Spouse vs. Technology: The Battle for Attention

//Spouse vs. Technology: The Battle for Attention

Spouse vs. Technology: The Battle for Attention

We see it everywhere we go, heads are down:

  • at a red light, – ( ahem. . .illegal distraction)
  • in the mall, – avoiding others
  • at restaurants, – even on a date
  • on campus, heads are down – regardless of peers walking in step

We communicate. . . but are we connecting? Eye contact and body language are very effective human connectors, even without words. A quick glance can say a lot, from;

“That was cute” to,

“You are sooo in trouble!”

Recently in pre-marital counselling, I asked a simple question; “Marc – when you and Emma are having a conversation and your phone buzzes, do you pick it up and respond?”

Marc knew the answer; he confidently said, “Yes, that‘s what we usually do. It would be rude not to.”

The look in Emma’s eyes prompted me to ask her thoughts. The ensuing conversation was very enlightening for everyone! Marc’s response, while accurate, was not Emma’s desire. She often felt technology was a higher priority.

Marc was surprised, since he felt that he paid attention to Emma (for the most part),making her the priority. The problem was he hadn’t connected with Emma to understand how she felt. This struggle is common, and it often results from each person’s uniqueness. One size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to connecting and ensuring the other person feels they are the priority.

So why didn’t Emma share this with Marc? It felt awkward and there didn’t seem to ever be a good time.

Bring it Home, Blame Me

Does this sound familiar? Do you find it awkward to start a discussion?

Here’s a way to make it easier – blame me!

“Hey, I was reading this article today, and I want to see if we are on the same page.”

or

“Hey this article has some interesting points, and I want to know if you know and feel that you are my priority?”

Additional discussion points

A discussion about relational and digital priorities helps to clarify expectations.

  • When we are in conversation and one of our phones buzzes how will we respond?
    • Are there exceptions?
  • During meals together we will handle technology …
  • What is one technology change I can make, so you feel more like my priority?

When we as a couple make decisions, my wife and I often turn to the Bible as our book of wisdom. As it happens, there is much wisdom to be found about relational connection in the Bible. No digital “rules”, but rather connection principles.

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others,too” (Phil. 2:4)

This verse is great advice when we want to connect and ensure that our spouse feels like they are “my priority”. So remember, while that text message coming in may seem important, the messages we’re sending to our spouse are important as well!

 

Related Posts:

When Technology Sucks the Life Out of a Family

Parents: Some Things You Need to Know About Technology and Pornography

Written by Neal Black

Neal Black

Neal works at Power to Change developing leaders. His passion is to challenge people to listen to God and develop their giftedness as they follow where Jesus leads. Neal and June speak at One Day events for FamilyLife. They love to communicate God’s game-plan for relationships with humour, energy and lots of stories!