Cell phone use not only decreases your marital satisfaction, but it also makes it more likely your spouse will become depressed.
Don’t believe me? Does this scene sound familiar?
Your day at work was crazy. Three people called off, so you had to do their jobs as well as your own, and then traffic was at a standstill on the way home because a tractor-trailer spilled a load of frozen pizzas all over the road.
By the time you get home, all you want to do is collapse in your big comfy chair and decompress, so you pull out your cell phone and begin mindlessly scrolling through your favorite social media app. You laugh at cat videos, like pictures of the neighbor’s kids, and try to disappear for a bit.
But how long does that last?
In the not so distant past, people who had the same kind of day as you had would come home, grab a newspaper, and sit in their comfy chairs. They caught up on the news before dinner and then put the paper away and didn’t feel compelled to pick it up again.
What is it about technology that makes it so addictive? Why can’t we seem to put down the phones and enjoy the rest of our lives?
- Cell phone use fulfills our natural need for stimulation, interaction, and variety. In other words, it never ceases to amaze us.
- Social media and other online activities stimulate the pleasure center in our brains in a similar way to how alcohol or other drugs may affect us.
- Being connected creates FOMO. Fear of missing out. There is so much information at our fingertips. This makes us feel like it’s important always to know what’s going on.
You’ve seen the diet posts where health coaches explain how you can trade a less healthy option for one that is better for you. You know, eat veggies and hummus, not a bagel with cream cheese?
We’re going to take that same idea and apply it to habits in your marriage. And I promise the trade will be much more satisfying than raw veggies.
Let’s see how we can trade out tech habits that are bad for you with some that will improve your marriage.
Trade Jealousy for Appreciation
When you spend too much time on social media, you begin to get the idea that everyone else has it better than you. Their spouse is more attentive, their kids are better behaved, and their job is much more satisfying. But you must remember what you see online is not necessarily real life. People generally do not post about the fight they had with their spouse, the kids fighting or the fact that they just got fired. What you see is the highlight reel. You can’t compare your reality to their perfect illusion.
Instead, appreciate what you do have. Remember that no marriage is perfect. No person is perfect. We are all just people living in a fallen world trying to do our best to navigate life and make an impact in some way.
Put away your phone and look for something that you can love and appreciate about your spouse. Then tell them. Do this each day so you can build up your spouse and treasure the things about them that made you fall in love in the first place. Other people’s highlight reels won’t be as impressive when you create a real life you can celebrate.
Trade Screen Time for Talk Time
If you are typing and scrolling more than talking to your spouse, it’s time to change that habit.
When you spend hours watching tv or flipping through social media, your spouse can begin feeling lonely and resentful. The more comfortable you are with interacting with a screen instead of with your spouse, the more difficult it will become to change it.
Instead of spending time interacting with others online, spend that time talking to your spouse. Suggest that both of you put away the screens. Then refresh the connection with each other instead of on the internet.
One easy way to do this is to put down the phone during dinner. Put it in another room and spend the dinner hour talking about your day. Even 15 minutes together without a screen each day can make you feel closer.
Trade Cyber Connections for a Physical Connection
You can’t hug a cell phone. Well, I guess you could, but it won’t have the same effect as hugging another person.
Our bodies are designed to benefit from physical contact. Holding hands, kissing, hugging, they all help reduce stress, keep us healthier, reduce fear, and make us happier. These benefits come from the release of Oxytocin in our bodies. Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone” because the levels of it rise when we hug or touch someone else.
So if you and your spouse seem to have a device between you at all times, put the screen down and cuddle up for a few minutes. It will help reinforce the connection between you, and you can discover that time with your spouse is more satisfying than time online.
Trade Sharing with the World for Sharing with Your Spouse
Are you one of those people who shares your life on social media numerous times each day? If so, why do you do it? Most people who share many details of their lives online are only posting because they are craving attention and validation. And if you are doing that, you are probably doing so because you don’t feel valued in your life.
It’s time to start working on improving the real relationships in your life.
The people who are the most interested in you and your highlights and your struggles are going to be people you interact with in real life. It’s okay if you don’t post something on social media every day, no one will forget about you.
Look for the opinion of the one who should matter the most to you, your spouse. Tell them the things that happened to you or that you were feeling. When you find yourself tempted to post, ask yourself why you are posting it. Would it be more productive to tell your spouse about it and enjoy the moment or work on the problem together?
Trade Addiction for Freedom
Whether you think you’re joking or not when you say you’re addicted to your phone, it may not be something to take lightly. Addiction has ruined countless marriages when things like alcohol, drugs, or gambling become more than the person can control.
You may think, “It’s just a phone. It’s not taking anything away from my family as those other addictions do.” Wrong. It’s taking away time you should be spending with your spouse and children. Time is a nonrenewable resource. Once you’ve spent it, it’s gone. Addiction to cell phone use robs us of being part of the many joys life brings.
Addiction is a stronghold on the mind. Satan must love that there is a new thing to keep us addicted to because it keeps our marriages from living up to its potential in Christ.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV).
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (ESV)
Take Action Today
Are you ready to make the trade? Do you need to eliminate technology addiction and get closer to your spouse?
If you are serious about making a change in your relationship, we can help. Sign up for our one-month marriage intensive program where you will learn how to make the trade and put the attention away from your phone and back on your spouse. In this program we help you choose a habit you need to change, create a plan to solve the problem, and support you along the way, keeping you accountable for implementing the changes.
Click here to take advantage of our One-Month Marriage Intensive to improve your marriage by changing the way you think about it.
Improve your marriage by trading habits that tear you apart with new patterns that create a closer, more satisfying marriage.