There have been so many nights, too many to count, when I realize that three hours have passed in which I have been so glued to my phone that I haven’t said one word to my husband. And although I’m not intending to, in those three short hours, I have actively ignored him, neglected the importance of time spent with him and placed my own needs and desires above his. On days when we can’t talk or text much before he gets home, I quickly realize that I don’t even have an idea as to what he did that day. I have made a choice to pull us apart, little by little.
In the moments that we are not actively growing closer to our husband or wife, can’t it be said that we’re growing further apart?
Learning about one another, in any relationship, begins with attention:
We live in a culture of distraction, one in which so many of us have to be doing more than two things at one time in order to feel satisfied or productive. This means that sitting face-to-face with our husband or wife and having a conversation without anything in our hands, or any background noise on the TV, is becoming nearly archaic.
When we come home from a long day, it’s likely that we have every intention to talk to our husband or wife about our day, to hear one another out, to reconnect and refresh or even to hash out the petty argument that we had the night before in order to move forward. We do intend to grow closer.
But does it happen?
Instead, we pick up our phones. We tell social media about our days. We hear other people out (many that we hardly know) as they share their lives on different social media platforms. We take in information from sportscasters and give them our undivided attention. We drown one another out with Facebook clips, video games or a season of Netflix.
We are having an emotional affair with technology. In this type of “relationship”, your spouse is now competing with perpetual stimulation for just a moment of your time. They are battling the world for your affections and competing with more attractive, more intellectual and more emotionally-enticing people. They have to win out against information that is very often much more interesting than what they ate for lunch.
If we do the same thing every single day and stare at our phones or only watch TV shows together, we are making an active decision to allow our marriages to become redundant and stagnant.
You absolutely do not need a romantic date night out with a babysitter in order to reconnect with one another. These generally mundane evenings give you the perfect opportunity to break out of your every day routine and display affection.
Husbands: Love your wife. Lead your wife. Pursue your wife. Date your wife.
Wives: Enjoy your husband. Listen to your husband. Choose to appreciate his hobbies. Learn about his likes and dislikes.
Here are four practical tips on refreshing your marriage:
1. Spend 30 minutes together reconnecting when you both get home.
Turn off your phones. I have to put mine in a different room (yes, I’m totally admitting that I have zero self-control), turn off the TV, and if you have kids, let them play – they will get used to ‘daddy and mommy time’ and that is such an important thing for them to see. Sit down together and talk. You and your spouse are one; you need to make a choice to care about the things that they care about. No matter how trivial their concerns and thoughts may seem to you at the time, your spouse is important to you which makes their concerns important as well.
2. Make an ordinary Monday through Thursday night special for one another.
Take turns planning a ‘date night’ during the week. Play a board game, work out together at home, bake a dessert with her, learn how to play his favorite video game, have a glass of wine on the porch and talk about your dreams and goals, have a dance off and laugh with one another, take a walk, read a book. My husband and I love to read books together. It’s one of our favorite things to do on these weekly date nights. The books that we read create many conversations that we wouldn’t normally have and it challenges us to be better to one another. If you’re looking for some books, we highly recommend, “You and Me Forever” by Francis Chan or “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper.
3. Take the time to talk to one another about your marriage and ask hard questions.
“How can I be a better husband/wife to you?” “How can I serve you better?” “What have I done lately that has made you feel unloved?” “What is one thing that I can do every day to help make our marriage even better?” “In what ways can I make you feel more desired and respected?” Although some of the answers may be hard to hear, it is important to respond with grace and understanding. Acknowledge that we all fall short and have areas for growth. I always appreciate when my husband will tell me hard answers because I know that they are just as difficult for him to say as they are for me to hear.
4. Pursue intimacy.
It’s likely that you will find that the comfort created during your time together on a ‘date night’, with conversation, fun and cuddling, leads to a feeling of togetherness and a desire for intimacy. Sex is a crucial part of marriage; scripture instructs us to not take a break from it – and for good reason. When we do, temptation is bound to arise and emotional distance is likely to happen.
Imagine how different your marriage would look if you did any of these things for even three nights a week!
