Have you ever gotten angry with your spouse for constantly being distracted by their cell phone while you’re together?
I’m not here to judge you if you have. Especially since I’ve gotten my nose out of joint over my husband’s phone usage a time or two.
Worse still, I’ve been guilty of going overboard with my phone, as well. I’ve let it control me, giving it my attention when I should be giving my husband my attention instead.
There’s just something so alluring and addictive about our phones, isn’t there?
I remember back to my college days—aka “stone age”—when cell phones might have been invented but the average person only dreamt of owning one.
How did I survive? Lol!
Back then, my desire to know if someone was thinking about me or had something to say to me was much stronger than it is now. So, as soon as I came through the doors of my dorm, I immediately checked my little glass mailbox to see if a message had been left for me.
Nowadays, there can be so many ways people reach out to us. You’ve got to check your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, email and texts regularly in case someone messaged you in the past 10 minutes or so.
Yes, that’s a real and bonafide number!
According to Asurion Research, people check their phones 96 times a day, making it occur about every 10 minutes.
But can this dependency on our devices really cause a negative impact on our marriages?
According to The Gottman Institute, smartphones truly are sabotaging our relationships, and harming our marriages in very tangible and obvious ways. Click here to read the whole article (after you read the rest of mine! Lol!).
Gottman’s experts correlate this with our need for tuning into our spouse’s bids.
A bid is offered by your mate, asking you to recognize and even validate that you care about and are interested in what your spouse is communicating to you.
My in-laws provided an inspiring example of this for me when I was on vacation recently. I overheard a short, but very typical, exchange between these two love-birds …
My mother-in-law shared an observation with my father-in-law, saying, “She really looks pretty in that color.”
Then my father-in-law replied, “Yeah, her skin tone really goes well with that color.”
These two are truly tuned into each other. If I didn’t believe that the “you complete me” line is a lie, I would have used them as proof that it’s true! 😉 #JerryMaguire
The problem is …
Did you know that the Bible talks about the very first “Apple” (aka iPhone) in Genesis? 😉
Consider this . . .
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” Genesis 3:6
Don’t see it?
Forgive me for taking creative license with Scripture, but maybe it was more like . . .
When the woman saw that the Apple iPhone was good for communicating with friends and family as far as her network would roam.
Was pleasing to the eye . . . loaded with all the Facebook and Instagram photos she could peruse, movies she could stream, not to mention Pinterest recipes she could dream of making.
And was desirable for gaining wisdom . . . offering her the latest news and/or gossip. Providing her with a clock for telling time. A fitness app for tracking steps. Notifying her of the best Black Friday sales. A map for getting wherever she needed to go. And giving her a complete library of books, podcasts and blog posts at the click of a button.
No wonder she took some and ate it up! She might have even gorged herself on it most days, while Adam sat back in his hammock watching ESPN on his tablet. (Maybe his device was the 1st generation of Moses’ two tablets! Lol!)
So, how can you and I “dial” back our incessant delirium for more device time, creating the focused time our marriages need?
3 Ways to Stop Being Controlled by Your Phone in Marriage
1. Determine to give your best to your spouse.
Looking at your phone isn’t a sin. But looking at your phone when you should be giving your undivided attention to your spouse during a conversation is. Especially when you’ve done it over and over, hurting your spouse each time.
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one [including your cell phone] separate” Mark 10:9 (my emphasis added).
After all, God calls us to give our best to our spouses (Prov. 3:3-4; Eph. 5:25, 28, 33; Eph. 5:22; Heb. 13:4).
Making your spouse play second-fiddle to your phone is not giving your spouse your best. Why not change that today!
2. Let God—not your phone—be your Master and Controller.
As Christians, we have been given so many freedoms that sometimes we can view our phones as just another one of those liberties in the Lord. We can view our situation very much like the attitudes the Apostle Paul was confronting . . .
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
If you’ve given yourself permission to overuse or misuse your phone, then you are letting it master and control you. The way to resolve that problem is to repent and turn it over to the Lord to control in your life and marriage.
3. Set boundaries with yourself and in agreement with your spouse.
Be brave enough to talk to your spouse about this issue! But also be humble enough to admit your own failures when it comes to the phone.
For heaven’s sake, don’t lead with all the ways your spouse has irritated you with his/her inappropriate phone usage!
Then decide on some boundaries and standards you both want to put into practice. Here are some possible options …
- First, you might want to spell out how much or little you will look at your phones during any dates or times together during your day/week.
- An extra incentive might be to buy a cute little “phone basket” to put in the center of your table. When you come together for meals, you both put your phones in the basket until after your meal is done. Then be sure to ignore any promptings the phone gives you while you eat.
- Lastly, you could turn your phone to silent 24/7. This has been my habit for years! I do this so that I’m the one who controls when I look at notifications or respond to calls rather than my phone dictating my choices.
I hope this post has inspired you to take your phone usage seriously, determining boundaries for when and how much you use it! If you make these changes, I think it will not only improve your marriage but might also improve your life!
Interested in a Bible study that will take you on an inspiring journey through the story of the birth of Christ? Then have I got the book for you! My Bible study, Messiah in a Manger, is on sale now and for a limited time leading up to the season of Advent. Click this link for the paperback that’s on sale for just $3.99 and click this link for the Kindle version that’s on sale for .99 cents!
Then come and join me, going through this study with me and many others in a closed Facebook group. You’ll be able to interact virtually with me and the other participants, view my Facebook live videos that will discuss a summary of the notes and comments for the week, and will be given many other resources like FREE printables, templates and tools.
The study will kick off the week of December 6, 2020 and go for two weeks. It’s the perfect way to prepare your heart for Christmas! Click here to request to join this free group that’s forming now.
Lastly, congrats to Mariel who won Kelly Balarie’s book, Rest Now, in my giveaway last week! Thanks to all of you who commented and support MM!
I’ll be continuing the “Out of Balance” series next week, talking about how to balance television-viewing so that it doesn’t harm your marriage. I hope you’ll join me then too!
What’s another tip you can add for balancing phone usage in marriage?
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