When we first started dating, we only had eyes for each other.
It was like we were in a trance. It wasn’t something we thought about doing; we just did it, almost involuntarily. We couldn’t take our eyes off each other.
I remember playing chess with Victor in those early days of young love. It took forever to complete a game because we spent so much time gazing at each other, rather than the pieces on the board. I remember feeling like I had already won, when we would lock eyes and smile.
For both of us, eye contact meant that we were zoned in on each other—we were connected and attuned to the other’s interests, needs, and desires.
But today, all too often, our communication is through social media, phone calls, texts, and email. While we communicate a lot, it is hard to make face-to-face time over the web or voicemail. And when we are together, we’re often distracted by our phones.
Not long ago, I was in a Chick-Fil-A with my kids. There was a little box on the table that read something like this: “Please put cell phones in the box. If all family members finish the meal without retrieving cell phones, we will give each of you a free ice cream cone.”
Wow. That made a big impact on me.
I started thinking: How often do my husband and I look straight into each other’s eyes when we talk to each other? I know it was something we used to do a lot when we were dating, but had we neglected it in recent years?
So my husband and I tried a little experiment.
We decided to deliberately make eye contact in our personal communication. We put the phones on silent and focused on each other. Granted, it was a weekend. We didn’t have to worry about work commitments that usually notify us through the phone. But since we had the chance that day to set the phones aside, we did.
It really did make a difference. There were no cell phones in one hand, drawing half of our attention, as we spoke directly to each other. We felt more connected. We felt more important to each other. We felt more heard. And we felt like we understood each other even more.
We can’t just chuck the cell phones, but when we can do without them, we are going to. Now we found that we really look forward to going on family adventures where we know we will get poor cell reception, just so we know there won’t be anything interrupting our time together.
I want my marriage to be a place where my husband and I give and receive undivided attention to each other, regardless of all the distractions life throws at us. A marriage where I know our eyes belong to each other.