Ever bothered by how much your partner is on his/her phone? If so, you are not alone.
51% of couples say their partner is often or sometimes distracted by their cellphone while they are trying to have a conversation with them. While, 40% say they are at least sometimes bothered by the amount of time their partner spends on their mobile device. (Pew Research Center, 2019) It may make you feel unimportant and trivial.
What can be done about it?
Here are a few tips from the Build Your Marriage! website:
- PLAN WHAT TO SAY.
Before addressing your spouse, pre-think how you want to start the conversation and where you’d like to end up. When you talk, keep the focus on your desire to connect with your spouse. Instead of attacking them and their behavior, let your spouse know how you feel when they are distracted by their phone.
“Babe, I love you and I really enjoy our conversations—even the casual ones about how the day went. But when we talk and you get distracted by your phone, I feel devalued and as though whoever is contacting you is more important than me. Can we set aside time each day when our phones aren’t near us so we can just talk without distractions? Or is there a better solution you might recommend?”
- CHOOSE YOUR TIMING WELL.
Often we allow our frustration to build up until we blow up. “WHY do you ALWAYS have to be on your PHONE? DON’T I MATTER TO YOU ANYMORE???” Suddenly your spouse is on the defensive, the tone is set, and no helpful resolution will be reached.
Instead, ask your spouse when the best time would be to talk with them about something that is important to you. Perhaps on a date night or a walk you can set it up by saying, “There’s something that has been on my heart for a while that I need your help solving. I’d like to try to talk without distractions if possible. Would this be a good time to talk about it? If not, when would be good for you?”
- AGREE ON DEVICE-FREE TIMES.
Maybe you make the decision that dinner time will be device-free. Together, you choose to leave your phones on the counter (you can make this a whole-family commitment). When our church youth group used to go to a restaurant they would stack their phones on top of each other until the meal was over and they couldn’t touch them (can you imagine teenagers doing that???).
Some couples choose to charge their devices away from their bedroom. Then when they go to bed their focus is entirely on each other as they drift to sleep.
- SET THE EXAMPLE.
When you want a distraction-free time with your spouse, put your phone away and tell them, “I want to focus entirely on you.” Over time, your example will set the stage for them to make the same choice. Be patient, though, as they may need some time to be weaned off their device dependence.
You CAN restore connection with your spouse and tame device distraction in your marriage. As you do, you will appreciate each other more and build your marriage.