multitasking. I am not. I'm so bad that if I'm doing anything that requires more concentration then pacing (like noticing a pretty bird outside the window or clicking a pen) I completely lose track of the conversation that I'm in. This has gotten even worse since being pregnant. Don't even bother trying to get me to answer a question if I'm watching a movie that I don't have memorized.

My husband is much better. He can send an email and talk to me at the same time. He can watch a movie and write a paper without ending up with a copy of the movie script instead like I do.

From these examples it's probably obvious that I should turn off my electronic devices, close books, put on blinders, tie my hands behind my back, etc. if I want to make my husband feel that I'm paying attention to him and that what he has to say is valuable and interesting to me. But why should he? If he's still capable of having a conversation with me, why should he have to give up Tiny Wings, work, school, or Twitter when we're talking? It's all about quality time.

When you're not willing to give someone your undivided attention, it sends the message that they are not as important as your phone, your work, your book. Should you do this to your spouse? NO! Ironically we often treat our family poorly because they have to love us no matter what, but they should be the ones we are kindest and closest to, ESPECIALLY our spouse because we got to choose that one. Your spouse should be your best friend, your one true love, and the last person on Earth you want to hurt or offend. One of the greatest ways to show your love is through quality time. Put away your other activities for a while, look him in the eyes, and just give time to having a real conversation.

If you're trying to have quality time but your spouse isn't taking the hint and putting away the Nintendo, it may be time to try the magical remedy of (drumroll, please) Communication! Try waiting until they are no longer engulfed in that activity, even if it's an unnecessary one, and kindly (not naggingly or accusingly) express that you would like to, as a couple, have time where you put aside other things, unplug, and just have time together. It's hard not to lash out when you're angry, or to make a snide remark to try and get the other person's attention, but it is not a loving way to deal with the issue and will escalate the problem instead of solving it. If your spouse is otherwise occupied, give them an obvious cue that you need their attention before diving in. Try something like "Honey, can I talk to you about something?" or "Would you mind putting that away for a little while? I have something I'd like to talk about." Then wait for them to willingly turn their attention to you before you start. Subtlety is usually lost on people who are not looking, or listening, in your direction.

My dear husband is so patient with me. When I get distracted by a witty bumper sticker and comment on it while we're driving together, he lovingly responds and brings the conversation back to where we were. Sometimes when he realizes that my train of thought is not following the conversation, he gently breaks my daydream and reminds me that he needs me to listen when he is talking about things that are important to him.

Remember to be patient, and not be easily offended. Remember how much you love him/ her and that he or she loves you, too. She's most likely NOT maliciously trying to tune you out. He's just human, and will make mistakes sometimes.

Playing video games, watching movies, and listening to music together can be a lot of fun and a great way to bond, but its not good to do it all the time. Texting is a wonderful invention, but don't use it for important or sensitive topics (like apologies or discussions of needs that are not currently being met.) Again, make time for just each other. Come up with activities where your eyes don't have to be glued to something else. Turn off the radio in the car. Just be together and take the time to let your love grow and continue to get to know each other!

What are some things that you like to do when you're 'unplugged?' Do you have any good remedies for a distracted spouse? How do you show your undivided attention to each other?

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