Okay Inner West Mums, I have a few questions for you. Remember love letters? Remember sitting up with your partner till 2am talking about your dreams, views and the meaning of life? Remember sitting around the family dinner table as a child, screen free, and engaging in the ramblings of everyone’s day? The romance of effortless conversation with little to no distraction sometimes feels like yester-year to me.
In the world we live in today we spend so much time on devices, connecting with people mainly via, text, email, Facebook, Snapchat etc., that we are losing the art of real face to face communication. It is starting to become a real problem, not just with us but also for our children.
I often romanticise about my husband and my beginnings. In 2006 I went holidaying in Europe with my two over 6ft tall brothers, who most people thought were my body guards. It was a miracle any guy would even consider talking to me considering how well guarded I actually was.
This was a time before smart phones and I remember turning my old-faithful Nokia off for a month to explore each day somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world. On the island Hvar, Croatia in a bar called “Carpe Diem” (Yes, it’s true!) blinded by my beauty (so he says) my gorgeous Norwegian husband managed to side step my body guards and started what would be one of many beautifully rich conversations with me. Those Hvar days and nights were bliss – there was no need for phones or email; we simply fell in love with getting to know each other. When the time came to finally say goodbye to him, I had no phone for him to contact me on so I gave him my email and said goodbye kind of expecting never to hear from him again.
When I arrived in Spilt a week later I headed straight to check my email and there it was, a romantic email from my Norwegian asking if he could meet me in Florence and the rest is history. We spent the next week in Florence and Rome, talking and eating and drinking our way through Italy. It sounds romantic, and it was! We talked to each other a lot back then about what we wanted out of lives, our history, our thoughts and dreams like most couples falling in love and we didn’t document any of it on social media.
When I returned to Australia, and he went back to Norway, we kept talking for a few months over phone and email. We did SO much talking! When I think about it now I see how romantic it was that we shared so much of ourselves with each other back then.
I guess what I’m saying is there is something to be said about writing to the one you love, whether it be through love letters or romantic emails; putting thoughts on paper expressing your feelings, communicating on a deep level.
All of that communicating really paid off. Shortly after returning I quit my job and moved to Norway and 3-months later we were married!
10 years on and two children later our communication has changed and this has saddened me a lot. I really miss those days of deep connected conversations. For us it isn’t out of a lack of love for each other but more just the everyday grind of kids, works and general activities that we forget or don’t feel we have the time to communicate. When we do, what would we talk about?
After the kids go to bed and there is an opportunity to connect I find that we spend most of our times on our phones and computers. Sound familiar?
I see lots of women asking on social media “I have an at home date night tonight with my husband, what can we do???” I understand where they are coming from and at the same time it worries me that we have to ask this question. We all know how important communication is to our relationships, and yet sometimes we find it challenging to really have the meaningful conversations we need to connect with our partners.
I don’t think technology is helping us here. As an example, in the US 1/3 of teenagers send more than 100 text messages each a day and their main way of communicating is with a device. Don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike technology and my kids use it as much as they are allowed, but I think we need to find a sense of balance in the way we approach our relationships and make sure we make room for some face to face, heart to heart communication with family, friends and our children.
Our relationships are so important and it is such a shame that a lot of the time we don’t value them as much as we should or choose to invest the time and energy they require to flourish.
So here are my top five tips for couples:
Owner of FuelBox Australia, Mum to Pernille and Ibsen and wife to my Norwegian husband.
Yoga Teacher and in a life before kids a Singer-Songwriter. FuelBox is the ultimate communication tool – a small box packing a big punch. Containing 170 open ended questions to spark conversation between couples and families, FuelBox is a light-hearted and fun way to start connecting on a deeper level. www.fuelboxaustralia.com.au