Do you ever let little things get in the way of what is most important?
A couple weeks ago, I made dinner for my husband, and when I go through all of the effort to make food, I like it to be eaten immediately (you know, while it’s still hot). After informing him it was ready a couple times and without any sign of him, I went to go find him. He was playing a game on his phone. To say I got “a little upset” might be an understatement. During my rather sharp confrontation, he pointed out that I also played the game when he made sacrifices for me; instead of giving him my undivided attention at night while he would fight to stay awake after a long work day, I would play the same game and miss out on an opportunity for connection.
It was a big blow to my pride to realize that I was part of the problem. How could I let something so stupid get in the way of the thing that matters most to me?
That night, I deleted the game. Here’s why: Anything that has little to no value has no place in our lives, especially if it interferes with what has the MOST value. Relationships are precious, especially your relationship with your spouse! F. Burton Howard said:
“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until is gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by”F. Burton Howard
If you want your marriage to last, you have to put it first! You need to give it the attention and care it deserves. You need to cherish it above all else. But sometimes we allow little things to take over. Among the most common distractions is technology.
By now it is common knowledge that technology can connect us to people in the digital world, at the expense of our social connections in person. Of course, not all technology use is harmful (you’re using technology right now to read this!), however, it can become harmful if used improperly or unrestrained. In a study about internet use among newlyweds, research revealed that compulsive internet use (compulsive indicating lack of self-control, i.e., feeling the urge/need to look at your phone) increased conflict, concealment, and feelings of exclusion, while decreasing the feelings of intimacy and passion in marital relationships (Kerkhof et al., 2011). This suggests that it is not necessarily damaging to use technology, but how we use it. If you find yourself giving into the impulse to use technology instead of interacting with your spouse, it may be a sign of compulsive behavior.
We need to decide what’s more important: Having a meaningful and insightful conversation with your spouse OR breaking your score in an app? Developing a pattern of expressing love to your spouse OR reading about what kind of cake Miley Cyrus had at her wedding?
They may seem like such small and insignificant distractions that they couldn’t possibly disrupt your marriage that much. But they build up and fill the time you could be using to strengthen what is not small and insignificant: your marriage.
Of course, technology is not the only distraction or threat to our relationships. What are some distractions that are preventing you from creating meaningful moments with your spouse? What are some unnecessary parts of your life that pull you and your spouse apart and, in some cases, even cause conflict?
I would like to challenge you to identify what things of little value are getting in the way of your marriage, then work on eliminating them by replacing them with something that will help enrich your relationship.
Leave a comment below of what you plan to do!
Kerkhof, P., Finkenauer, C., Muusses, L. D. (2011). Relational Consequences of Compulsive Internet Use: A Longitudinal Study Among Newlyweds, Human Communication Research, 37(2), 147–173, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2010.01397.x