Nurturing Love in a Digital Age: Is Your Smartphone Hurting Your Marriage?
Is your smartphone hurting your marriage?
In today’s fast-paced world, where smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, it’s essential to pause and reflect on the impact these devices can have on our most cherished relationships.
As people who value the sanctity of marriage deeply, we want to address a concern that many of us—ourselves included—may need to consider: how our smartphone usage might inadvertently be affecting our marriages.
We know this is a sensitive topic because nearly every couple we serve includes smartphone use as a point of contention in their marriage. So, let’s explore this topic with a humble heart, guided by both real-world observations and timeless wisdom from the Bible.
We’re going to specifically look at five ways our smartphones may be hurting our marriages. It is our prayer that, through shedding light on these areas, we all will have a better understanding of how we can find healthy ways to nurture our love in this digital age.
1. Disconnecting from Our Spouse: Is Your Smartphone to Blame?
In an era where we’re always connected to our devices, we can unintentionally disconnect from our spouses. Data from various studies suggest that excessive smartphone use can lead to decreased communication and emotional intimacy within marriages.
“Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10
Our phones make lousy companions. Do you spend enough time with your phone that someone might mistake it as your best friend? We need to remember that our spouses are God-given companions for life and nurturing that connection is essential.
Tip: Designate Daily Device-Free Time
Set aside a specific time each day where both you and your spouse commit to putting your smartphones away. During this time, engage in meaningful conversations, activities, or even simply enjoying each other’s company without digital distractions. Use this time to rekindle your connection and strengthen your bond.
2. Distraction from Quality Time: Are Screens Stealing Your Moments?
Have you noticed how often we reach for our smartphones during precious moments with our partners? Whether it’s during meals, conversations, or quiet evenings together, our devices can steal our attention. Research indicates that this constant distraction can lead to feelings of neglect and frustration.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
We’ve noticed how easily both of us are distracted by our phones—even when it’s just sitting next to us. It’s a distracting temptation pulling us away from the real moment we are experiencing. Being fully present with our spouse says “YOU are most important” and fosters the kind of quality time that strengthens our bond.
Tip: Create a No-Phone Zone
Choose a specific area in your home, such as the dining table or the bedroom, where phones are not allowed. This creates a space where you can have uninterrupted conversations, share meals, and spend quality time together. By removing the distraction of smartphones, you’ll be able to fully engage with your spouse and build stronger connections.
3. Comparison and Insecurity: Is Social Media Straining Your Relationship?
Scrolling through social media can inadvertently sow seeds of discontentment and insecurity within our hearts and marriages. As we see seemingly perfect lives on our screens, we might start comparing our own relationships to these curated images. This can erode our sense of gratitude for the blessings we have.
“Each one should test their own actions… for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:4
God has given us our spouse and our family for our good and His glory. Focus on your unique journey and the blessings within it.
Furthermore, social media can be a huge temptation toward sexual sin for many people. We are at the mercy of the algorithm as soon as we start scrolling, and the curated images we see are oftentimes created to entice you.
If you or your spouse have struggled with pornography, we encourage you to consider placing strong boundaries with your social media use.
Tip: Practice Gratitude Together
Start a joint gratitude journal with your spouse. Each day, take a few minutes to write down things you’re thankful for in your relationship and life. Even better, take a walk together—without your phones—and tell each other what you are grateful for. (see #4!)
By focusing on the unique blessings God has gifted you, you’ll cultivate contentment and appreciation for what you share together, reducing the temptation to compare your marriage to others.
4. Prioritizing Virtual Over Real: Are Screens Coming Between You?
It’s easy to get lost in virtual worlds while neglecting the real-life relationships we hold dear. Virtual interactions cannot replace the warmth of physical presence and genuine conversation.
Be honest with yourself, what are you seeking when you post on social media? How much more time do you spend texting your friends instead of speaking directly to your spouse? Do you need to comment on every “amazing” meme released by your favorite influencer?
“Love is patient, love is kind… it is not self-seeking.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Recently, we were sitting on the couch together—both on our phones—and I came out of my Instagram daze only to realize thirty minutes had passed, and our “quality time” was over. We had to move on the next thing on our agenda and we hadn’t said two words to each other. Ouch.
Let’s remember to prioritize our spouses and demonstrate love through actions that speak louder than our digital distractions.
Tip: Implement a Screen-Free Date Night
Dedicate a regular night for a screen-free date with your spouse. It could be a simple at-home dinner, a walk in the park, or a creative activity you both enjoy. This intentional time together allows you to connect on a deeper level, fostering the kind of meaningful interaction that screens can’t replicate.
And remember, don’t bring the phone. You do not need to document your date night for the world to see.
5. Loss of Intimacy: Is Your Smartphone Cooling Your Passion?
Marital intimacy encompasses emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and recreational closeness. Excessive smartphone use can hinder all these aspects, making it challenging to connect deeply with your spouse. Intimacy requires vulnerability and openness, qualities that can suffer when we are more engaged with our devices than with each other.
“My beloved is mine and I am his.” Song of Solomon 2:16
Let’s face it, our smartphones are stealing our energy meant to be used in other areas. Intimacy requires energy and focus. It’s difficult to focus on cultivating intimacy in our marriage when there is a constant distraction dinging, pinging, and ringing.
It’s silly to think we are often more “intimate” or connected to our phone than our spouse, but based on the time and energy we give to this little device, many of us are quite deeply connected to it!
Let’s consider how we might nurture our marital intimacy with intentionality—and no phone.
Tip: Establish a Bedtime Ritual
Create a nightly ritual that doesn’t involve screens, helping you wind down and connect intimately before sleep. This could be reading a book together, sharing your thoughts and dreams, or simply cuddling. By prioritizing this dedicated time, you’ll foster emotional and physical intimacy that strengthens your connection.
Let marriage be held in honor among all… Hebrews 13:4
Listen, there’s plenty of scientific data backing up the idea that our smartphones are messing with our brains. You don’t need us to tell you that. We simply want to get the conversation started, because recognizing the potential pitfalls of smartphone usage within our marriages is the first step toward cultivating healthier habits. It’s important to approach this journey with humility, as we all have room for growth. By setting healthy boundaries, we can create a balanced digital lifestyle that honors our relationships and God.
By reconnecting with our spouse, prioritizing quality time, overcoming comparison, valuing the real over the virtual, and nurturing intimacy, we can create an environment where our marriages thrive.
*All scripture is ESV translation unless otherwise noted