Is Screen Time Robbing Your Marriage?

is screen time robbing your marriage

It’s Wednesday, the day when we always talk marriage! Today please welcome Arlene Pellicane, author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife, as she shares great insight into how we choose to spend our time as a couple (and as a family).

A few months ago, I was speaking at a youth event about keeping your family relationships alive in a screen-driven world.

A father came up to me afterwards, not to talk about his teens and their love of technology, but his wife’s.

His wife is a ministry leader at church and social media has really allowed her to expand her reach to encourage wives, no matter where they live, at whatever time of day.  It all started very innocently.  A text, a tweet, a Facebook message.  But as she began to engage more with women through social media, she discovered she was really meeting a need in the lives of many friends.

The only problem was her love for social media was leaving her husband out in the cold.

This man talked about how his wife was constantly on her phone.  If they were in the car together, she was texting.  When they were sitting face to face at a dinner date, what was she doing?  Yes, you guessed it…she was using her phone.  It was driving him crazy!  Her husband tried to tell her that she needs to put down the phone and engage with him, but so far, nothing has changed.  And he doesn’t want to nag because otherwise, he says, she’s a perfect wife.

Technology, while bringing this wife closer to many of her friends, is driving a wedge between her and her once-happy husband.

It really could happen to any one of us, couldn’t it?  The phone makes us carry around the “urgent” inside our pocket while the “important” sits across from us at the dinner table waiting for when you have a spare moment.

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing smart about a phone that alienates you from the ones you love most.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s not the phone that’s the problem.  It’s the way we use our phones which can get us into trouble.  And we don’t only have phones that compete with quality time with our spouses; there’s television, Pinterest, DVRs, and much more.

So here’s the question for you to consider today:  Would your marriage relationship improve if you and your spouse unplugged from your devices more often?

According to a Nielsen report, the average American spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television, plus another three to six hours watching taped programs.  Think of all that time that could be spent in more meaningful ways.  You could pick up a new hobby with your mate, go out to dinner, walk in the park, or snuggle up on the couch together with some great books.

My family doesn’t get cable but that doesn’t mean we’re not tempted to succumb to screen time during all our waking hours.  My husband James and I realized that after we put our three kids to bed in the evening, we would retreat to our computers and answer emails, browse headlines, check Facebook, and watch YouTube videos.  One night James said, “I’m on the computer all day, why am I wasting time at night on this thing?”  So we decide to try something new.  When the kids went to bed, we would power off our devices.

Turning off the computer earlier in the evening has been rejuvenating.

Not only is it a much better way to get a good night sleep, it gives space for my relationship with James.  We can talk, snuggle, read together, pray, or kiss…and all of these options are better than updating my Facebook status!

So the next time you are aimlessly flipping through channels, clicking through websites, or texting like a wild woman, stop yourself and ask:

What could be a better use of my time right now?

Does this activity help or harm my relationship with my husband?

Would anybody really care if I missed this program or didn’t engage in social media right now? 

When you turn off your electronic devices more often, you’ll turn on better things like red hot monogamy (as my friend author Pam Farrel calls it), quality time, and a stronger connection with the one who matters most – your husband.

Let’s make sure our husbands know they are more important than texts, tweets, pins and posts.  Not just with our words, but with our daily actions.

So it’s okay ladies…I give you permission to be unreachable and turn your phone…off.

More Screen Time Equals Less Marital Satisfaction

Arlene Pellicane 600x600jpg31 Days to Becoming a Happy WifeArlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.  She and her husband James live in San Diego with their three children.  You can learn more about her ministry at


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  1. Thanks Arlene and Sheila – This is a great reminder. I often sit in bed at night and go through emails, Web sites, etc. on my phone. Even though it’s often just for a few minutes, I’ve started thinking that it is not a great idea.
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy recently posted…3 Ways to Make Time for Exercise – When You Don’t Have Time to ExerciseMy Profile

  2. Love this…screen time and gadgets are addicting. My husband and I recently realized we were reading our phones while out to dinner, and we both apologized and decided to ditch them while eating. And it was hard to do! But so great, to actually visit over our meal when out on a date.

  3. We do not have a tv. However, sometimes the computer takes over that same time tv would. With both my husband and I having side projects online we do have to be careful how much time we spend looking at the screen. We make sure to have dinner together ever night without computers or phones. We also read in bed together each night and chat for a few minutes before dosing off. With such a busy, interactive world this is for sure something we have to be aware of! Thank you for the reminder!
    Cassie recently posted…Studying the Bible about DivorceMy Profile

  4. Great article! My wife and I are “gadget’ people ourselves, and although it is not to the point of robbing our marriage, we have committed to being intentional about the quality of our time together. Sometimes however, just having her snuggled up under me while we checked FB or play a game is very enjoyable. We continue to strive to achieve that balance…

  5. Yep, I was guilty! My husband and I were on a date, and he finally said, “Could you please stop checking your phone?” Thankfully, in my case, I realized I was killing our together time with my social media habit and made a promise to put away the phone when we were on a date. With the exception of family emergencies, I’ve kept to that. And now we’re back to making googly eyes at each other instead of our screens. :) (So to speak.)
    J at HotHolyHumorous recently posted…Not Quite Right Messages about SexMy Profile

  6. There are a lot of things you can do together that also involve screen time. I know my sister and her now husband of 10 years often play video games together. There are a lot of cooperative video games out there too, like the Lego series.

    Women who have husbands who love video games should try joining her husband in this hobby, even occasionally. I suspect he’ll bend over backwards trying to help you acclimate and find stuff you can do together. PS, they’re often a lot of fun too. Much more engaging than just watching movies or tv.

  7. Great reminder, Arlene! There are so many distractions these days and many of them are within our control (whether we like to admit it or not). Thanks!
    Kendra Burrows recently posted…Pre-Teens Say the Darndest ThingsMy Profile

  8. Gadgets and screen time are definitely killers of a marriage. Luckily my wife and I are very close because we commit to each other every weekend for date nights however prior to doing that, I remember it used to bug the crap out of me when I’d see my wife on facebook all time or playing candy crush or solitaire. I really wished she would spend more time with me. Luckily we figured out a way to make our marriage extra strong and now watching TV or playing on gadgets really has no negative impact on our marriage. We are lucky ones though. Others might not be and they should really pay attention this post.

  9. Spending too much time on useless activities like watching TV and playing on your phone rather than spending time with your loved one is a classic mistake almost all couples make. How do i know? Because I was one of them until I realized my marriage was in the dumps. Soon after I took it very serious and put my marriage back together. It took a while but it was the best investment ever. As for this article, it’s very important you read it because you want to pay attention to even the littlest things that are tearing your marriage apart. Interestingly it can be as simple as watching TV instead of paying attention to your spouse when they so desperately need you. Pay attention or be warned.
    Mort Fertel Review recently posted…Saving my marriage every day…even from another country!My Profile

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