Wifey+Wednesday - Wifey Wednesday: When Technology Steals Your Marriage

It’s Wifey Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you either comment here or go write your own blog post, and then link it back below!

Today I want to talk about technology. My Works For Me Wednesday post is all about how and why to kick the TV habit, but I also want to address the same subject from the point of view of marriage.

My nephew got an iPod Touch with his Christmas money this year, and he lives with it. He’s always playing on it, and it’s hard to get him to look me in the eyes and have a conversation with him. He’s a great kid, but he really loves that iPod.

television - Wifey Wednesday: When Technology Steals Your MarriageA lot of husbands are the same way. They come home from work, eat dinner, and then collapse in front of the television. They don’t really spend a lot of time with their wives or their kids.

Or perhaps it’s the computer: they love the internet, or computer games, and it’s hard to separate the two.

What do you do?

You feel as if you’re competing with technology for your husband. The way out may be to examine the dynamics and then start thinking outside the box.

First, realize that you, too, may have an issue. Many of us are awfully addicted to the computer as well, and it’s not always his problem. Sometimes we’re on it just as much, but at other times of day, and then when we want to be with him, he’s busy goofing off. So don’t point fingers at him if you’re just as guilty!

But second, we need to recognize the reasons that we’re so addicted to technology. So here goes:

1. It’s fun and we’re lazy. I guess that’s really two reasons, but lots of things are fun. The difference with technology is that it’s very accessible. It’s right there. You don’t have to change clothes, or get in your car and go somewhere, and once it’s bought, it doesn’t cost anything to use it.

2. It’s habit. When you’re bored, and you start to turn to something to cure that boredom, you’ll often find that you turn to the same thing again and again. It becomes a pattern, a habit. You’re used to it. Habits, unfortunately, are very hard to break, and addictions can even develop.

The thing about habits, though, is that we don’t always enjoy it once we’ve been doing it for so long. It’s not about something new. It doesn’t actually bring you any real joy. It doesn’t even necessarily relax you. It’s just that it’s your default setting, so you tend to gravitate there without even thinking about it.

How many times have you spent three hours in front of the television, mindless, and then gotten up afterwards and felt even worse than when you sat down? You didn’t accomplish anything, and you didn’t even relax because television doesn’t feed your soul.

Habits don’t help; they hinder. They grab hold of us until we stop resisting and just passively let them take control. And in many families, habits with technology have taken control. When we have a free minute we check Facebook. When kids are free they get on MSN or Skype. They play on the X-box. They watch TV. And husbands (and wives) do the same thing. We’ve stopped living in the real world and now we’re living in a virtual one, and we’re losing out on the very things we need: relationship, fresh air, exercise, creativity, fun.

If your husband is addicted to technology, it’s going to be hard on the family, because you won’t have that time with him that you really need. Nevertheless, as serious a problem as this is, I really don’t think the solution lies in nagging him about it. It won’t help, and it will just get his back up.

Talk to him, certainly, but don’t phrase it as: “how come you’re always on the computer and you never pay any attention to me?”, because that’s basically attacking him. Instead, figure out what your main issue is–we don’t get enough time together–and deal with that. Don’t even bring up technology. Say to him: “I feel as if we don’t have very much time to talk and have fun together. Do you think that we could schedule some fun things into our week?”

And then have a list of stuff you’d like to do! Maybe it’s just taking a walk, or going skating, or playing a board game. Perhaps it’s soemething a little more romantic, like taking a bath together (we often found that our best conversations were in the bathtub!). Whatever it is, offer up an alternative. Don’t just say: I want you to turn off the computer and spend time with me, because that’s a little too unsure. What is it that you expect him to do? And why must he leave his computer? Suggest alternatives, and leave the computer out of it, and you may have more luck.

If he still doesn’t respond, I’d really recommend doing fun things with the family anyway. Don’t wait for him. Play games with the kids after dinner. Read stories to them. Go for walks with them, or take them to the park. Eventually he’ll realize that he’s missing out on life, but if he doesn’t realize it, at least your kids won’t miss out on life with him.

This is a really sticky problem. I know in my own life I’ve often been the one with the technology addiction, and it’s difficult to set aside that time to spend with my family. But I make it a point to give them my attention.

What about you? How have you managed to carve out family time? Did you ever have to talk to your husband about this difficult issue? How did it go? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment here, or write your own blog post and then link back to the post in the URL!

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