How to Keep Social Media from Killing Your Marriage
by: Ashley Willis
A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me an article on “phubbing,” and I read it only because I honestly had never heard the term before. When I began reading it, I quickly realized that most of us are extremely familiar with the act of phubbing-we didn’t know it had a name.
So, what is it?
According to the article, “‘Phubbing’ is ruining American relationships,” phubbing your partner is the act of being on your cell phone instead of giving them your full attention when the two of you are together. In other words, you are snubbing them by being on your phone, hints the term phubbing. As my husband and I have discussed in many of our blogs, excessive cell phone usage is hugely detrimental to marriages, and social media tends to be the heartbeat of our obsession with our phones.
The article goes on to say that partners who felt “phubbed” were not only dissatisfied with their relationship, but many eventually experienced depression over time. This is very concerning. As a married couple, we must prioritize our spouse above our cell phone/social media. This probably seems like a given to most of you, but, believing this and doing it are two different things. I know, because I struggle with this issue, too.
I feel the pressure of responding to emails and Facebook messages as soon as the notification comes through. I love perusing social media, “liking” friends pics on Instagram and seeing the latest home décor boards on Pinterest. But, I can’t let these things control me. They are TOOLS, and if I’m not careful, they can become real TIME-SUCKERS that take away from my family.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen the disappointment in my husband’s face when I wouldn’t put my phone down, and I chose to keep on looking at my phone anyway. In those moments, I was choosing a device over my husband. I chose to retreat from my husband, who was right in front of me instead of engaging with him. I will never get those moments back, but, thankfully, I’ve learned from my mistakes.
Dear Reader: YOUR SPOUSE DESERVES YOUR FIRST AND BEST ATTENTION – A DEVICE DOES NOT
Here are a few ways that we can prioritize our spouse above our phone:
1. Put your cellphones in a specific place at a particular time each night so that you can give your spouse and family your full focus.
2. Do your best to not be on a phone call or texting when you get home from work so that you can greet your spouse and kids with a smile and your best attention.
3. Share all your passwords with your spouse so that there are no secret interactions or accounts that your spouse isn’t aware of.
4. Don’t go searching for “old flames” on your social media, and don’t send them messages or respond to their posts. No good will come from this, and it will damage your spouse’s trust in you.
5. Install filtering software on all your devices (smartphones, laptops, e-readers, iPads, etc.) to block inappropriate websites and to monitor how much time you spend on your devices and different websites. You can even set time limits as well. A great site/app for this that we often recommend is called Qustodio.
6. Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table, and don’t have it on the table during a date night. If you receive a call/text, ignore it and check it later when your family dinner or date is over.
These may seem like simple steps on the surface, but they can be challenging to stick to in our day-to-day life. Regardless, our spouse and family are worth it! Friend, we must pause and take a good look at ourselves and our marriage. Think about your communication habits, and ask yourself if you are phubbing your spouse? If so, please join me in choosing to STOP obsessing over the phone, and start giving your partner, marriage, and family your first and best attention…before it’s too late.
For additional tools to help build your faith and your marriage, please download our free 31-Day Marriage Devotional at DaveAndAshleyWillis.com.