Time spent on the phone can be impacting your relationship negatively. Your marriage or relationship is worth unplugging your phone.
A few questions come to mind when you think about the downside of always staying “connected.”
Is it possible that your social media interactions are affecting the quality of your relationships?
Can a cell phone detox help your marriage?
Can social media detox help your relationship?
It’s very likely most relationships can seriously benefit from a digital detox.
How to Digitally Detox Your Relationship: 12
Many married couples admit to being physically present in a room with no communication or interaction whatsoever going on.
Instead, they are engulfed on their laptops or scrolling through their smartphones or tablets.
It’s easy to understand the importance of digital detox and the benefit of stepping away from our phones.
How To Digitally Detox Your Marriage: 12 Effective Ways will help you not only decide to detox, but to stick with your decision long-term.
It will help you learn how to make your digital detox sustainable in your daily life.
What is a digital detox, one may ask?
A digital detox is about having a predetermined period of time when you and your partner don’t access the Internet, use technology or go online.
An intermittent digital detox will not only be beneficial in your relationship with your partner, but also with God.
How many times have you tried to hurry through devotion or time with God so that you can check your social media page?
Most of us would agree that we probably need a digital detox. We can see how social media, phones, texting, and screens steal our moments with our partners and divert our attention.
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It’s been reported that the average adult spends about 11 hours on screens and media. We grudgingly acknowledge that we spend too much time on our phones and tablets,
and we know that it would be a good idea to put our phones down for a while; we may even start off on a digital detox challenge.
Turning off social media and promising you will not use your phone for a week seems simple enough.
But as the digital detox challenge progresses, we often get tripped up by one of two things.
First, we trip up because we did not change our thinking.
Second, we fail the challenge because we did not put in place other tools to replace the tools we rely on our phones.
Keep reading for a treasure trove of practical tips, effective ideas, and mental shifts that will help you digitally detox your marriage.
#1. Start Small
To prepare yourself for your digital detox challenge, start small.
For example, have “phone-free zones” in the house, sacred spaces where family members can be themselves and enjoy one another for who they are without the danger of being captured and broadcasted all over the social media world.
Another way to start small is to have a “bedtime” and a docking station for your phone. At a certain time, have everyone in the family put their phones to “bed” at a certain place. Enjoy the rest of the evening talking, reading, and winding down for the night.
#2. Social Media Fast
Another way you can start small is to have social media fast.
Let’s go over just a few reasons to quit social media for a while.
First, social media causes stress.
The anxiety of comparison, of waiting to see if you are approved, and of worrying about what others think can weigh you down and invade every thought.
We begin to filter every experience through the question, “How would this look on social media?”
This is stressful!
Second, social media tempts you to argue.
God’s word says, “The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient.” – 2 Timothy 2:24.
Social media presents a strong temptation to join in with the bickering, arguing, and fighting that goes on constantly on political, social, and theological issues.
Stepping back helps you honor the Lord.
Try being off social media for a day at a time at first. Later, you can lengthen the time you stay off media.
#3. Implement The Replacement Principle
If you were about to get rid of your car, you would need to research bus routes, buy bus tickets, find stores within walking distance, or buy a bicycle.
In the same way, before you launch into a longer social media fast or digital detox challenge, you’ll need to collect the tools that will help you accomplish the things that you previously relied on your phone to accomplish for you.
Do you use your phone as a camera, map, telephone, radio, or internet browser?
For most, they use their phones and gadgets as their ultimate machine for listening and streaming music.
Then you’ll need to have other tools in place to accomplish those goals.
Many people end up justifying or making excuses for the use of their phone during a detox: “Well, I just need my phone to take a quick picture,” or, “I need to quickly lookup something on Google.”
Replacing these functions with other tools is an important key to making your detox a success.
To start with, make sure you have access to a computer with a browser, Google, and the Internet.
You might choose to go to the library to use the computer to avoid being unnecessarily distracted.
If you’re going completely screen-free, make sure to get an encyclopedia, dictionary, and a phone book!
Second, you’ll need a point and shoot camera. You can get creative with polaroid, film, or digital.
Further, make sure your house phone – is in working order and that you can get an email on your computer.
You may want to dig out or purchase a CD player or radio so you can have music.
How about a map? Google maps on your computer is a great tool, and you can print the instructions or write them down on a piece of paper.
However, a paper road map will come in handy, especially on long trips.
Finally, make sure to acquire a daily planner or a wall calendar to keep track of your appointments and dates.
With these tools in hand, you will be ready to go!
#4. Just Put Away Your Phone
Just do it. Put the phone AWAY!
You can even lock it up in a lockbox and give your spouse the key!
This is the simplest step—and the hardest—as you digitally detox your marriage. It’s not easy, but you can do it!
#5. Increase Your Focus
Now that your phone is put away, you will begin to experience some encouraging mental shifts.
First, you will gain more focus as you stop dividing your attention.
Phones have a tendency to be a ubiquitous cause of split focus.
We listen to our partner talking while scrolling through our social media feeds, our attention divided.
Our face is turned away from them when they are talking to us, not really focusing on what they are communicating.
Throughout the Bible, hiding and turning away your face is a sign of rejection or anger.
