Guest post: Looking away from our phones and back at our spouse

*Once in a while, I feature guest posts if only they are truly amazing writers! Every married person should read this one!

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There have been so many nights, too many to count, when I realize that three hours have passed in which I have been so glued to my phone that I haven’t said one word to my husband. And although I’m not intending to, in those three short hours, I have actively ignored him, neglected the importance of time spent with him and placed my own needs and desires above his. On days when we can’t talk or text much before he gets home, I quickly realize that I don’t even have an idea as to what he did that day. I have made a choice to pull us apart, little by little.  

In the moments that we are not actively growing closer to our husband or wife, can’t it be said that we’re growing further apart?

Learning about one another, in any relationship, begins with attention: 
Attention to our spouse, attention to their likes and dislikes, attention to their love languages and attention to their personal needs. But in our world, distractions are continuously interrupting this crucial attention. This very basic prerequisite for “love” can seem impossible to give or to get.

We live in a culture of distraction, one in which so many of us have to be doing more than two things at one time in order to feel satisfied or productive. This means that sitting face-to-face with our husband or wife and having a conversation without anything in our hands, or any background noise on the TV, is becoming nearly archaic.

When we come home from a long day, it’s likely that we have every intention to talk to our husband or wife about our day, to hear one another out, to reconnect and refresh or even to hash out the petty argument that we had the night before in order to move forward. We do intend to grow closer.

But does it happen?

Not always.

Instead, we pick up our phones. We tell social media about our days. We hear other people out (many that we hardly know) as they share their lives on different social media platforms. We take in information from sportscasters and give them our undivided attention. We drown one another out with Facebook clips, video games or a season of Netflix.

We are having an emotional affair with technology. Yet, in this type of “relationship”, your spouse is now competing with perpetual stimulation for just a moment of your time. They are battling the world for your affections and competing with more attractive, more intellectual and more emotionally-enticing people. They have to win out against information that is very often much more interesting than what they ate for lunch.

Once this becomes a nightly routine, rather than just one evening of alone time (which can be healthy and necessary), you are making a choice to grow further apart from the person that you chose to marry. God designed marriage so that when we say our vows, we become one. Our relationships should be a reflection of the interaction that we have with God Himself, lived out with a heart of selflessness and servanthood. It should no longer be “you” time that you seek out, but “us” time.

If we do the same thing every single day and stare at our phones or only watch TV shows together, we are making an active decision to allow our marriages to become redundant and stagnant.

You absolutely do not need a romantic date night out with a babysitter in order to reconnect with one another. These generally mundane evenings give you the perfect opportunity to break out of your every day routine and display affection.

Husbands: Love your wife. Lead your wife. Pursue your wife. Date your wife.

Wives: Enjoy your husband. Listen to your husband. Choose to appreciate his hobbies. Learn about his likes and dislikes.

Here are a few practical ways to implement this into your evenings together:

1. Spend 30 minutes together reconnecting when you both get home. Turn off your phones. I have to put mine in a different room (yes, I’m totally admitting that I have zero self-control), turn off the TV, and if you have kids, let them play – they will get used to ‘daddy and mommy time’ and that is such an important thing for them to see. Sit down together and talk.

Again, you and your spouse are one; you need to make a choice to care about the things that they care about. No matter how trivial their concerns and thoughts may seem to you at the time, your spouse is important to you which makes their concerns important as well.

2. Make an ordinary Monday through Thursday night special for one another. Take turns planning a ‘date night’ during the week. Play a board game, work out together at home, bake a dessert with her, learn how to play his favorite video game, have a glass of wine on the porch and talk about your dreams and goals, have a dance off and laugh with one another, take a walk, read a book.

My husband and I love to read books together. It’s one of our favorite things to do on these weekly date nights. The books that we read create many conversations that we wouldn’t normally have and it challenges us to be better to one another. If you’re looking for some books, we highly recommend, “You and Me Forever” by Francis Chan or “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper.

3. Take the time to talk to one another about your marriage and ask hard questions.
“How can I be a better husband/wife to you?” “How can I serve you better?” “What have I done lately that has made you feel unloved?” “What is one thing that I can do every day to help make our marriage even better?” “In what ways can I make you feel more desired and respected?”

Although some of the answers may be hard to hear, it is important to respond with grace and understanding. Acknowledge that we all fall short and have areas for growth. I always appreciate when my husband will tell me hard answers because I know that they are just as difficult for him to say as they are for me to hear. Questions asked during a quiet and enjoyable time like this give the opportunity to communicate about important things outside of a heated argument. Oftentimes, even if something that we truly feel is said aloud during a disagreement, the tone or context can quickly destroy any opportunity for receptiveness or growth.

4. Go to bed together. Pursue intimacy. It’s likely that you will find that the comfort created during your time together on a ‘date night’, with conversation, fun and cuddling, leads to a feeling of togetherness.

Imagine how different your marriage would look if you did any of these things for even three nights a week!

Your marriage is your priority and your first ministry. Putting away our selfish desires, which includes “checking out” after a long day, will benefit our marriages in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We have the gift to come home to someone whom God has given us to share this roller coaster of a life with.
Why are we letting that waste away?

