In our relationship with our partner, especially when we are already married and have children, distractions arise that could take in the form of work, entertainment, or even our kids. Taking care of our relationships is important, and we have to know how to make some time for our partners if we want to keep the relationship healthy. In this episode, hosts Frederic Gobeil and Christy Whitman shares some tips for fighting relationship distractions. Listen to this episode to learn what these are so you can avoid doing things that may hamper your relationship.
Watch the episode here:
Below is a transcript of the video and audio above. The paragraphs and sections are alternated between bold / not bold for ease of reading along with the video or audio.
Fighting Relationship Distractions
We are talking about distractions because in this day and age, there are lots of distractions in a relationship. For example, if you have kids, we’re trying to have a conversation and the kids come in, that’s distracting. There are a lot of things that distract us these days, even the phone if you’re sitting with your partner. We’ve seen couples at nice dinners, both of them are having dinner together and they’re both on their phones.
We took a picture of an outing that we both did. We decided to take each of our phones out so that we could recreate that scene of new couples these days. That’s what we see with some of the couples that have their phones. They’re together and sitting in front of each other and each of them has their phones in hands. They’re looking at their phone. It’s really funny.
It’s hard to sit there and talk about your intentions for the day and what your vision is for putting up Christmas trees or sleepovers or vacations or what you’re going to do with the money, all these things that help you connect and get to know each other or how you’re feeling and what’s coming up for you when both of you are on your phones.
One night, he was watching a hockey game and I was sitting there talking to him and he goes, “What did you say?” I go, “Are you with me?” He’s like, “I’m distracted by the game.” There are things in life that is distracting, whether it’s work or family members, the kids, the dogs. Now we have a puppy with the kids. There are many different things we’re going to talk about. You’ve got your phones and TVs that can distract.
You’ve got the bills that you need to pay every month. That could be a distraction.
All Things That Pull You Away From Your Partner Are Distractions
You’ve got the responsibilities, the household upkeep, the laundry, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow depending on where you live. You’ve got family and friends and the drama that can happen with that. You’ve got your health and well-being if you go work out. All these things are parts of life. All of them, if you think about it, can be things that pull you away from your partner or be distractions.
How do you fix that? What do you do? Even having your computer around. He could be on his computer sometimes doing the investment stuff and I’m like, “Hon.” He’s like, “I’m not with you.” It’s important to understand that you need to take quality time together. If you are spending time together, turn off the TV or at least watch something that you want to watch together.
During the commercial, we’ll mute the TV and chat. It’s funny, if we’re watching a show and he starts talking while the show is going on, I’m like, “You’re the distraction now,” because I don’t want to hear you. I’m trying to watch the movie. Pause the thing and turn to each other.
She tells me I’m distracted with me watching my hockey game. I wonder who distracts who. All that is to say that all these distractions pull our attention away. What we want to do is pull our attention back to ourselves and be in the present moment with yourself first and then your partner. You’ll be able to be with your partner and then engage in communication and talk about what you need to talk.
Set Boundaries And Create More Intimacy By Being Focused And Present With Your Partner
We’ve talked on the other shows about boundaries. These are ways of also putting up boundaries. It’s the timing of things when you talk. If you have a conversation you want to have with your partner, not having it where the TV’s on or text messages are coming through or the kids are up. A lot of times, we’ll wait until the kids go to sleep because we know that’s a distraction. It’s not that we’re calling our kids a distraction, but they can distract. That does happen.
I was taking the kids to a place called Yogurtology here in Scottsdale. I was with the boys and this mom was walking in. She has her husband and her two kids and she goes, “My head is going to explode.” I go, “I don’t want to see that.” She goes, “They’re all talking to me at the same time.”
I said, “AJ’s,” which is a local grocery store, “They make you take a number. Tell them to take a number because they can’t talk to you all at once.” She goes, “That’s a good idea. You’re all going to have to take a number.” We were joking around as moms but even as a mom, you’re in your own thought. I remember if I had to pack or plan for something and the kids would come in, that distraction pulls you away from your focus.
You’ve got to set yourself up for success that when you’re wanting to have an intimate conversation, kids are asleep, the TV is turned off, the computer is away and the phone is put aside. When you go into dinner together, don’t take your phones out. Sit there and have a conversation with each other. Talk about what your visions are. Talk about what you’re excited about. Talk about the places that you dream and desire, where you want to go, what you’d like to experience and all of these different things.
Create that intimacy with each other. What you want in a relationship is create more intimacy. Create that space where you’re not at work because sometimes we allow ourselves to do what we do at work. At work, you tend to take 2 to 3 things at the same time. There are a lot of distractions there too.
What happens is when you bring it home, when you bring it to your partner, then it’s time to be present with your partner. I’m not saying that you can’t be focused at work. It is good to be focused at work with one thing that you need to do at a time but in your relationship, it’s important if you want to create more intimacy to be focused and be present with your partner.
You want to set aside time and here’s the thing. It’s not like, “We’ll find the time.” You’re never going to find the time. We all have 24 hours a day and seven days a week. We don’t find space and time. We make time. If you’re wanting to go to the gym, you can’t just, “When I find the time.” You’re never going to find the time. There’s going to be always something else that fills up that time.
It’s up for you to declare, “Going to the gym four days a week is important for me. I’m going to schedule it in as a very important appointment.” Similarly, if we’re important in our relationship, let’s make the time to be alone this week. Whether it’s going into a nice dinner or a movie or talking about something we need to talk about something’s coming up, whether it’s a vacation or how we’re going to plan the holidays or whatever it is.
Go on a walk together and just talking during the walk.
Carve out that time and make yourself a priority. That’s how you will continue to feed that relationship and not let all of the possible distractions happen. Especially around the holidays, there are a lot more distractions. You’ve got Christmas dinners, Thanksgiving dinners, Halloween and all these things that could be a huge distraction. You need to dedicate your time and put that time aside and make yourself a priority.
Create the environment of intimacy so that you’re being able to be with your partner and hear your partner so that the TV’s not going on and you’ve got one ear on the TV and one ear on her or him. It’s like what happened with the hockey game. He was listening to me but then he was like, “What?” I could have said, “My hair is on fire,” and he would have gone, “What did you say?”
I would have caught fire. That’s what happened there. I got a couple of words here and there and that’s a good example of what not hearing and not listening properly is all about. I’m not listening to the sentence and even the energy behind what she was telling me. That’s being distracted.
What I could do on my part is to say, “Is this a good time to talk?” I somehow say, “Are you into this game?” He’s like, “Yeah, it’s the third period and Montreal is up by one,” whatever the sports stuff is going on. It’s a crucial point in the game which I may not be aware of but he is. His full attention is on this nail-biting game.
It’s up to me to say to him, “Is this a good time to talk to you about something?” He might say, “No, give me five minutes. The game’s almost over.” That’s his boundary. I’m respecting his boundary because I know if I’d come and sit down and say, “My hair is on fire,” he’s not going to hear me. He’s not going to pay attention. He’s going to pretend to pay attention, but he’s really not going to be hearing me. We have to ask, “Is this a good timing?”
That’s what creating the surrounding that makes it timely to speak with one another.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Don’t let things distract your relationship and your love. Think about what are the things that distract you and what can you do about them? What are the solutions so that you can carve out that time and that intimacy with your partner? In our next episode, we’re going to be talking about what-if. If you want more information, you can go to ChristyWhitman.com/couples or you can go to ConnectedCoupling.com.
Don’t forget to let your partner watch his or her TV show without being the distraction.