Phillip texted us pictures of his discussion with his wife. Long drawn out responses between two people who had made a lifelong commitment to each other just two years prior. Both were very negative.
The original debate was about whether or not they should go alone out to eat and see a movie that night or whether they should invite another couple. Within just a few short texts came an insult. Then a list of problems and issues in the marriage. Finally name calling with “evidence” about how bad that spouse was.
It was a horrible texting conversation to read. Phillip and Sara joined us for a marriage intensive the following weekend.
Text Fighting Easier Than Face to Face
Sara told us, “I would never say to his face what I texted him that day.”
Research has gathered significant evidence that communicating by text is easier for us to do than in person. There is some form of social protection to be typing into a device and not being in the same room or face to face. Texting allows for some level of false anonymity and depersonalization.
With a false sense of protection of our self, we type words and phrases into our texts to each other that have little filter. We have become emotionally triggered and begin to say things we do not even believe.
No Facial Expressions or Body Language
The majority of what we communicate or what we take in from others communication occurs not through the words that they speak, but through how they say it. Their body language, tone and facial expressions speak volumes to us.
When we text horrible things, we are more likely to continue the barrage partly because we are not seeing the effect of our words on our spouse. We do not see how their body is reacting to our hurtful words.
Texting is the absolute worst form of communication when we are emotionally triggered
- Put The Phone Down –When you feel like either you or your spouse is emotionally triggered, you need to take immediate action.
- Cleanly Call A Time Out – Text that you notice this is not good right now and that you will take a 45 minute or longer time out to compose yourself and then you will call to have a conversation about the issue.
- Put The Phone Down – Distance yourself from being able to read incoming texts and from sending out texts.
- Soothe Yourself – Get into the right frame of mind by doing what you need to do to calm yourself down. Take a brisk walk, do some push ups, breath deeply, pray, listen to music, etc. Engage in any healthy thing that helps you calm yourself down so that you can think clearly again.
- Follow Up – When you are calm, follow up with your spouse with the goal of creating a future together. Find ways to take responsibility for anything that your spouse was hurt by. Offer apologies as you feel you can. Keep the conversation focused on the future, not what has happened in the past.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Have you ever been guilty of being in a texting argument? What soothe’s you when you become triggered emotionally? Do you know how to call a time out? What is something you will do this week to keep yourself and your spouse from engaging in text arguing? What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone 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 [email protected].