Keeping Love Alive: Technology. Good or bad? | Columnists

Ten years ago, I wrote an article about the impact of technology on our relationship. Since then, technology has only advanced with the development of applications for everything, even the ability to shop for groceries 24 hours a day.

Then there’s eBay. Pinterest. Facebook. Craigslist. Amazon. YouTube smartphones. Twitter. iPads. DVR. Netflix.

Mark Anderson is a mental health therapist specializing in couples therapy at Oregon Trail Mental Health in Scottsbluff. To contact him, call 308-635-2800 or visit online at


The technology has many advantages. Just the other day, my wife made an amazing dish that she found on Pinterest. Recently, like many of you, I won an auction on eBay.

We are constantly at the disposal of new technologies that can certainly make our lives easier. You can now check your email on your phone and access the network and even print wirelessly. Booking a hotel or plane ticket is as easy as a few clicks. You can even scan a check with your mobile phone and deposit it in your bank account without going to the bank at all.

Mobile phones allow us to do work while on the road, not just when we are tied to our desk at work. And voicemail reduces the need for recurring calls in the hopes of delivering the same message. And who hasn’t been saved a time or two by texting?

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It seems that wherever we look, we see efforts to make our increasingly complex lives less demanding and more efficient. With all this great technology, you’d think we’d have so much free time that we wouldn’t know what to do.

And yet most would agree that more often than ever we find ourselves doing more and praying more for the rest we need. Even our teens are more stressed, with a Reuters health study reporting that 1 in 3 teens report feeling stressed on a daily basis.

As life continues to become more complicated and stressful, the consequences often end up in the home. The place, once seen as a sanctuary of the world, is now more connected to the world than ever through computer, Internet and television packages of 200 channels. And despite National Eat Together Week, which takes place every September, the number of families who dine together every night continues to decline.

How did this invasion affect couples? For the unprepared, this causes a lot of chaos and damage. Instead of spending the evening together, for example, one can spend the evening in one’s home office, catching up with the company’s portable laptop.

Another husband may stay busy watching an exciting game of bowling from Beijing; a luxury hitherto unavailable until such world-class coverage becomes available at the touch of a button. And the DVR, while convenient, will support more shows that you can watch in a week. And Netflix always has something streaming that you can get addicted to.

I’ve even heard many stories of couples dating while one person is doing business on a company cell phone. Annoyed by such, a woman I know called her husband from her cell phone, reminding him that they were on a date. As he was not affected by such a prompt, she later used the same mobile phone to call her divorce lawyer.

So how do successful couples react to all these new technological invasions? Instead of letting them break up, they use them to strengthen their love and friendship.

For example, every happy couple should have their partner’s phone number programmed into their cell phone, and maybe even have a special ring just for them (unless it’s a Jaws theme song, of course!). And what better thing to do then call your partner when you know he won’t be there just to leave voicemail that you think of him.

Remember the power of text to send a quick note. A woman I know programs a daily “I love you” reminder on her husband’s cell phone calendar.

A happy husband I know programs his wife’s cell phone to show “I love you” every time she turns it on. And what better way to take advantage of the modern conveniences of microwaves and Netflix than to enjoy an evening of popcorn and movies together after the kids are in bed.

One of my favorite quotes is, “The difference between tragedy and opportunity is how you react to it.” It is clear that as the world becomes an increasingly complex and busy place, the way we respond to such technological advances can either bring us closer or further away.

For more tips on keeping love alive, visit

Remember that relationships between couples are easier than you think, but more difficult than you act.

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