For as many years as I can remember, my daughter, who is now 11, has always been appalled that I have to work in the summer. She says, “Oh Daddy, it’s just not fair.” I say to her: “Yeah, what’s that all about? Down with the establishment that’s trying to keep me down.” She has no idea what I’m talking about, neither do I, but she is pleased I agree.
I wish I could take the summer off, but I can’t. And I bet you can’t either. While we can’t take the summer off we can take a vacation from our phone.
Give your phone some time off.
I know every blogger and relationship guru is beating the same drum that mobile phones are killing our relationships. But everyone is saying it because it’s true! Baylor University recently did a study, and unsurprisingly found that when our spouse feels “phone snubbed” it creates conflict and leads to less satisfaction in the relationship. This creates a domino effect and ultimately leads to greater reported levels of depression. So what if this summer, we stopped snubbing our spouse, and snub everyone else . . . a little.
One of the most effective ways to give your phone some time off is by choosing a set time. For instance, Nancie and I put our phones in time-out during mealtimes and when we are in the car together. We also turn off our phones during playtime, especially in the summer—e.g., when we are at the pool, having ice-cream, on a date, on vacation. Get with your spouse and choose the time(s) you are giving your phone some time off.
As to not leave people hanging, change your greeting to alert people that you are going old school this summer. Here’s an example:
“Hello this is_________. If you have reached my voicemail during work hours, I will call you back as soon as possible. If you have called after work hours, you’ve reached my voicemail because we are trying an experiment this summer. At certain times, we are turning off our phone so we can hang out without interruption…just to see what happens. But leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”
No doubt you are going to freak some people out, but you will probably get more responses like, “that’s a great idea,” than “how dare you set boundaries to be with your family.”
I know it’s radical to think about turning off your phone for short periods of time. But do it anyway, you are the boss of your marriage!
I promise if you give your phone some time off, your time off will be much better for your marriage.
Let me know what happens.