For example, in Psalm 27:9, the psalmist begs, “Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper; do not leave me or abandon me.”
When you turn your face away from your spouse and towards your phone, your spouse may perceive your divided focus as rejection.
The book, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, admonishes, “Dividing attention is a typical expression of disdain.”
Steve Call’s book, Reconnect, affirms that gaze aversion and ignoring your spouse create a strong sense of disconnection.
Now that your phone is out of the picture, it may feel uncomfortable to not be able to hide in your phone.
Rather than running to other hobbies or solitary ambitions, make it a point to spend time with your spouse, look them in the eye, listen to them talk, and treasure their presence.
Take this opportunity to intentionally turn towards your spouse.
#6. Mental Margin
Another benefit of a digital detox challenge is the increased space in your mind. A mental margin is an important ingredient for creativity.
For example, Isaac Newton discovered gravity while he was in quarantine.
Why? Because he had mental space and time to breathe, ponder, think–and yes, be bored.
Although boredom can create a terrifying silence, try to think of it in a positive light.
Give yourself time to breathe and think and just be; give yourself some margin
#7. Create Real Memories
Be present with your spouse in real-life moments.
Tony Reinke says that “the richest memories in life are better ‘captured’ by our full sensory awareness at the moment—then later written down in a journal.”
You don’t need your phone or your Instagram profile to truly enjoy the sunset, the restaurant, or the tourist attraction; you don’t need the “likes,” comments, and shares to show you that your experience with your spouse is valuable.
Instead, look your spouse in the eyes, hold their hands, and turn to God in a prayer of thanksgiving for the water lapping on your feet, the gentle air caressing your cheek, and the presence of your loving spouse.
Write a descriptive paragraph about what you saw, felt, heard, smelled, and tasted.
Record the moment just for yourself, your spouse, and God.
Treasure a moment that doesn’t need to be photographed and shared.
#8. Create Meaningful Art
In his book, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, Tony Reinke said that art is “deep, thoughtful, original reflections that emerge from the place where creation and biblical truth meet your life and worship.”
As you digitally detox your marriage and step away from your phone, you will have much more time to think and ponder life.
Creative juices will begin to flow.
Make sure to express that creativity in art, music, writing, poetry, or other venues.
As an added benefit, use that creativity to show love and honor to your spouse.
#9. Remember What God Has Done.
A key theme throughout the Biblical narrative is that of remembering.
Psalm 103 begs us not to forget all the good things God has done.
Deuteronomy 8:11 is a plaintive plea to remember God, even when your life is full of good things and sensuous enjoyment.
In Hebrews 13:3 and Colossians 4:18, God tells us to remember those who are suffering for Christ.
Deuteronomy 8:1 tells us to remember his guidance and the way he tests us and shows us his character.
In other words, one of the most important functions of our God-given minds is remembering our Lord.
Digital media is designed to mold and shape the way we remember, think, and desire.
Facebook reminds us of birthdays, photos we posted three years ago, and posts that were well-received last year on this date.
It reminds us of the friends that it believes we love the most. Incessantly, Facebook reminds us that it “cares” about us.
Now that you have decided to quit social media for a while, you are free to form your own memories and shape your mind according to your own values and desires.
Make a list of the most important dates that you would like to recall: birthdays, anniversaries, and meaningful occasions.
Journal about things you are thankful for and ways that God has answered prayer so that you can look back later and remember on your very own, precious memories.
#10. Choose Your Own Path
Social media gurus and online sales technicians are working overtime to direct your train of thought, your purchases, your thought patterns, your memories, and your mind.
As you choose to let go of your phone and the online world for a while, enjoy the freedom of choosing your own path. Think your own thoughts, ponder your own ideas, and interact with your own choice of people.
#11. Turn OFF Notifications
Consciously disable or pause notifications for text messages, WhatsApp, Instagram, FB for a chosen amount of hours. You can choose between 6-8 hours, not just 1-2 hours.
#12. Out of Love and Respect
Love and respect are the basics of marriage. Respect is an important sustaining force of any relationship and should be reciprocal.
Every partner interested in the happiness and longevity of their relationship should care enough to know when to unplug the phone.
Caution; sometimes you can’t turn everything off completely if you are the first responder to your spouse, children, or parents. You get the idea though, RIGHT?
The main point here is to be wise and to not allow the digital craze to creep in as a Satan and mess up your relationships.
Just placing a curfew on your devices, say after a certain time when everyone is home or in a safe place can be beneficial to your overall relationships.
As you put these tips into practice, you will discover a life that is infinitely richer and more beautiful than the life behind a screen could ever be.
You will likely come away refreshed and ready to engage the online world in a more intentional way.
If you enjoyed the detoxed lifestyle, you may even decide you don’t want to go back!
No matter what digital choices you make going forward, make sure to never stop enjoying new memories with your partner, looking into people’s eyes, and listening deeply to what they are saying.
Never forget to think your own thoughts and spend time with the Lord, one-on-one. He is the one who will help you make careful, intentional choices and live your life with purpose as you digitally detox your marriage.
Have you had a digital detox before? If so, how was it? Please leave your comments below. I’m sure someone will be blessed by your comments.
As always, I’m sending lots of love, positivity & blessings your way………..♥