You’ve just finished a long day of work, dinner and the dishes are done and you and your spouse are finally free to relax together. How often does that involve zoning out on Netflix? Or both of you sitting in the same room and staring at your phones?
While there is nothing wrong with watching a show or scrolling through social media, it is important to be aware of how much technology affects your relationship with your spouse. Recently on The Joe Sikorra Show, Joe took a call from a listener who recognized how both her and her husband’s social media habits were affecting their marriage, but wasn’t sure how to address it. Joe recommended an exercise that would be helpful for many couples as they work to find the balance of connecting with others through technology and connecting with each other in their marriage.
“I made kind of a rule … to not have any technology in my bedroom,” Joe said. “And for me that was a television. A lot of people looked at me and said, ‘What? You’re crazy. How could you not have a TV?’ But I think it’s overall it’s a positive thing not to have technology in the bedroom.”
“Nowadays it’s not just about not having a TV in your room, you’re competing with phones and everything else,” he continued. “I think I’m seeing more people struggle with intimacy – sexually, emotionally, and everything else – because of technology.”
Joe acknowledged that technology was not bad in and of itself, but being aware of the role it plays in our lives is the key to a healthy relationship with technology and a healthy relationship with others. He recommended an exercise that spouses can do to come face to face with their technology habits.
“You can’t get rid of all technology. It’s a part of our life and here to stay,” Joe said. “But I do think it’s important to start measuring it. Maybe put it down on a piece of paper, and take a look at the pros and the cons. And maybe you and your husband can both do this, together with your husband but on separate papers.”
Giving a concrete example, Joe said, “Write down on a piece of paper ‘Instagram‘. For the pros you can write down that you stay connected with all your friends, see pictures of all their adventures, and everything else. The cons are that you’re not connecting with your husband. He’s fallen asleep and you’re still up, and you’re happy about it. Be really honest about it and do an honest assessment.”
The key point of this exercise is to make a plan, together, about what you want your shared life to look like. In the same way you discuss work, finances, children, and other big life decisions, technology use should be something you discuss and plan with your spouse.
“Both of you do this and then say, ‘Where do we go with this?'” Joe said. “Maybe there are some rules that you could institute in your own family to have a healthier relationship with technology.”
Listen to the full conversation below: