They say opposites attract, and this is certainly true in my marriage — my husband and I are basically from different planets. But that’s also part of what makes our relationship fun. At the end of the day, we find each other’s differences funny and endearing.
OK, except when it comes to one thing: smartphones. (AKA my No. 1 favorite possession and personal key to survival.)
See, my husband, god love him, still lives in the dark ages. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to work a smartphone — in fact, he’s far more tech-savvy than I am. But he prefers to spend the overwhelming majority of his time living in the real world versus staring at a screen. (Can you imagine?)
For the most part, we’re able to respectfully agree to disagree about the issue. He lets me have my screen time; I let him go outside. But when it comes to the best app of all — Facebook — we’ve run into some trouble.
For starters, the man has a Facebook page, but he doesn’t use it (which I’ll never quite understand). So when I used to tag him in photos or posts I wanted him to read, he’d never accept the tags or even read the posts, which was seriously frustrating, to say the least. It actually bothered me so much over time that this past Mother’s Day, I told him all I wanted — for real — was for him to get on Facebook and look at his notifications (all 500 of which were from me).
It seems like a silly request looking back, but as a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, social media is important to me. It’s my connection to the outside world, my daily dose of adult interaction. It’s natural that I want my partner to care about what I care about, just as he would appreciate if I joined him in our yard more often to admire his amazing lawn stripes.
I’m happy to say that we’re both making more of an effort now to take an interest in each other’s interests, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
So when I recently read a viral Facebook post written by a husband addressing this very same thing, I found myself nodding my head along in agreement.
“Every day she tags me in stuff on Facebook,” Brad Kearns wrote in his June 6 Facebook post. “Every day. Like several times a day. As if she bounces around the internet just looking for random shit to let me know is out there. Memes, events, stories etc.”
It might sound like Kearns is complaining at first — and technically, he is — when he admits that the constant tagging from his wife Sarah used to annoy him. But eventually, he says, something clicked.
Over time, Kearns — who goes by “DaDMuM” online — says that he’s come to recognize that his wife’s behavior is a sign of something more. It’s all in an effort to connect.
These days, he says, he takes note.
“I try to make a point of acknowledging it,” he writes, before admitting that yup, “It doesn’t take any effort at all.”
And it’s had a positive impact on his marriage.
“To be honest it helps me gauge where she’s at and what she’s looking at online,” Kearns continues. “Sometimes it forms the basis of our conversations when I get home. So often I come home to a ‘Did you see that thing I tagged you in?’ As silly as it sounds it helps us communicate.”
But the reason Kearns is taking to Facebook to share this little anecdote is to impart unto other dads what he’s learned: When you ignore something your partner is trying to tell you, the relationship suffers; end of story. (Yes, even if that means overlooking something as seemingly inconsequential as a little article you’re tagged in.)
“The conversation goes no further,” he explains. “Whatever message she was trying to send him was rejected because of sheer arrogance and inability to take a few f*cking seconds to read something that was probably important to how she was feeling.”
He makes the great point that if your partner pointed something out to you at the park, it’s unlikely that you’d ignore it like you might tend to do online.
The bottom line here is this: We all want to be seen and feel heard by the people we love. And if tags or tweets or emoji or email are your partner’s love language, you just got to go with it.
“Show her you love her,” DaDMuM urges. “Let her know you care.”
I love this message so much, I think I’ll send it to my husband right now …