My wife and I are in the throes of parenthood. We have four small children, and they demand most of our time. The problem is that our time is in limited supply.
In between work, playing chauffeur, and picking up yet another gallon of milk, I try to talk to my wife and share the ups and downs of my day. We have similar responsibilities, so it’s not always easy to have a meaningful conversation about anything.
This, I think, is where social media comes into play.
I use social media to date my wife. Whether it’s Twitter or Trivia Crack, we found a few apps that help us talk about fun things. The following is advice I offer busy married couples looking for ways to reconnect:
Have A Twitterdate
The kids are safely (although not consistently) tucked into their beds. The house is quiet, and we’re trying to unwind. We start a TV show, and a few minutes in, one of us falls asleep.
This leaves the other one with the choice of: A.) Keep watching; or B.) postponing gratification until the next night when we’ll watch together for another 15 or 20 minutes.
Enter Twitter. Using Twitter, we sometimes follow our favorite shows using hashtags to engage audience members — and to connect with each other. We’ll tweet something about a show and then try to get our followers to favorite or retweet our messages.
Our new Twitterdate is the trending hashtag. Once, we competed with each other to see who had the best tweet for #ruinadatein5words. We laughed about the things we were reading and posting, and it made us feel more connected because we were sharing the experience together.
For Her Eyes Only
We connect with a lot of people through Facebook, so this might seem a little unoriginal. But bear with me.
There are items that I specifically post something to my page for my wife to read. I also share news articles that I think she’d like (she’s a news junkie).
By populating her feed with this stuff, I set us up with conversation topics. “Did you see what I posted to your wall?” Instead of making all our conversations about the kids or work or the house, we share topics to discuss.
Addicted To Trivia Crack
Trivia Crack is a social game that you can download to your smartphone. It allows you to challenge any of your social media friends to a quick trivia game.
In a strange way, it makes me feel appreciated when I open my phone to see that it’s my turn because she played. It’s a way to use those minutes that you spend waiting in line at the store or before a meeting.
I don’t want to wish away these years with my young children. I know they’re fleeting. But when they do end, I don’t want to wake up with a stranger.
Social media is helping me maintain a connection to the love of my life. Maybe it can help you, too.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.