Your marriage is your priority and your first ministry. Putting away our selfish desires, which includes “checking out” after a long day, will benefit our marriages in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We have the gift to come home to someone whom God has given us to share this rollercoaster of a life with.
Why are we letting that waste away?
Let us put down our phones and put an end to this emotional affair. A great marriage will not come by hoping for it. It’s the combination of a lot of the little things like this, and some very big things, that add up to create a healthy, strong and joyful marriage.
“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Join the conversation in the comments below and let me know what you and your spouse do for fun together!
Well said! I’m we’re all guilty unfortunately.
We definitely are!
I have learned so much from you through your beautifully written words. Thank you for being obedient to Gods calling and sharing your love for things.
Nikki you are so sweet! Thank you for the encouragement! This blogging journey is full of so many emotional ups and downs- words like yours bless my heart more than you know! Thank you!!!
Technology is an addiction, one that is pretty hard to get rid of nowadays. But if we are committed to changing, it is doable. Thanks for the reminder!
Yes, definitely!! It’s everywhere but intentionality is key! Thanks so much for reading!
Put down the phone, iPad, laptop and snuggle on the couch, watch a movie, talk, eat junk food.
Those are great ideas! Eating junk food is basically my favorite thing ever 😉
This is such a beautifully written and inspiring post! I just bookmarked it so I can reference it. I am so guilty of always being on my phone too! PS: love your sandals!
Awe, thank you Chanel!! You are so sweet. I’m so glad that this helped a little bit – thank you so much for reading! And thanks! They’re from Target! 🙂
This is sometimes so hard! I’ve contemplated having a basket outside our door to leave our phones in, so that our bedroom is a phone-free zone and we can concentrate on each other. Great post.
Yes!! That is SUCH a good idea. It’s such a bad habit of mine to go to sleep and wake up with my phone. I think it’s time to invest in a basket 😉
“Your marriage is your priority and your first ministry.” This just hit me so hard! My husband and I are involved in countless ministries at our church, and lead very full lives. We don’t stop to take a few moments to be with each other, often enough. Thank you for these words! <3
Oh gosh, I can totally relate to this. I remember at one point I was pouring so much of my time into ministry and my stepdad gave me a gentle reminder and said, ‘Jesus is first. Your family is second. Ministry is third. Don’t ever forget the importance of keeping them in order.’ I pray that you and your husband are able to slow down and cut out a couple of areas in order to put one another first! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and for reading!
Love these tips! Thank you! My husband and I have been reading The Argument Free Marriage by Fawn Weaver of the Happy Wives Club as part of our time together. I’m going to share some of these tips with him too.
Oh I would love to read that! That sounds like a great marriage 😉 haha. I will be sure to check it out!
It has taken some work, but we have gotten to where we spend at least 3 weeknights doing something together. It may be reading, playing video games, watching TV, or just talking. We usually wait until the kids are in bed, since they get daddy’s attention from the moment he walks in the door until they go to bed. We still have at least an hour of “us time” before it’s time for us to go to bed.
That is so great Kecia! Good for you!! I’m sure you see the fruit of that in your marriage as well! <3 Thank you for sharing!!
i love this! I find myself doing this wayyy too often and it is something I need to change. Great reminds and ways to implement this.
Oh, me too!! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone but love that we can both work hard to change that. Our marriages are too important!
Awesome tips! After a long day at work and getting the kids dinner and ready for bed, sometimes all we want to do is veg out on the couch with our phones.. but we make an effort to reconnect at least a few times during the wee. (we still love a few nights of veg out time!) ha!
Veg time is totally crucial too ? It sounds like you have the right idea!!
I can honestly say I’m not one of these people, I just started blogging and started using social media (aside from the occasional Facebook post) but I am on my phone more than before which I hate so I leave my phone upstairs for the day/night a lot because it helps me focus on my family, my priority? I’m glad you wrote about this though, I don’t think this topic is discussed enough.
I try to support other bloggers and just hope they understand that sometimes it takes me a bit longer to get to it because I don’t want to ignore the loves of my life! They’ really are my life!?
Awe that is SO awesome and encouraging! Those are some great points that I can definitely glean from. Thank you for sharing!
Well said! I’ll have to remember these.