If your husband or wife continues looking at Facebook or checking emails and texts even after having
 this conversation, don’t grow bitter or angry. Lead by example with love and grace. Set your phone down and just sit with them, without expectation. Before they leave for work, kindly request thirty minutes of their time once they get home. Let them know that you want to hear about how their day went. It may take time, but you will slowly create a new habit together.

By living life through our phones, we are lacking that intentional focus that says, “I am going to give you my attention now. You are home and I see you. You, as my spouse, are important to me. I am devoting these hours to you because I want to show you that I appreciate you and love you.”

Let us put down our phones and put an end to this emotional affair. A great marriage will not come by hoping for it. It’s the combination of a lot of the little things like this, and some very big things, that add up to create a healthy, strong and joyful marriage.

“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2-3

Join the conversation in the comments below and let me know what you and your spouse do for fun together!

With Grace,

Lindsey

Check out Lindsey’s blog at www.sparrowsandlily.com

Also you can follow her on Instagram here!

*If your looking for more articles to help your marriage grow check out “5 ways to build a better friendship with your husband.”

Comments

What do you think?

27 Comments:
October 12, 2016

Great post, we can all fall into this trap at times. It’s good to re-evaluate and get out of it.

XO
Lee Anne
http://www.lifebylee.com

October 12, 2016

Yes! we all need to at different times!

October 12, 2016

What a great and helpful post. I am so guilty of escaping into my phone when I should be turning to him. Life, work, and just plain adulting is hard. And he is way better than my phone – he’s my best friend. Thanks for the reminder!

October 12, 2016

Aww I know.. technology can be such a distraction from important relationships!

October 12, 2016

I love this post! My husband and I are both working at this. I try to have all of my computer things finished before he gets home from work. Most of the time it works, because I get off 2 hours before he does. We also have to go to bed at the same time now, because we live in a studio apartment. I love it because now we have a routine that works together.

October 12, 2016

That is so great! yes, that is what I have been trying to balance not being on the computer all night too getting work done.

October 12, 2016

Great post! I think this also relates to a family atmosphere. So often I’m on my phone, next to my husband who is also on his phone and our son playing video games. And somehow we’ve justified this as a “family” night. I’m going to make it my commitment to utilize these tips!

October 12, 2016

Omg yes!! I totally relate and am inspired to do better!!

October 12, 2016

Awesome post and so true. I can admit I have my good and bad days with my phone. But I need to be more consistent about putting it away. My hubby and I use to read together all the time, I need to get back to doing that.

October 12, 2016

Yes girl! I agree definitely a good reminder to us all!!

October 12, 2016

Great post! I feel like we always slip back into old habits. Thanks for the reminder to put the phone down 🙂

October 12, 2016

Yes! Me too!

October 12, 2016

What a great post! This is something I have been actively working on as well. I definitely needed to read this!

October 12, 2016

Such an awesome post! I know I’m guilty of being too attached to my phone or my computer. 100%. But when I’m with my boyfriend I like to silence my phone and put it to the side to focus on him. These times of just us talking and spending time together are my favorite 🙂

October 12, 2016

That is great girlie! Quality time doesn’t include phones! LOL

October 12, 2016

Technology is such a distraction from the people that are important to us. Great ideas on how to put the phones aside even for 30 minutes and just be with each other.

October 13, 2016

Yes! I couldn’t agree more!

October 12, 2016

These are great suggestions! I sooo need to follow some. I feel like I’m on my computer constantly, and really need to get away from it a bit more. Thanks for sharing this!

October 13, 2016

Yes! I know I think that is part of the blogging struggle but, it is a great reminder for more balance and the importance of relationships!

October 13, 2016

I love this post! I really need to start working on setting up a specific time for this. Thank you for writing this to bring to my attention a huge issue!

October 13, 2016

Oh I’m glad! Thanks for checking it out!

October 13, 2016

Love this! Such a good post, and I am totally guilty of mindlessly scrolling through my phone after work and putting the kids to bed. I need to stop.

October 13, 2016

Yes! Me too.. we have all been there!

October 13, 2016

This is something I really needed to read. I once was all about selflessness and servitude and after years of it I lost myself bc I never took time for self care. I am doing a much better job of that now and in many ways I am doing better. However, where my husband has TOTALLY stepped up his game- even taking over the laundry for me and we have 5 kids!- but I have not yet really sat at his feet to serve him. I am totally guilty of being addicted to the internet and social media. Thank you for sharing this lesson. I aim to be much better starting NOW!

October 14, 2016

Aww thanks so much for sharing! Sounds like you have a great man at home!! It’s great to read articles like this to remind us all of what really matters in this life!

October 13, 2016

Oh my goodness. What a fabulous post and so enlightening. After reading this it’s completely made me realise just how many people i ignore for social media (it is my job) and how hard i find it to switch off. Even reading other posts now I’ve half listened to what people are saying to me. We really do need to put our phones down more. I love your ideas for reconnecting with people. x

October 14, 2016

I know! I couldn’t agree more! It makes you realize how disconnected you can be with people because of technology.

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