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.
Arlene 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 www.ArlenePellicane.com
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