Recently, Mark and I have started a new mealtime tradition. We will place our phones one on top of the other at the edge of the table. This is mostly for my benefit as I am notorious for being ADD and checking my phone every two seconds. Now this has nothing to do with how enamored I am with the conversation my husband and I are having and everything to do with my inability to stay off my phone for more than two minutes.
I won't lie; the first few meals we spent 100 percent phoneless and focused on one another seemed strange after a year or so of being distracted by our smartphones. However, one day last week Mark and I were at lunch at McAllister's and noticed a couple that had been sitting at lunch for a solid 30 minutes without saying a single word to one another. My mind immediately went to this scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Not only did this terrify me, but it made me think that I probably go minutes at a time without giving my husband my full attention during dinner because I am too curious to see who liked my latest Instagram photo.
One thing I remember about our earliest dating days is that Mark would never check his phone. I mean never check it. My instinct when I have a second of downtime is to see who has texted me or check Facebook for any riveting updates, but when I noticed Mark's lack of infatuation with his phone, I felt appreciated and interesting. When I think back to what a crutch my phone has become, I realize this must make my husband feel incredibly uninteresting... although this couldn't be further from the case.
Since we've started this phone-free dining experience, I've remembered what an actual engaging conversation looks like. I've learned to relax and stop worrying about the latest updates on every social network I know. After all, it will still be there when the meal is done.