Our lovely blog reader Erinle Olatunji has contributed to our ‘From The Heart’ feature – a weekly Sunday spot on the blog where we hand the blog back over to our readers to write about all matters of love and life.
Over the years, my wife and I have interacted with countless married couples, and a trend we’ve discovered is that the way a couple handles their cell phones reveals a great deal about the overall health of their marriage. It might sound bizarre to you that your phone reveals some of the strengths and shortcomings in your marriage, so let me explain…
Since our phones are with us most of the time, our actions, apps and attitudes related to our phones can actually reveal some patterns that are impacting our marriages (in both POSITIVE ways and NEGATIVE ways). You can discover a LOT about the current strengths and the current shortcomings in your marriage by closely examining your phone use.
We have seen this play out countless times with countless couples. The three “tests” listed below can help you evaluate the current health of your marriage and spark some healthy conversations between you and your spouse.
HERE are 3 ways your phone can reveal strengths and shortcomings in your marriage…
1.How OFTEN we call and text our spouse reveals a lot about the place of PRIORITY our marriage has in our daily schedule.
I completely understand that some jobs are more flexible than others, but I’ve come to discover that the strongest couples find a way to connect throughout the day even when they have busy schedules. When my wife Ashley was a schoolteacher, she had a crazy schedule throughout the day, but she would still make it a priority to call me several times through the day when she had a break or planning period just to check in.
Those frequent interactions, even if they are brief, area lifeline that keeps a couple connected. If you’re not talking through the day, you’re depriving your marriage of vital communication.
Just as important as it is to answer your phone when your spouse is calling, it is EQUALLY IMPORTANT to try and stay off your phone when you’re together with your spouse. I know this isn’t always possible, but the more time you can spend together in conversation without having to compete with phones for each other’s attention, the better off you’ll be. Talking with your spouse is always better than texting with someone else (or checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush or catching Pokemon, etc.).
2. Any form of SECRECY related to our phones reveals a serious lack of honesty, transparency and trust in the marriage.
I recently received a message through my Facebook page from a wife struggling with a very common issue in modern marriages. To paraphrase her message, she said, “My husband always has his cell phone with him. Sometimes, he even sleeps with it in his pocket. He never wants me looking at it.
I’m afraid he’s communicating with other women or hiding something else, but I don’t want to snoop or make things awkward by demanding to look at his phone. He gets so defensive when I mention it. I’m heartbroken, but I feel stuck, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to make the situation better. Am I being overly sensitive or is he the one who is out of bounds?“
When a spouse is defensive or secretive about his/her phone, it’s usually a symptom of some kind of unhealthy behavior. It’s not aways infidelity, though inappropriate interactions with the opposite sex are certainly common among people who keep passwords from their spouse.
When you don’t give your spouse full access to your phone, you’re essentially saying, “I’m not giving you full access to myself. There are secrets I don’t want to tell you, behaviors I don’t want to reveal to you or activities I don’t want to share with you.”
You might pridefully believe that you have the right to keep secrets from your spouse, but any form of deception or secrecy in a marriage is toxic. The healthiest couples value transparency over personal privacy. When a spouse operates in secrecy, it creates distrust and disunity in the marriage.
So, if you’ve truly got nothing to hide from your spouse, give him/her the security and comfort of knowing that they have full access to your phone (and everything else). Don’t make him/her have to ask. Be proactive about promoting transparency in your marriage. If you’re hiding something, get it out in the open. A painful truth is always better than a hidden lie. Your marriage is more important than your phone.
3. Check your photos. The amount of the pictures of your spouse and pictures of the two of you together on your phone is visible evidence of how much (or how little) you’re really part of each other’s lives.
This one is going to step on some toes because you might say that you don’t like being in pictures or your spouse doesn’t like being in pictures, but even still, I’m convinced that what’s in your photos reveals a lot about what’s in your priorities. If it’s ALL pictures of the kids, that’s out-of-balance.
Yes, we should take plenty of pictures of the kids, but if there are no pictures of your spouse or no pictures of the two of you together, you need to ask yourself, “Is my spouse a minor SUPPORTING CHARACTER in my life or a major LEAD CHARACTER in my life?” Ponder that.
I’m not saying you’ve got to be constantly taking selfies together, but pictures of your spouse and pictures with your spouse are a visible way of declaring, “My marriage matters to me. My spouse is a priority to me. Our lives are connected and shared with each other in every way. We LOVE each other.”