What is the first thing you touch in the morning? #StopPhubbingYourSpouse
-By Dr Ray & Jean Kadkhodaian
What is the first thing you touch in the morning? #StopPhubbingYourSpouse. Before your mind goes to the gutter, and now that we have gotten your attention, we want to address a big issue in relationships today. Although the question posed in the title may seem funny or whimsical, the truth of the matter is that the majority of people reach out for their cell phones first thing in the morning before they reach out for their partner, and what you reach out for is what you are forming a bond with. Every time we turn to our cell phones instead of our partners, especially during important bonding times, we are "Phubbing" our spouse. "Phubbing is a term coined as part of a campaign by Macquarie Dictionary to describe the habit of snubbing someone in favor of a mobile phone", and it perfectly describes what often happens first thing in the morning for many couples.
Touch and physical affection is so extremely important for a relationship and is often underestimated and taken for granted. Couples making it a point to connect first thing in the morning is essential for health in a relationship and has been slowly replaced by other things that are seemingly important, like checking emails or social media. Over time, this erodes the relationship between the couple giving more time and investment to relationships outside of the partnership.
When we were infants, the first thing that touched us in the morning was one or both of our parents, followed by grandparents or siblings, or a nanny or a babysitter. What do all of these things have in common? They are human. In the first few moments of waking up, our subconscious mind looks for certainty and security. Whatever fulfills that need, we will seek out as a subconscious primary need for connection. Hence the question, what is the first thing you touch in the morning? It is one of four of the most important times in the day that we are primed to bond followed by parting, reuniting and the last 4 minutes of the day.
The source of our drive to bond is the mammalian brain, and if you live with a dog you can see it in action since they share this part of the brain as well. Think about how your dog responds when you leave for the day or when you walk back in the door. If you acknowledge your dog they tend to go back to lying in the corner, however if you don’t, they become anxious and act out by chewing on things or urinating on the floor. People who spend the first four minutes embracing their partners have lower levels of cortisol, decreased blood pressure, lower heart rates resulting in lower levels of anxiety and depression, and higher levels of Oxycontin, a bonding neurotransmitter.
Most couples are burdened by many obligations, be it work, financial pressures, children or extended family needs. It is very easy for those obligations to overwhelm our lives resulting in our primary relationship not becoming a priority. This can happen slowly over time without noticing it before it is too late. Couples often recognize the importance of hugging their children and showing them affection, however showing that same affection to their spouse falls by the wayside. During times of family stress, it is understandable that the children be given the nurture and attention they need, however many couples get stuck in this pattern and if a marriage isn't being consistently nurtured, it slowly dies.
Dr Ray & Jean Kadkhodaian, are CoFounders of The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center and developers of the Couples Synergy Program. Practicing marriage counseling in Schaumburg, Illinois, Dr Ray & Jean have been helping couples for over 15 years reestablish healthy marriages. The Lighthouse is the first emotional wellness center to be established in the Midwest over 15 years ago, serving as a guiding light towards healthy relationships. Our counseling services are provided for couples, families and individuals, to assist them in creating happy, healthy and empowered lives. For more information, check us out at www.LighthouseEmotionalWellness.com, or give us a call at 847-253-9769.