It almost sounds ludicrous…but have you considered your smartphone could be slowly ruining your marriage?
Ever been to a restaurant and seen two people just staring at their phones rather than talking to each other?
Phones become easy. But I suspect that they’re stealing something important from us. So today I’ve invited my friend Arlene Pellicane to share with us about ten ways that phones can wreck your marriage. Her new book Calm, Cool and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life launches today–and it’s a great one with lessons for all of us! Here’s Arlene:
We can become addicted to the phones in our pockets, giving our phone way more attention than we give our spouses.
I spoke to a typical couple the other day about their technology use. The husband works as an independent contractor and is constantly on his phone. His wife isn’t much better. Her kids call her the “Twitter Queen” and that’s not meant as a compliment. All day she’s tweeting her friends. During dates, she tweets about her menu choices. Her obsession with social media is getting to her husband, but he doesn’t know what to do or say.
The constant connection we have through devices to our work, kids, sports, games, news, and social media may be causing a rift in our marriage. We may be unaware of the growing distance – after all, both spouses can get easily sucked into technology. Relaxing with a favorite show or playing a video game pose as legitimate ways to unwind after a hard day’s work.
Happy couples spend time connecting each day, nourishing one another with physical touch and warm conversation. But if we’re spending 11 plus hours a day on screens like the average adult, we’re losing out on that precious time.
This is a great day for a technology check. Here are 10 ways your phone may be pushing your spouse away:
1. Texting too much, talking too little.
Do you find it’s easy to text but not as easy to talk? It’s great to text your spouse a grocery list, but otherwise texting is extremely limiting for deep communication. Go ahead and text “I love you” or “Can’t wait to kiss you.” That will strengthen your marriage. But when it comes to time together in person, put the phones away and talk and laugh with each other instead.
2. I’m too busy to listen.
I’ve heard many men and women say how hurt they were when their spouse took an incoming call or text in the middle of an important conversation. Make sure you’re not too busy with your technology to give your spouse your undivided attention. This means putting away phones during mealtimes and maybe leaving your phone in your purse or pockets during dates.
3. He can’t stop playing video games.
Although women can certainly overdo video games, men tend to be more at risk for video game addiction. Understand it’s not a fair fight. Video games have been designed to be highly addictive, combining an immersive visual experience with a mission and social network of gamers.
4. She can’t stop posting on social media.
In this age of selfies and likes, women can spend endless hours scrolling through photos of friends, acquaintances, celebrities, and cute animals. Spare moments can easily be filled with a quick peek at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or the like. Once there, it’s easy to lose track of time.
5. Work, work, and more work.
We used to have to leave our work at the office. Not anymore. Now with technology, our work comes home with us. We can answer emails in a myriad of ways – our desktop computer, iPad, phone, or laptop. We’re almost expected to respond even when business hours have long ended. Working without boundaries leads to dissatisfaction between spouses.
6. Is that your phone in bed?
You’ve probably heard of lovers who actually answer texts or look at the phone while lovemaking. That is a surefire way of pushing your spouse away. But just having the phone under your pillow, at your side, or on your nightstand can be a relationship killer. Instead of interacting with your spouse at the end of the day in bed, you’re both on your phones.
7. I can’t compete with pornography.
Viewing porn used to be very difficult. You had to go to a seedy bookstore or video rental place and sneak around. Unfortunately, pornography is easily accessible anytime, anywhere and there are many marriages suffering as a result. The phone just makes it too easy. If this is a struggle, get help through counseling, prayer, and accountability, and use Internet filters such as Covenant Eyes.
8. Free time is phone time.
As we move from one task to the next, we often check our phone or get caught up online. Our free time becomes phone time. One study found the average person checks the phone 46 times a day. I think it’s probably higher than that. Imagine if you reached out to touch your spouse that often! How much closer would you feel to your husband or wife if you even connected 10 times each day physically or emotionally?
9. Forgetting our manners.
Instead of greeting our spouse with a kiss at the door, we’re often yelling a “Hey” over our shoulder as we continue on our phones and devices. Maybe you’re not opening the car door as often, or loving your spouse each day with little acts of service.
10. We don’t look into each other’s eyes anymore.
A lingering, tender gaze goes a long way in this society filled with people who are looking down much of the time. We are losing eye contact, rarely smiling at strangers while we do our errands. At home, it’s not much better. We can continue to shift our eyes from screen to screen, not really making much eye contact with our loved ones.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Being aware of our phone use is a great starting place.
Be honest: Have you ever turned to your phone during sex (inquiring minds want to know!). Or does the phone eat at your marriage in other ways? Let’s talk in the comments!