You probably have a few rules in place for your kids and technology. After all, you want them to be safe and healthy. Just like we have technology limits for our kids, our relationships with our spouses can benefit from cell phone rules for married couples.
One afternoon while my husband was talking to me, I picked up the phone and responded to a text that had just come in. As I “multi-tasked,” he just waited for me to put the phone down to shift my attention back to the conversation. He wasn’t happy with me and I wasn’t happy because I felt like I’d been reprimanded. But you know what? He was right. We have rules so technology doesn’t hurt our kids and we also need to set tech guidelines so our marriages can thrive. Here are 3 tech rules that’ll change your marriage.
No Technology at Bedtime
My sons are too young for phones, but they each have a tablet. Our rule is no tablets in their room at night. In marriage, this rule isn’t just about monitoring activity. It’s actually more about connecting when the rest of the house has finally quieted down.
A tech-free bedroom opens the door to conversation and connection. And if you’re finding your sex life needs a boost, a distracted kiss good night as you point the remote at the TV isn’t helping the situation. Remove the TV or try to go tech-free for a month and see what happens—wink!
No Texting/Surfing During a Conversation
While you’re teaching, correcting, encouraging, or questioning your kids, you feel incredibly disrespected if they stare at their phones. Attention is actually just as important in marriage, but for a slightly different reason.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman talk about the importance of “bids” in healthy relationships. A bid is an attempt at seeking a positive connection with your partner.
Here’s an example. Over dinner, you might say, “I’m really proud of our daughter for getting an A on her test.” The comment itself is pretty neutral and a response isn’t absolutely necessary. Your husband might nod or ignore you, chomping into his burger, or he could accept your “bid” for connection and respond with something like, “Me, too. We’ve got ourselves a smart kid.”
If he responds positively in that very small interaction, he is being mindful that you want to connect with him and is “turning toward” you. Research suggests that successful couples turn toward each other about 86% of the time. I’m sure you see where I’m going here. Accepting your partner’s bid for a connection requires paying attention, which you can’t do if you’re using your phone.
Pass the Drop Test.
No, this isn’t about having the right case so your screen doesn’t shatter. The drop test is a basic cell phone rule for married couples. It goes like this: You drop your phone and your husband picks it up. He looks at the site you’re on or the text you just sent. If you’re good with him seeing what you’ve been doing, congrats! You pass the test.
But if your palms get sweaty and your heart starts to race as you think of how you’d explain your way out of what he sees, then, my friend, you’ve failed the drop test. One simple way to ensure an A+ on the drop test is sharing passwords—or even using all the same passwords. Secret-keeping can be lethal to marriage, so don’t let technology be a source of secrecy.
We know that it takes effort and intention to raise healthy kids. So let’s acknowledge that the same is important in marriage and start applying some of the same rules. Yes, it’s going to take work—but the health of your marriage is worth it.
What tech rules do you have for your kids that might apply to your marriage, too?