Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morning Matrimony: Put the iPhone down and step slowly away from the Facebook...

... or video game / Twitter / work, etc...

The truth is we are living in the Communication Age. Everyone is so easily connected, maybe TOO connected... (pardon me as I sound like an old man in a rocking chair for a minute) When I was little, cell phones only came as bricks and only rich people had them. Video games were Atari and then finally Nintendo Mario Brothers was groundbreaking! And most importantly, NO INTERNET.

I recently watched the movie GrownUps and a big point of the movie were how the kids didn't even know how to skip rocks, because they were so tuned in to the digital age. Look, I LOVE technology. If it weren't for technology, I wouldn't have a job! However, technology in itself has really become the 12th man on the field of our lives! Sadly, we rely so much on that fan appeal in our lives now - what everyone else is saying and doing. It pushes us in different directions, sometimes good, often times bad.

Reports are now coming out about how many marriages Facebook has helped break up. Look, I am not one to blame video games, TV & music for everything that goes wrong with kids. So, I'm not going to blame Facebook in itself for ruining marriages. I believe we all have a personal responsibility in life and we are the ones that allow those things into our world. However, in today's world, with everything (and everyone) so easily accessible, it's easier than ever to stray ever so slowly down the wrong course. And it's not just marriage at stake, it's all our relationships, including those with our children. Have you seen this scenario? Kids in front of TV / video games, teenagers on Facebook, parents in other room on laptop working? It's a scenario in thousands of people's lives daily. Again, I LOVE technology! But, I also know where my priorities must lie if I want to have a successful marriage!

So, what's the answer? That's not easy... I think for everyone, it is going to be different depending on what your real issue is. Personally, I had a Facebook addiction. I didn't feel addicted, yet I checked my home page and tracked people's statuses every few hours. I got entangled in many controversial talks (which you then obsess over - to see what people have said about what you said..). It was just a real distraction to me for work. I also found I was relying on Facebook to communicate with friends. This is good what it has allowed us to do, to reconnect with old friends! BUT, for friends that live here in the same city... Facebook does not equal a real relationship. It shouldn't substitute for real dinners and game nights, etc. Anyway, I took a 1-month leave from Facebook last month. It was challenging, but after the first week - the tremors started to go away. :) haha In all honesty, it was a GREAT month! I felt more energized and got so much more done! It was honestly very surprising to me. So now, I use Facebook sparingly and only for fun random comments. I delete friends if they are too annoying and not really my friends in real life. I am OWNING my online life again! :)

However, I still have another issue... It's called WORK. I own 2 businesses and because of that, I work all hours of the day. I can't tell you how many times I've told my husband "I'll be done in just a few minutes..." Three hours later, he's asleep in bed and I'm still working away. We are working on addressing this problem right now. I can make excuses for it all day long, about how I HAVE to do this because I am building my businesses. Or that it will only be for a short time that I have to work like this. Etc, etc. The truth is - that's not a good excuse. There is NO good excuse. If we give excuses now, there is no reason for us to ever stop. There HAS to be boundaries in our life. It's not easy when nearly everyone you know is living the same way as you are - it seems like you are normal. But, you need to get control of your priorities and you need to do it NOW. In the end, work will get done. Maybe we just need to make better use of our days! So, Dustin & I are working on my "bedtime" now - yes, like a child. ;)

Now, to be fair.. on the other end - his issue is Video Games!! Not XBox so much, but World of Warcraft (an online computer gaming craze) I used to be referred to as a WOW Widow. (there is an actual support group online for spouses who have real issues with their spouse playing the game non-stop) Dustin & I came up with a solution for this years ago. I think it's important that we both have our own time, so he has "Gaming nights" set aside. Right now, it's Sunday, Monday & Tuesdays 7:00 - 10:00. See, I know how to plan! And, I know I can work late those nights! (yes, sad that work is my hobby! ;))

Anyway, the point I am making is that in my marriage - we are actually working hard on taking the right steps now to insure that we have a great marriage of communication, instead of over-communicating with the rest of the world. Because the one thing you MUST know is that once you are married...
Your spouse is and will always be the #1 most important relationship in your life
If you can understand that and hold on to that, prioritize that, you will be able to work it out - as long as you are both willing. Setup boundaries / goals for yourselves. Use the schedule calendar we talked about a few weeks ago!

And I will leave you with my one suggestion: Take one day a week and turn it all off! Unless it is something you are doing together (a movie, video game, etc) - shut it down! Every Saturday, we are turning it off to have quality time with each other. Even when the phone rings... that is what voicemail is for! It's just one day a week! You can do it. You will be surprised on how much time you have to do other things. Go outside! Play board games together! Have dinner with friends!
Take one day every week to unplug and recharge!
 It will make your marriage more fun. Trust me! :) Relish your time together - those are the real moments that will build your relationship and give you a foundation for the rest of your lives!

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