How often these days do you see a couple out together who are both on their mobile phones, paying no attention to each other whatsoever?
Today I’m going to be discussing a very modern issue which many couples are struggling with in their relationships. An issue which is not talked about enough.
What I’m going to be bringing to light is the negative impact that overuse of technology can have on your marriage.
I’m talking about use of your mobile phone, your computer, the internet, TV, playstation, email, Facebook, Twitter and any other technological devices you might use.
We live in a world where we are constantly being given the message that we need to be available to communicate, 24/7, when anyone feels the need to contact us.
This is NOT true.
Take mobile phones for example. Phones do have several important functions, such as helping us to keep in contact with people, make arrangements and keep safe.
However, there is nothing binding us to the use of our phones outside of work and urgent communication with family or friends.
Have you ever been in the situation where you went away somewhere and didn’t have cellphone reception for a day, a weekend, or a week?
Did your life fall to pieces? I don’t think so. In fact, I’ll bet you felt incredibly liberated being forced to be ‘cut-off’ from the world for an extended period of time.
But for some reason, most of us (myself included) feel this urge to check our phone or computer virtually every hour to see if we have some ‘urgent’ or ‘exciting’ message waiting for us.
And when we do see a message there, usually we feel obligated to reply – whether or not it is urgent or extraordinary.
How much time do you and your spouse currently spend on your phones, laptops, or other devices when you are together?
If you’re someone who spends a lot of time on your phone or tuned into social media when with your spouse, I’m telling you right now that this could be seriously detrimental to your marriage.
Why? Because these are the messages that you are sending to your spouse when you are constantly tuning out to your technological devices during your time together:
• That your spouse is less ‘exciting’ to you than the conversation you are having over text, or the headline you are reading online.
• That you don’t value the time you get to spend time with your spouse.
• That you are not paying attention to what is happening around you.
• That you are needing a way to ‘escape’ from your life.
• That your life isn’t satisfying enough for you.
• That you don’t care enough about your spouse’s needs.
• That you don’t respect your spouse.
Does this sound extreme to you? Seem like an overreaction?
Unfortunately, it’s not.
Often, people don't even recognize what a problem their technology habits are for their relationship.
They think they're spending time together but don't realize that they're distracted by technology.
Sitting next to your spouse in bed and using separate laptops doesn't constitute as quality time. Neither does texting when you’re out at dinner or watching TV while your spouse is talking to you.
Focusing on what is going on in your Facebook news feed rather than what is going on in the life of your husband or wife will eventually start to create emotional distance between you.
This kind of behavior may not be intended to harm your marriage, but it does really impact on the emotional intimacy between you and your spouse.
If technology overuse IS a problem in your marriage, whether it is you or your spouse who tends to spend a lot of time ‘tuning out’, I have a challenge for you.
1. First of all, identify the devices which are creating the biggest distraction for you or your spouse. It might be the TV, it might be Facebook, it might be your phone, or it might be ALL of these things.
2. Talk to your spouse and explain that you feel that the use of these devices is taking away from your time together, and you want to try to make the most of this time.
3. Agree to not use the devices you identified as a problem while you are spending time with your spouse for ONE WEEK.
Even if your spouse does not agree to do the challenge with you, be strong and follow through with the challenge yourself. This will show your spouse that you are serious about change.
4. Resist the urge to check your phone, computer or other device during the time you are spending with your spouse.
5. Use this distraction-free time to invest in your relationship and try to rekindle the romance between you and your spouse.
Focus on listening to your spouse and having fun with them – perhaps you could plan a night out or a romantic surprise. When you have the gift of time together, make nothing more of a priority to you than your spouse and their needs.
You may be surprised to find out how much more connected to your spouse you feel when you remove all technological distractions.
Although this challenge is just set for one week, hopefully after you have been through this experience and realized how much more quality time it allows you to have with your spouse, you will be motivated to cut back on your use of technology for good.
At the end of the day, do you want to cuddle your iPad at night or do you want to cuddle your spouse?