In this fast pace, over-"networked" world we live in, I believe it's healthy to take a break from technology every once in a while. That doesn't mean I don't crave the connection or feel strange without it whenever I do take those intentional (or not-so-intentional) breaks from the web. However, I know it's important and I try to practice what I someday hope to preach with my own children who undoubtedly will be even more connected than we can imagine.
For as long as I can remember, Alex and I have made a point of leaving our phones in the car on date nights and during church. At least. Sometimes we leave them behind when taking the dog on walks, and occasionally we even forget the phones at home (mostly unintentional, though positive consequences result) when we leave for short periods of time. But we are hard core serious about leaving our phones behind while on dinner dates and during church. It's become a habit that we don't even consider anymore. ...Take one last look, drop the phones in the glove compartment, and off we go.
From time to time, we miss calls from our parents or wish we could take that food porn picture you know you're sad to miss (not!), but by and large, we never regret it. At dinner, we are able to truly enjoy time with one another, practice open communication/dialogue, and take in a good meal. Sadly, we tend to sit in front of the TV during dinner at home, and even though we talk to each other daily, it's really not the same with all the distractions around. With regard to church, I can't say enough how nice it is not to be tempted in thought about what might be occurring in the outside world during the mass (or to look at the clock - sheesh!). Not to mention eliminating any sudden fear of forgetting to silence our phones before hand. (Phones in church - Protestant, Catholic, or otherwise, are one of my biggest pet peeves!!)
Eventually, Alex and I hope to have a family and I can say that we will most definitely be limiting screen time. I know it's one thing to say we our children won't watch TV before the age of 2 and another thing to actually practice it, but I really hope we can hold out on that plan. (I'm not talking the occasional treat or group event with family/friends; I'm referring to regular bouts of television for any extended period of time.) It's just not healthy and I would instead prefer to spend time together as a family. We also joke about how neither of us received phones in elementary school, nor will our children. Driving or afterschool obligations will be a requirement for receipt of such privileges. And privileges they are... privileges that can be taken away at any time, for any reason, and monitored as well. But alas, I digress.
Alex and I try to make a point of keeping regular date nights, whether those present themselves in the form of dinner out, movie nights at home, local attractions, or even weekends away. It's just another way we get "back to basics" in maintaining and rejeuvinating our relationship. Just for fun, I've included a few pictures from one of our date nights that included dinner, mini-golf, and froyo desert.
Final Note: What do you guys think of this series? I'm currently "out" of topics for continuing the series, but would love your ideas for additional entries. Maybe one of you would even be interested in serving as a guest blogger or "linking up" (is that what they call it?) sometime? Let me know!