Ever watch the show Pushing Daisies? Probably not. Neither did anyone else, apparently. And why not? Because the show isn't an accurate portrayal of how to have a meaningful relationship in the 21st Century. See, Ned and Chuck really want to get it on. But they can't because if Ned touches her, she'll die. So they gaze longingly at one another and . . . that's about it.
Why is this inaccurate? Because nowadays, we connect on Facebook. It's sanitary, snarky and requires no physical contact. Intimacy? Conversation? Those things are so early-90s. Instead of chatting one another up over candlelight and fresh-baked pie, we dine separately, basking in the glow of our widescreen monitors.
Ned and Chuck don't need to get it on. They need Twitter accounts.
I kid of course. Every relationship needs some physical contact. Flesh on flesh. Spoken words falling on attentive ears. Companionship: Unplugged. It's how our grandparents made it. It's why we're here. And now we find ourselves in a position of having to rediscover that connection in a world that mistakes a status update for intimacy.
This is the pot calling the kettle black. A finger pointed at you with four pointing back at me.
See, I am surrounded by the invisible miasma of megabytes. There are the necessary things: I take classes online, keep track of my finances online, send dozens of emails, conduct research, make phone calls and pay bills, all from the comfort of my swiveling padded desk chair. Life simplified, leaving more time for the things I enjoy most. And some of those things also happen online as well. I write a blog, read and interact on numerous others, watch way too many YouTube videos, and Blip song after song after song - my own personal, interactive soundtrack of life. I also tweet on occasion, and my wife and I both have walls on Facebook. She is also a very vocal member on many forums, with topics ranging from faith to schooling to scrapbooking. Her office is downstairs. Mine is wherever I plug in my laptop. And instead of shouting for one another, we send IMs.
This is now the way it is. A constant internet presence and social networking are here to stay. And we've discovered some ways to make sure they don't become a stumbling block toward maintaining a healthy relationship:
1. Share what you're sharing. News and opinions make excellent conversation starters. If something you've read gets your dander up or inspires you, by all means post a link somewhere. But don't stop there. Take the time to talk about it with your mate. If it's worth sharing with your online connections, then it's probably something you feel strongly about. And it's those types of things that take conversations with your mate beyond the stuff of every day life.
2. Connect with your mate before you connect with your readers. Before I hit publish, my wife reads every post I write. Not only does this give me a chance to hear her comments first, it helps me weed out the bull. Am I being honest? Have I shared too much? These are concerns for every blogger, and her input helps me keep it real.
3. Get out of the house. While much of life for married couples happens within the friendly confines of the home, there is also a world outside the front door. We like to visit bookstores with cafes. Over toffee cappuccinos and hot apple ciders, we enjoy holding hands and browsing. We also go to school functions together. Or we make time to simply stroll around the neighborhood. Go ahead and take your phone, in case the kids call, but keep it in the holster. And keep your eyes open, for there are many great blog posts lurking just around the corner . . .
Sounds idyllic, right? Hardly. More than ever, these things take determination and honesty. For better or worse, the online life is here to stay. The key is to make it work for you and not against you.
How do you make it work for you?
Cheek of God
1 year ago