Thank you for reading!
My husband and I are like this, unfortunately. With a toddler at home, we’re just so exhausted at the end of the day that we tend to work on things that didn’t get accomplished earlier in the day and we ignore each other. I do feel that bond slipping, and we need to make more of an effort to just sit with each other a few nights a week!
Oh momma, you’re not alone! I feel you on the exhaustion. Sometimes I lay on the couch and tell my husband that I’m not moving until bedtime! Haha. But yes, our husbands need our best too, not just our leftovers! Thank you for reading and especially for sharing! ?
You are so right. A good relationship takes time and effort and most of all, it takes attention. Love this post so much because it’s very wise, given today’s distractions.
Thank you so much Carol! You’re so sweet! Thank you for reading!
Totally agree about putting down the phone, computer and reconnecting with your husband and kids.
? Thank you for reading and for the encouragement!!
I think we use the phones to pursue the things we used to pursue with real human interaction, like intimacy. It’d be ideal if we could get this the old-fashioned way by connecting with others.
Yes, totally! Face to face relationships are so, so important. And they bring so much joy!
Great post. I am guilty of this. Definitely. Thanks for the reminders.
Awe of course! We’re in it together! Thank you for reading!
Yes! Putting the electronics away is a must!!
It definitely is!! 🙂
I love everything about this post. I enjoy reading about ways to be better for my spouse and with my spouse. After having kids it became such a challenge to make time for one another, but I was reminded that he is my first priority. It was a struggle for a while on both sides, but we made it through. These are great tips to refresh ones marriage. Thank you so much for sharing.
Yes!! Kids really do change everything. They are such a blessing but it’s obviously important to give them our attention and we can sometimes forget that our spouse needs that attention as well! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for this article! I like this point: We are having an emotional affair with technology. Yet, in this type of “relationship”, your spouse is now competing with perpetual stimulation for just a moment of your time. My husband and I have actually talked about this and really try hard to make quality time for each other. You must be aware of it to manage it. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for reading!! That’s so encouraging that you do that together!
we are so guilty of this in our house. we do try to make almost every night a “date night” after the kids go to bed now. it has actually really helped us to connect. i have seen a huge change in our relationship in the last 6 months. we may just spend time at home, or even watching shows together, but it’s intentional, and it has definitely made a difference. great post!
Awe! That is so amazing to hear!! We have been doing the same and we are noticing a huge difference as well!! I’m so happy for you guys. Thank you for sharing!!
All great reminders that a relationship takes some effort. And that should be a good thing–it shouldn’t be effort that’s hard, right? I think we need to start a date night this week:)
Yes! It’s enjoyable effort 🙂 That’s a great point!! Enjoy your date night sweet friend!
I recently deactivated my Facebook account because it really did feel like an Addiction. I felt the lord tugging at my heart telling me I need more time with him as well as my husband. After 20 years we both recently started asking each other about our days. Its like I’m getting to know him all over again! And your words of encouragement help me so much! Thank you Sister☺
Isn’t it an addiction?! John Piper wrote recently on the addiction to technology and how insanely common it is – but we rarely see it, so good for you for taking that step!! That is so amazing to hear Michelle – you have no idea how happy I am for you!! Love you!
great tips- I’ve been married for 3 months now, and though were’ both usually glued to our phones, I am much more apt to need a break, or want quality time, or just put it down all together – even though my phone/computer is my JOB — he is harder to tear away from his instagram, as an artist he’s typically obsessed w/ posting replying to ‘his fans’ as he says but sometimes you need to stop and pay attention to each other- as of now the best I’ve got or have accomplished is that he is to have no phone at Dinner or when we watch a real 2 hr movie. Other than that, it’s harder to get him to put it down. but at least that’s something… right?! 🙂 – thanks for sharing these simple, obvious but GREAT and such important TIPS – xx Bee
Technology has been so damaging to us in so many ways, particularly our relationships. Obviously there are so many benefits to technology, it has allowed us to get closer to each other in many ways, but I think the damage it can do might be worse. It takes our attention, I think it can create jealousy and suspicion too. But your tips are really good – I’m definitely going to put them into practice with my hubby.