We hear it so often in different ways from spouses of all ages and lengths of marriages.
“My wife loves her phone more than she loves me. I want to grab it away from her and chunk it in the toilet.”
“I wish my husband spent half the time with me that he spends on his smart phone. I’m as lonely as I was before I ever met him.”
“Why am I not good enough to put the phone down? Why does everything have to be more important than me all the time?”
Relational Bankruptcy In The Digital Age
We live in interesting times. Technology has put the world in the palm of our hands. And we are accessing and using it a lot more than we think.
According to one recent study, people between 25 and 54 years of age in the United States check their social media accounts on an average of 17 times per day and at least once every waking hour. We spend about a third of our time on our smart phones, a staggering 4.7 hours per day.
We do not realize how much we are on our devices. When they compared smart phone data usage to how much participants reported they used the phone, they discovered that, on average, people spend about twice as much time engaged with their phones as they estimate they do.
According to another study, phones and other devices cause the following damage in relationships:
- Significant disruption in relationships and family life.
- Increased conflict.
- Lower relationship satisfaction.
- Increased depression.
- Lower overall life satisfaction.
Additional studies reveal that the smart phone is hurting our most important relationships. Spouses in personal conversations when a smart phone is visible, even if it is not being used reported the following:
- Lower relationship quality
- Less trust of their partner
- Feel their partner is less empathetic to their concerns.
Disconnect To Be Present
There is always another email that needs to be read or sent, someone we need to check on, one more text to send, the need to be available for work, and another time to play a game. So what do we do in order to keep our spouse and marriage in the priority that it needs to be in order to do life together forever? Here are some suggestions for you to consider:
- No Go Zones: Create a place in the home where phones are not permitted. It may be the family dinner table, the bedroom, or a den or family room. Make it a rule for parents and children alike. Make sure there is a clock with an alarm in the room so you can alert yourself to go out of the room to check your phone if you are in an “on-call” situation.
- Leave Behind: When you are going on a date or a family outing, have everyone leave their phones behind at the house or in the vehicle’s glove box. Have a phone free experience where you can be fully present.
- Turn Off: You may not have noticed, but your phone as a power button that can be used to turn it off and back on again. If you can’t find it, ask your cell phone dealer to show you where it is. When the two of you are beginning a conversation of any substance, especially if it is a conversation where emotions might be involved, ask your spouse for a moment to turn off your phone so you can give them your full-body, undivided attention.
- Charge Station: Create a space away open family rooms where all phones are charged. Have everyone in the family place their phones there at “bedtime” and make it off limits unless there is an emergency.
- Phone Tower: When it is time to eat, have everyone place their phones face-down on top of each other’s. The first person who reaches for the phone before the check is paid or the table is cleaned off, has to pay for the meal or do the dishes.
Your Marriage Is Worth Your Uninterrupted Attention!
If you are like most people, you are spending an average of 4.7 hours daily on your phone. Doesn’t your marriage relationship deserve at least some fraction of that time daily in undivided full-body attention? You will be surprised at the positive change in your relationship spending just 20 minutes a day will make.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Have you noticed negative feelings when your spouse is on their smart phone? Do you know people who are jealous of their spouse’s smart phone attention? What would you add to the list of suggestions to help create undivided full-body attention? What have you done and how did it work out? What suggestions would you add to our list? Is there someone that you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.