April 16, 2015
Social Media and Marriage
I go in and out of seasons of how much time I spend on social media. I am one of those who loves it and hates it. For the most part I love it but I do not like how much time I waste on it sometimes. While it is mostly for my blog, I rationalize the time and energy I put into it. But some days I just have to log out and walk away for awhile.
I recently clicked over to read the article 5 Reasons We Can't Handle Marriage Anymore that was floating around on Facebook. It is a good read on how our society and technology is ruining intimacy.
I felt convicted. So after leaving a comment of thanks to the friend who posted it, I logged out of Facebook. When I hop on again I will be reminded by the log in screen that I want to be intentional and take a little break from it.
While I use Facebook as an example, it is not the main focus of this post. Instead I am speaking of social media in general and the distraction of the internet.
I do not feel guilty about logging in some time to write blog posts or respond to email. It is the mindless scrolling that gets me. It's the not being able to walk away and pick up where I left off. Because both a blog post and an email can get saved as a draft that I can continue later on if something more important grabs my attention.
While I spend a lot of time online and can vouch for the authentic relationships that can be built here, outside of blogging, my husband and I are fairly modest when it comes to keeping up with technology socially. Brent still does not have a smart phone and we are pretty happy with that scenario.
When I get caught up in the scrolling I am reminded that he is not which keeps me accountable to putting my phone down. While many women feel ignored by their husband's phone surfing, I am actually the one in this relationship checking out.
There are so many things in our society that are negatively affecting marriages today but the idea of living in such a distracted and overly stimulated culture scares me. We worry about raising children one day in a world where all they know is technology. I feel like I am a part of few generations who actually grew up without the internet to actually know the difference.
I have some old fashioned views about things, and this internet thing is one of them. How do I, someone who spends so much time online for "business", find a balance? It is hard to jump in and not get sucked under the water.
While these are not new ideas, I thought I would share a few things that helps my marriage have somewhat of a balance when it comes to social media:
1. My husband does not have a smart phone. And he does not have any social media accounts. This is not for everyone but it is extra accountability that I need.
2. We do not bring technology into the bedroom. I plug in my phone at night to charge but that is about it. I do often look at my phone in the morning but my husband is already at work by then. But just as a personal, starting my day right preference, I want to work on doing this less.
3. I try to not be on my phone when we are together. I use apps to log in what I eat and how much water I drink and I sometimes check in on Instagram. But when he is around I try to disconnect. I am not always great at it but I can honestly say I really try.
4. I try to also not be on my phone in the company of others. Even if I am bored. I sit quietly and awkwardly look around. This social practice allows me to carry on the habit at home.
5. I log out. And I delete apps for a season. It's not forever. But if I don't delete or log out I often forget. I was on snapchat and vine for awhile but it was just another thing distracting me. I found that most of the things I wanted to keep up with were already either on Instagram or through a blog reader.
6. I read less blogs. I go through seasons of what blogs I like. I reorganize my reader when needed to only keep up with blogs I really love at the moment. I often come back to old blogs I have not read in awhile when their content is inspiring to me again. But I limit how much I read to only what I love. One less thing to catch up on.
7. I try to finish blog work by 4:00 pm, even if my husband is not home yet. And really, it usually is just enough time to start dinner and pick up the house from the day (we eat around 5:00 like a bunch of old people). I also do not do blog work on the weekends or evenings (unless my husband is working on something). I realize this is a luxury of working part time from home, but if it was taking away our night and weekend time, I would probably be less involved with my blog.
8. I do not network with very many other bloggers. Sure I have blog friends and try to be strategic with ones I am connected with. But at the end of the day, I rarely comment on blogs, are part of very few blogging groups, and have accepted that my blog will not grow as much because of it. But I decided my time and good content had to come before networking. This is not my full time job. I just have to be okay with it.
9. I do not text or talk on the phone much and the friends I am closest to get it. I would rather spend time together in person and so these forms of communication are usually only for the essential. The only people I really talk on the phone with is my best friend who lives out of town and with my mom. I may keep less friends this way but the ones I do have run deep.
10. I try to keep social media encouraging. A few years ago I decided to stop complaining online. I occasionally need to rant but I wanted my online presence to have purpose. I wanted to be more businesslike and share things that were inspiring and uplifting. Because of it, having a social media presence fulfills a creative outlet. I really try to be thoughtful of what I post, asking myself if what I am sharing can be of benefit to others and not just for myself.
// While most of these are for the sake of my marriage, a lot of it comes down to creating disciplines within myself to be intentional with how I spend my days. Both for me and my husband but mostly in the person that I am. When I can do what I know is right for me, that out pours into my relationship with Brent. Because at the end of the day there are so many things that can distract me from the person I want to be as well as take away from the healthy relationship our marriage could have. I choose intentionality over mindless boredom in hopes that in the midst of a changing culture I can choose to live differently for the sake of preserving the relationships around me.
Photos taken from my Instagram account (domesticfash).