By Adedotun Ajayi.
To what extent do you cherish your smartphone? Likely not quite as fervently as Aaron Chervenak, a 34-year-old resident of Los Angeles, who embarked on an unusual journey by marrying his cellphone at The Little Vegas Chapel in Nevada during the summer of 2016!
While the Vegas ceremony may appear outlandish, it undeniably underscores the profound connection people have developed with their phones. As eccentric as marrying one’s phone may seem, it sheds light on the extent to which smartphones have seamlessly integrated into the fabric of our daily existence.
In today’s digitally connected world, the sight of a partner engrossed with their phones rather than engaging in meaningful conversation can evoke a range of emotions. It’s a scenario that many couples can relate to, and it often leads to feelings of neglect, frustration, and a sense of disconnection.
In this era of constant connectivity, the dynamics of romantic relationships have been influenced by the ubiquitous presence of smartphones. Let’s delve into how a partner might feel when their spouse prioritizes their phone over them and explore ways to navigate this common modern-day challenge.
Funmilayo Adewale, mother of two and a nurse, said “I have been married for about four to five years, and, by the grace of God, my husband and I managed to find a sense of balance despite the numerous ups and downs we’ve encountered. However, a habit has developed in my husband, he’s constantly engrossed with his phone. Whether it’s during meals, conversations, or even late at night, he seems unable to detach from his device.
“This habit has significantly impacted our communication, intimacy, and other aspects of our relationship. He goes to the office in the morning and returns by 6 or 7 pm, but for the rest of the day, all he does is focus on his phone screen.
“I’ve attempted to address this issue with him on multiple occasions, but unfortunately, there hasn’t been any noticeable change. I don’t want to jump to conclusions or suspect anything, but I’m growing weary of this situation in our marriage,” she lamented.
Isaac Olaiya, a civil servant, in his submission, said “I suggest you do the same, sometimes action speaks louder, when expressing your annoyance, I did not get anything in return. I did this when my wife would continuously be on her phone and she just goes, ‘hmm’ responding to me while I am trying to have conversations with her whether in the living room or at the dining table. Sometimes she would not even respond to me at all.
” I decided to give it back to her, I would get myself busy on the phone, be it at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, till she lost it and expressed her objections to me being on the phone. Then I went, “That’s exactly how I felt when you did that to me!”sometimes, you just have to give it back to them,” he advised.
Also speaking, Adejoke Felicia, mother of three said, “If your partner consistently prioritizes his/her phone over you, it’s natural to have concerns about the nature of their engagement. This behavior could raise suspicions, as it may be indicative of involvement in online activities, including potential internet fraud or infidelity. While it’s acceptable for individuals to use their phones extensively when outside the home, maintaining a balance is essential, particularly within the household.
“Reflecting on the past, our mothers’ marriages endured because they placed their partners at the forefront of their priorities. In today’s age of widespread technology and civilization, these values seem to have shifted. Thankfully, my husband isn’t overly addicted to his phone, as I greatly value attention and he understands this aspect of our relationship,” she said.
Sunkanmi Ayomide, a businessman said cell phones are an invaluable technology that has fundamentally changed the way we communicate and get information. But as with anything good, too much of it can lead to problems.
According to him; “Excess of anything can indeed have negative consequences. In my case, a significant portion of my business transactions relies on my smartphone. If my wife were to ask me to limit my phone usage, it would entail her taking over responsibilities like paying the rent and utility bills, a decision I will gladly accept.
“Understanding serves as the cornerstone of any successful relationship. My wife comprehends the demands of my business, and she’s become accustomed to it over time. This doesn’t mean I neglect her entirely, but when I’m engrossed with my phone, it’s usually because I require uninterrupted focus for my work.” he said.
Biodun Ayoola, a relationship expert, said “Let’s reframe this question a little bit:
How do you tell your husband you’d like him to spend less time on his phone and more time giving you attention?”
Do you see what I did? I removed the judgment of “too much time” and switched from the negative “does not give you any attention” to the positive “you’d like more attention.” This turns it from blame and criticism to a request for connection. That’s what you want, right?
Ask for what you want. “I’ve been longing for more connection with you lately. Can you spend less time on your phone and more time interacting with me?” As a bonus, offer some suggestions for how you can interact: play a game, watch a movie, go for a walk, or cook a meal together,” she said.
In the same vein, another relationship expert, Chuks Madu said there are so many ways to instantly communicate with anyone right at your fingertips. But despite this age of heightened connectivity, an increasing number of couples come to me citing device usage and social media as an issue in their relationship. Excessive device usage acts as a barrier to quality communication, which leaves partners feeling ignored or unimportant.
According to him; “Many of us have experienced sharing a significant story with someone and they grab their cell phone halfway through the conversation. Attempting to share the highlights of your day with your partner but they have their noses buried in their Facebook feed? Trying to relay a story about your son but your partner is flipping through Instagram?
“Well, the message seems clear – their phone is more important than you are at this moment. Over time, this can be very problematic, leading to feelings of rejection and separateness.
“The implications are clear; our most important relationships can be dulled and diminished in favor of screen time. But you and your partner can work together to overcome excessive device usage and reconnect with face-to-face time together” he said.