Does it feel odd that your spouse seems to have more interest in Pinterest than in you? Wondering why your spouse would rather tweet than stop to give you a peck on the cheek? Ever felt like screaming at your spouse “Face Me! Not Facebook!”?
If your spouse is glued to his or her mobile devices, here are a few ways to get your relationship back on track in terms of intimacy and not let an over-dependence on mobile devices derail your marriage.
Communicate your love for your spouse’s company
For starters, when speaking to your spouse, never begin the conversation with an accusation such as a complaint about how neglected, lonely or unimportant your spouse makes you feel when he is on his device. Instead, tell your spouse how much you enjoy his company - the way he makes you laugh with his witty jokes and how you’d love to hear more about his latest hobby perhaps. Let your spouse know that you would like to be a part of his world because he is important to you.
Truth be told, at times, one conversation such as this is insufficient to do the trick. If your spouse seems like she doesn’t understand your need to spend more time relating to each other, keep persevering – the key is to never give up in gently persuading and letting your spouse know that your marriage is important and you are interested in spending time, communicating with her when you are together. Share with your spouse that you would like nothing more than for the both of you to be truly present for each other as much as possible.
Cultivate healthy habits when using mobile devices
Once your spouse appears open to making changes to his mobile device usage, brainstorm together on how you can both minimize mobile device usage when you are in each other’s presence. Remember to keep the conversation light-hearted. Don’t fall into the trap of bringing up past occasions when you’ve felt neglected to make a point as to what should be done in the future to prevent a similar occurrence.
Instead, take an optimistic and creative approach when coming up with ideas - perhaps you and your spouse can think of a fun word that can be used as some sort of a “safe word” to signal the need for the mobile device to be put down. When going out to dinner, discuss how you can both make it a habit to stop all usage of mobile devices the minute food is served, by having one of you be in-charge of zipping up all mobile devices in a handbag. When in the car, the spouse who is being driven might want to lock up his mobile phone in the glove compartment and at bedtime, put away mobile devices to spend at least 15 minutes cuddling and catching up with each other before drifting off to sleep. If you are concerned that you don’t know how to connect or to begin a conversation at bedtime, perhaps a ritual of sharing about three things that each of you are thankful for that happened in the day might get the ball rolling.
Create fun ways of using mobile devices to strengthen your marriage
Despite what’s been shared, nothing’s stopping you and your spouse from making use of mobile devices to connect with each other. Take the initiative to send text messages, photos or a public display of affection on Facebook any time of the day when you’re apart to let your spouse know you’re thinking about him or her. You and your spouse might also like to share videos or shows that you can both watch on your mobile devices while commuting to and from work. The both of you can then come together later to have fun expressing shock over plot twists or laughing over incredulous storylines.
However, as with all addictions, it’s very easy to fall off the wagon and to go back to old ways. If you’re helping a spouse through his or her over-reliance on mobile devices, expect your spouse to possibly slip up every now and then; and when that happens, resist the urge to lash out in frustration. Instead, take deep breaths and continue to be encouraging and supportive. Over time, it would be rare for a spouse not to see how much you love him in the way you patiently journey with him in marriage. Greater intimacy more often than not will naturally follow.
Copyright © 2017. Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.
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