We both love to travel. On land trips, I (Dreus) drive while Love sleeps. When she says that she will take a nap, count one to ten and she’s fast asleep just like that. That’s Love’s super power. On long bus rides, there were times, she missed her stop or fell off her seat because she was asleep. And when she feels carsick, I remind her to focus on what she does best—sleep.
One beautiful sunny morning, we were driving to Tagaytay. I was pointing out to her a sight but she was busy checking her phone. Surprisingly, she was still awake. I asked her again to look at
what I was showing her while the stoplight was red. But she was still glued to her phone. By the time she paid attention to me, the light had already turned green.
I got irritated because I asked her twice and she just ignored me. She apologized and smiled. End of story. But then it happened again. We were about to sleep and I asked her about her day. She giggled as she watched her favorite Korean drama on her phone. Again, she ignored me and I felt bad. This time, her charming smile no longer worked on me.
I (Love) am guilty as charged. I use my phone for many reasons, and to relieve stress is one of them. Every time I watch K-dramas, my body releases happy hormones. The storylines captivate me. It also influences my fashion style and the way I fix our home. Like everyone else, I also use my phone to learn how to improve our start-up businesses, scroll my social media accounts out of boredom, entertain myself while waiting in line or getting settled in a social gathering because I’m an introvert. Then Dreus called my attention. He felt like I was enjoying the company of my phone more than his.
I (Dreus) explained to Love why I felt that way. I want her full attention when I talk to her. I also love sharing with her things that make me happy. I wanted her to understand that I don’t want her to feel ignored the way I was or unconsciously do it to others. If she was in a meeting and someone was speaking to her, she could be glued to her phone instead of focusing on the person. We need to be present in the conversation and let the other person know that he or she has our complete attention.
We live in the world of Internet and social media. But there are instances when we need to put our gadgets down and have honest-to-goodness conversations.
After talking this over, we decided to always turn off the Wi-Fi before we go to sleep, put our phones on silent mode, and have a real conversation. Then during the first hour of our day, we focus on reading the Word and have our quiet time. Doing this has helped us a lot. You can try it, too. Aside from less distractions, it’s also good for our physical and mental well-being.
Talk to your spouse and observe each other. When you are together, are you on your individual phones for hours? You may be physically together but you each have your own worlds. As a married couple, use your hands to embrace each other, and our time to pray together and listen to each other’s stories. unknowingly, social media usurps the time intended for your loved ones. So you need to consciously have real moments together.
It’s a different situation if your spouse is an overseas worker or you have a long-distance relationship. Technology is a big help for couples to spend quality time through video calls and online chats.
I (Love) got Dreus’s point when he called my attention to my gadget use, but I didn’t stop using my phone. I didn’t deactivate my social media accounts but I learned to be intentional in using it. I use it to connect to my loved ones who are living overseas. I use it to learn more about our start-up businesses. I connect with people online and made them our collaborators for workshops. Those people became our friends, too. I also searched for ways to use our accounts as a platform to inspire and influence people on marriage, faith, and family life. This is how The Co-Show started. I learned how to pursue real relationships in the online world while respecting the privacy of our personal life. When I’m with my husband or with the people I love the most, I make sure that I detach myself from my gadgets and bask in their presence.
Do You Base Your Value on the Number of Likes and Followers?
Is your exposure on social media giving you real connections or reel connections? Nowadays, business has become a numbers game when it comes to audience reach online. In our business, engagement is key. It matters when people follow our page, join our workshops, or leave comments on our post. So when you’re starting, it can be frustrating to see your analytics and compare it with others who have millions of likes and followers.
A good friend reminded us that while content is king, we also need to have real connections rather than just focus on virtual ones. We must focus on giving significance instead of looking at the number of likes. We must give value to people and share the good we can. We don’t need to live like someone else or project a pretend image, but be sincere in what we offer. Real relationships go beyond likes, hearts, smileys, and emojis. When we allow our value to depend on such criteria, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and on our relationships. No wonder more people are getting depressed.
Comedian Jim Carrey shared this insighful post: “Depression is your body saying, ‘I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me.’ We should think of the word depressed as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.”
Relationships are not meant to be perfect. They are meant to be real.