This area has been a particular struggle in our own marriage, and one that we have by no means figured out. We’ve had many talks and constantly wrestle with what boundaries work for our relationship. In this day and age you can’t completely disconnect from the world, but nor should you be so distracted by constant email pings and texts that you’re not present for your family. This technology conversation has a lot of gray areas and so it takes a fair amount of effort and communication to hash out.
Here’s the main goal: Don’t allow screen time to replace face time.
People need attention. They need you to be focused on them, listening, alert, and engaged. There is no formula or set of rules that you can follow to guarantee you’ll be great at paying attention. And chances are that as the capabilities of technology expand and integrate more and more into our daily lives, this will be an area you’ll have to work on a lot.
As you talk with your spouse and family about technology, be sure to listen to each other’s opinions and work together to create boundaries that fit your unique needs.
Here are some things we’ve enacted in our own marriage and family life:
1) No technology at meal times. Phones are off or on vibrate, they are not sitting on the dinner table. Computers and iPads are closed and put away.
2) No charging devices in the bedroom. It’s really hard to have quality time when things keep buzzing, dinging, and drawing our attention away from each other. Plug in and charge the electronics in another room.
3) Work email goes to a work computer. For us it helped to not have ministry emails dinging into Jake’s phone. It kept him constantly “at work” even though he was home.
4) The freedom to say no. We each have the freedom to express frustration if we feel the other one is being sucked too much into the technology tornado.
5) One Sabbath day. Technology is turned off and totally ignored one day a week. (In theory! We admit, this one is hard to do.)
Have fun using these new ways to limit the control technology has on your life!
Thank you for loving students,
Jake and Melissa Kircher