I’m not sure about you, but….
I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and know that I missed out on some of my life’s greatest memories, all because I was scrolling on my phone. Marriages today are suffering for many reasons, but cell phone usage is by far on the top 10.
Here are some depressing, honest, and eye-opening statistics that you need to know:
→ The average person spends approximately 5 hours a day on their phone.
→ 10% of couples admit that they have looked at their phone during foreplay and/or sex.
→ On average, we check our phones 47- 59 times a day.
→ 85% of people check their phone while speaking to their friends and family.
Smartphones are taking away attention from our spouse and causing a ton of stress and anxiety in the relationship. Since cell phones are here to stay, we wanted to give you our top seven tips for creating healthy boundaries with your phone usage, which will hopefully open up more opportunities for you and your spouse to connect.
Tip 1– Create a really long password to unlock your phone.
We both have done this, and it helps resist the temptation to look at your phone in those moments of boredom.
Tip 2 – Create tech-free zones.
The car is a great, and safe, place to start; but consider making the dinner table, your bedroom, and during date nights a time where there is no need for phones, iPads, or any other devices. We are calendar people, so we schedule NO PHONES with a reminder for every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6pm – 9pm.
Tip 3 – Put your phone in a different room while sleeping.
Don’t be tempted to browse late at night, or you may never go to sleep. Out of sight out of mind, right? Plus studies continue to reveal that browsing your phone before bad is bad for your eyes, sleep patterns, and stress levels.
Tip 4 – Evaluate your intentions.
Every time you pick up your phone, ask yourself, “What are my intentions and how is using my phone right now going to better my life?” It’s a self-check to make sure that you’re not wasting time because you’re bored, or to avoid your spouse.
Tip 5 – Limit your notifications.
All of those dings, pings, and rings are meant to stop your thinking and concentration so you check your phone, so be cautious with how many push notifications you allow. Also, when I work and need 100% focus, I put on DO NOT DISTURB and bam– I am productive and less stressed. So simple and so effective!
Tip 6– Ask a question from one of our books.
Oftentimes, marriages get in a rut where conversations have stopped and slowly couples feel unsure of how to engage with their spouse, so they turn to their phone instead! A smartphone is always there when you need it and it really is an easy escape. It’s normal to not know how to engage with your spouse, especially if you’ve been emotionally disconnected for some time, which is why we wrote our book 365 Connecting Questions for Couples. These questions will give you a way to engage and connect with your spouse on a deeper level. We’ve done the work for you; now you just have to pick it up and take turns asking the questions.
Tip 7 – Ask your spouse, “Do you feel that I have healthy boundaries with my phone and why?”
I’ll never forget when I asked Casey this question and he responded with, “Well, sometimes I feel like you look at your phone more than you look at me.” And he was right. It was the truth I needed to hear. Be prepared for your spouse’s honest response, because though you may feel like you’re not on your phone often, your spouse may have a different perspective. We can no longer live in our own reality thinking that we’re not distracted by all the rings, dings, and pings, while your spouse is feeling left second to your smartphone. Part of becoming more self-aware is to check in with your spouse and close friends to get their perspective.
Here are some signs that you may be too attached to your phone…
→ You regularly feel a compulsion to check your phone
→ You take your phone with you wherever you go (bathroom, yoga, out to dinner with friends)
→ You can’t enjoy a meal with your spouse or friends without looking at your phone
→ You text or scroll through social media while driving
→ You grab your phone during any pause in your day
→ You sleep next to your phone and even check it in the middle of the night
→ You spend more time on your phone than with the people in your life
→ Your spouse continues to complain about how much you’re on your phone
I challenge you to pick one of these tips and begin to do whatever it takes to spend less time on your phone and more time with your spouse and the people you love. Be consistent and write out the goal you plan on implementing, and put that reminder somewhere you’ll see it often. You’ve got this!
Written by Meygan Caston
Meygan Caston is the co-founder of Marriage365 and lives in Orange County California with her husband Casey and their two children. She loves the beach, dance parties, writing, spa days, and helping couples connect in their marriage. Her life-long dream is to walk the Camino, have lunch with Brené Brown and get on The Price is Right.