PHONES!!! I have a love/hate relationship with my phone! I love being able to be reached whenever in the case of an emergency, but I also hate the fact that I can be reached whenever, when it is certainly not an emergency. I love that I have the freedom to check my emails on my phone, but I hate that I feel that I always have to be caught up on email because it is at my fingertips at all times. I love that I can upload a picture of my family having fun to my social media account, but I hate the fact that I get trapped on that social media account and waste countless hours a week scrolling through to see what everyone else is posting. I know smart phones were created for convenience, but I am convinced that Satan had something to do with it! I truly believe that Satan knew that we would use these phones to destroy our day-to-day life and our real relationships.
Please do not get me wrong, I do not think that a cell phone is evil, but I do think that they way we, as humans, use our cell phones can have negative consequences for our souls. A few examples: Getting sucked into the politics on any social media site and allowing ourselves to get upset because someone made this comment or did not back up my thoughts on this dilemma. Cutting family time short because the number of notifications in my work email (while I am at home with my family, not at work) is getting out of hand. Pornography is at our fingertips…we do not have to pull it up on a computer, we can look at it on our small screen in front of our eyes only.
Can our phones be used for good? Of course! I enjoy the fact that my aging parents can call me whenever they need me, even if it is to answer a question about how to use their computer. I love being able to send a quick text to my husband or best friend to let them know that I am thinking about them throughout the day when I do not have time to make a lengthy phone call. We can use them to spread good news and positivity on social media sites. I find safety in the fact that my oldest girls have cell phones so when they are babysitting, they can reach me at any time if they have questions. I love ordering groceries on my phone so that I do not have to spend so much time at the stores, and I save money! So no, cell phones are not all bad, but a balance we must stive for.
Dan and I are mentor couples for many engaged couples. We work with them on a pre-marital inventory and there is not a couple we have worked with (in the last eight years we are probably at over fifty couples) that has not had to talk about this statement: I can foresee technology, such as television, phone, internet, or video games impacting the quality of our communication and time together. Every…single…couple struggles with the balance of their relationship and the use of their phone. We tell each of those couples that we ourselves get sucked into our phones and waste a whole lot of time on these devices. So, what can we do?
Dan and I have done a lot of brainstorming in relation to this topic. We have some ground rules in our home and we have made some of these suggestions to the couples we mentor. However, they too, have been given homework to see what works for them and report back to us…we too, learn from them. We do not allow the use of cell phone during meals in our home. This is a sacred, family time. In our home we also have family time where we play games, read, or even just talk and we ban cell phones from these times as well. There are times that our entire family goes through, what we call, “A Technology Detox!” This means we typically give up technology that is not needed for work or school for a week…As a mom, I love these weeks…my kids actually talk to me without me having to pry. The worst time for me is right before I fall asleep, it is almost like I cannot fall asleep without making sure facebook land is ok! How absurd!!! I am working on making sure that I put my phone away an hour before I go to bed. I hear this also helps one sleep better…I need that!
Some suggestions given by some of our engaged couples were that they put their phones aside for the first hour that they are together for the day. They focus only on each other and how their respective days were. Many have stated that they enjoy eating meals without being on their phones and thank us for that suggestion. Other couples have stated that they have not specifically labeled a time of no phone use, but they have been more attentive to their cell phone usage, especially now knowing that it hurts their spouse to be.
These are not grand gestures, they just are small things that allow our spouses and families know that they have not been replaced by a screen. Does your phone seem to run your life? If the answer is yes, what can you do in 2021 to make some changes?