Attention is a precious resource: a person has only so much of it to give.
What if we better aimed this resource toward the person we say is most important in our lives? What if we made it a practice to prioritise our partner as the most important recipient of our attention?
Attention is one of the most fundamental ways to feel loved.
If there is one obstacle these days to strong and healthy partnerships, it is that it is becoming harder to aim consistent attention toward our partner.
In this age of technology, our attention has been hijacked by talented engineers (and their confounding algorithms) who fashion our devices, laptops, iPads, smartphones, to capture our focus and concentration.
As a result, we seem to have little time for each other; our attention aims elsewhere.
Research has indeed found that amid the myriad demands of our hectic days, partners have stopped paying attention to each other.
It does not have to be that hard to do in our intimate relationship, which doesn’t demand our attention in the ways that other parts of our lives do: work-life has external pressures and deadlines; children complain and often trumpet what they need; an empty cupboard and hunger sends us to the grocery; overdue bills and late notices arrive. But our primary relationship? Rarely a whisper until we feel taken for granted and not appreciated.
In time, disconnection from each other breeds loneliness, discontent, and even alienation.
So many couples these days mistake brief text exchanges even two or three throughout the day, for actual and substantive attention.
Don’t be fooled. Texting is a fast-food substitute for real intimacy nutrition, requiring nothing more than a few seconds before we turn our attention back to where it was before the dispensing and receiving of digital crumbs. Sincere attention needs us to put aside the device and deliver eye contact with authentic presence.
Attention is the necessary food and water of a living and breathing relationship. Attention is how we nurture and feed. Attention is what we need and crave. Without this awareness, no relationship, no matter how strong, can survive.
If you would like to discuss your relationship further please do not hesitate to contact me about the process of relationship counselling in Brighton and Hove.