Marriage doesn't work anymore – because of technology
Or so I read last week. On a blog post. Via a link on Facebook. On my mobile. While my husband sat next to me on the sofa watching the golf.
In a nutshell, this guy reckons it was his iPhone's fault that he ended up divorced. Well, Anthony cites five main reasons, all primarily focused on technology and social media – which I'll summarise for you here:
1. Not enough sex – because we're on our phones, iPads and laptops in bed (and everywhere else).
2. Everything's more expensive now – so we just stay in and look at Facebook; "It keeps us inside, forced to see the life everyone else is living…".
3. We're connected virtually – but totally disconnected in real life. We don't talk, we text. We don't touch, we type.
4. We want attention and "likes" from everyone – not love from one individual (#selfie #lookatme).
5. Nothing is sacred or private anymore – social media allows us to share every detail of our lives with the whole world.
I'll start with number 1.
Put. The. iPad. Down.
Now go get naked with your wife (if you're not already because you’re reading this in bed).
Better still, leave the iPad downstairs in the first place.
Number 2... Let's see. We've all got no money to go out. We're literally trapped indoors. Because picnics in the park and walks along the river cost so much these days. Better trawl Facebook instead and look at all the fun and interesting things everyone else is doing. Hang on, though. How can they afford to get out and about? Who are these people – who make up “everyone else”? These people who are choosing to pay for stuff like food and travel and going out? These people living in the same society as us/you (apart from one or two who jacked it all in, went travelling and converted to Buddhism)? Which ones are the ones staying in just looking at the "life everyone else is living"? How is there anyone left to go outdoors and provide photographic evidence for the rest of us?
Moving onto Anthony's third technology/social media-based reason for why marriages don’t work: being disconnected. What about past generations when husbands and wives were separated by oceans, bombs were dropping and letters were the only means of communication? They couldn't talk or touch – but lots of them still made it through. Yes, you could argue that those same generations would tell us that we have the luxury of not being in the middle of a war – so we should grasp every opportunity to talk and touch (not text and type). I'm sure they would say it to Anthony. The point is you have the choice. You can put your phone down. Don't blame advances in technology for the choices you make – or your divorce. You're a grown up.
Numbers 4 and 5. From the beginning of time, man has been pretty obsessed with his own image. So has woman with hers. Remember the tale of poor old Narcissus and his pond incident? Arguably the most iconic selfie of all time. Apart from this snap of Kim K. Naturally.
Today, it's possible to snap a picture of your face reflected in a pond, a car window, a lift door – or the classic toilet mirror – and share it with the entire world (#nofilter). But you don't have to. (Some people really shouldn’t.) And if you actually think 34,000 likes are as fundamentally nourishing for the soul as the intimate, attentive, deep love of your wife – then you just married the wrong woman. Simple as.
This isn't meant to be a personal attack on you, Anthony. And I’m genuinely sorry that you had to go through what was clearly a very upsetting experience. But you shared with the world your (generally) stunted/misguided views on all marriages – and, by association, on any long-term, meaningful relationship between two human beings, whether vows are involved or not. So fair game, I say. My colleague, Drew, was also bemused by your article – especially after social media played such a big part in his wedding. (Incidentally, it’s Drew and Em’s first anniversary this Sunday and they’re still going strong. #Congrats guys!)
I'm really talking to all the Anthonys out there. And there are quite a few of you, I know. Those of you who will also say it's because of technology and social media that communities are crumbling and people aren't (truly) connected anymore on a human level. There are too many choices. Too many selfies. Too many distractions. Too much tech fuzz and white noise. I hear it all the time – online, in the paper, over dinner. Occasionally I start saying it, but then I check myself and realise it’s not technology’s fault if I make a bad decision.
Having access to a very smart phone and social media is not an insurmountable problem. Being legally obliged to go off to war and leave your wife behind (for example) is a real test. Remembering to switch your mobile off during dinner isn't.
There will always be new trends and innovations and fashions that come along and impact society in a big way. We’re human beings. It’s part of our make-up to explore and innovate and invent and create. We evolve. We progress. And with all this exciting change full of possibility and potential, there will always be obstacles to navigate and challenges to overcome. Anthony says “the world we live in today has put roadblocks in the way of living a happy life with someone”. I say, no it hasn’t. The world yesterday had its roadblocks – the world tomorrow will have its traffic jams. You have the power and freedom to carve out your own route. To shape your own journey. Technology doesn't take that away from you. A bad workman blames his tools – or his roadblocks.
So Anthony, if you’ve found yourself a new girlfriend – and I truly hope you have – stop reading this, put your phone down and take her out for a drive. (If you get lost, there’s always Google Maps.)
- Social media