I love spending time with Y. Whether it’s in a hammock taking a nap, laying in our favorite chair or walking through a shopping area. As long as we’re together, to me, that’s all that matters.
A few years ago, she shared her heart with me about “being present.” I had unknowingly been checking my cell phone; text messages and Facebook while she and I were “supposed” to be together. I realized that yes, I may have been physically present with her, but I had allowed “my mind” and attention to be elsewhere. That’s when I decided that unless I HAVE to have my phone, and if she and I are together, the phone is kept elsewhere.
I have personally seen couples in restaurants (who are supposed to be together) looking on their phone the entire time! They are totally “checked out.”
To me, that tells the other person “You’re not important enough for me to put down this distraction.”
Years ago, I had picked up one of our children from school and I was talking on the phone with a friend. When the phone call was over, my child said “Do you always have to be on the phone when I’m with you?” Ouch.
Too many couples and families feel disconnected from each other because they are connected to something else.
This subject will push me to the edge of insanity in 2 point 5 seconds flat. The simple, yet complex, subject of having your undivided attention. In this age of technology, it seems easier to “check out” than to present in the moment. I’m not saying technology is the only way we become disengaged at all. It’s maybe just the easiest to recognize .
For me, having my husband and children’s attention is important. Life is short. I think about how we aren’t promised tomorrow daily. I see couples/families in all kinds of social places all glued to their phone. It makes me sad. It’s very easy to lose hours on your phone and not realize it.
There are other ways we “check-out”. Whether it being worried over an issue at work, health concerns or illness , hobbies, chores around the house, friends, family or by carrying grudges from a remark said weeks ago that we haven’t let go of already. We unknowingly become disconnected and leave our spouse lonely and confused.
I know for me- I know my husband. I know from the tone of his voice, his demeanor, his thoughtfulness and kindness , his body language and a lot of other cues where his head is but more importantly where his heart is. I know when something is off. And… It bothers me. It bothers me greatly.
In transparency, it bothers me because I know if he is connected to God he will be connected to me. If he does our devotions first thing in the morning that’s important to me. If he uses his spare time to write new devotions that’s important to me. If he leaves me love notes that’s important to me. Because it shows me that I am his priority behind his relationship with God.
I remember it took us a while to learn how to “dance”. Meaning it took a while for me to let go of being so independent. I worried “what if I buy into the man leading me, being submissive and then it changes because of an argument or because he doesn’t love me”. It took me a while. Over time Bryan showed me that I am always going to be the priority. He says he will always take care of me. But that’s still scary for me. One way he eased that concern was showing me I am his priority. Our marriage is his priority. He puts his phone away. He leaves it in the bedroom in the evening. He spends his time with me. Even if that time involves doing nothing. He does nothing with me. He is present. I count on him to be present. I count on him to be connected to me. I count on him to lead me on good days and on bad days.
So, how do you stop the cycle? How can we begin to “Be Here Now”?
The key to anything is moderation. We encourage you to set boundaries. Figure out what they are together and hold each other accountable. Friends want the best for each other – so speak the truth in love. Be honest. Be open to being accountable and then commit to sticking to it. You can’t follow boundaries for a month and then go back to the same behavior. And lastly, be willing to hear your spouse’s heart. If they are willing to tell you they feel unconnected to you, the last thing you should do is become defensive. The way you react to your spouse will determine whether they share their heart with you again. Be glad they care enough to say they want & need to protect your time together. It means they care and your relationship is a priority to them.
Commit that when you are with your spouse and children that the phone/device are kept in another area. I’ve seen pictures of a “phone/device basket” near the front door. When you walk in the house, place your electronic device THERE.
Maybe have one night a day that the family practices “Fasting” from devices. We began that a couple years ago that we “Fast” off of social media and devices on Thursdays.
When Y and I go to bed, we have agreed that the first few minutes, we scroll through social media. That works for us. After a few minutes, the phones are put away, we do our couples devotion, we pray and go to sleep.
We’re not preaching against electronic devices or TV, but if we allow those things (or anything) to take our attention away from time with our spouses and children, then there’s a problem.
We only have so much time to “be here now” with our family. Life is way too short. At the end of someone’s life, they won’t say “I wish I would’ve spent more time on facebook.”
Show your spouse and children that you value them. Give them your attention.
The Hutson’s 2016
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