I have known my partner for six years. We have been courting for seven months and are now engaged to be married. We are also both Christians. He says he feels insecure because I'm not showing him any attention and that I must be giving someone else my attention. I'm not doing any of that. He says when I'm online or on WhatsApp I hardly ever give him the attention he needs. I do give him attention, though I might not reply to his messages right away. I do love him very much.
Please advise me.
It's very unfortunate that with the advancement of technology relationships have been severely impacted as couples spend more time communicating with the world via their cellphones, rather than they do face-to-face with each other. Just look at any couple sitting at a table in a restaurant when next you go out and observe how, instead of talking with each other, they will both be peering in their cellphones, completely oblivious to anyone and anything around them.
My guess is that your gentleman believes he has to compete with your phone for your attention and feels ignored and disregarded. As you indicated, the attention drawn to the cellphone has nothing to do with any 'suspicious' activities, but nevertheless it does give the offended person reason to think that someone more important is holding or diverting your attention. It is for this same reason that partners in relationships are playing detectives and checking out each other's cellphones for incriminating evidence of cheating.
You mentioned that you are engaged to be married and so you must start planning for a wedding. It seems to me that the time spent with your partner must be focused on matters that require your undivided attention. Each moment spent in each other's company must be entirely void of distractions, which may mean ignoring cellphone notifications or incoming calls that are not urgent.
If you are not so disciplined, then turn off the phone for the period you are in the presence of your partner. Not only is it insensitive to be attending to your phone in the presence of your significant other, but it can also come across as being disrespectful.
You may be one of those people who must keep abreast with what's going on with others on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or you may want to update others on what's going on with you. If that's your thing, then choose the appropriate time and place to do that. Having a conversation with your partner discussing an important matter like wedding plans is certainly not the right time, unless both of you are looking at something pertaining to the plans. And in that case, you both can look at the image on one of the phones — at least the attention will be shared in a mutual way.
So take your partner seriously and consider his feelings. If you continue to disregard or minimise his feelings of rejection, certainly he will feel insecure in the relationship.
You declared your love for your partner so do remember that love involves giving and receiving full attention and anyone or anything that causes a distraction should be avoided or contained. You need to practise this as you go into a marital relationship. So focus less at your phone and more on your partner; it makes for good communication. All the best.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.