Text messaging: It often interferes with meaningful communication in marriage. How can you tell if text messaging is a problem for you? And what can a married couple do about it? This article by counselor Joshua Waulk appeared first here on his website and is used with permission. (Edited for length–Ed.)
Communication, or a lack thereof, is a common complaint in marriage counseling. By the time a couple comes to counseling, they say they talked endlessly into the wee hours of the morning during dating. But then they cut the wedding cake. And truly meaningful communication petered out.
In one sense, this isn’t a surprising result. Marriage is not dating.,Getting married, and living full-time under the same roof with another sinner-in-need-of-grace. has its natural effects upon a relationship. We do well to not be naive about these things. (Pre-married couples, are you listening?).
Text messaging is a problem I’m encountering more often among married couples who have communication difficulties. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
When Harry Started Texting Sally
The modern technological convenience of text messaging has become, for some, a stumbling block to meaningful, face-to-face communication. Indeed, text messaging has replaced the nightly review of the day’s events around the dinner table.
In addition, the problem of text messaging is not primarily for the convenience of typing “Honey, grab a gallon of milk on the way home.” Rather, for some couples, text messaging is an endless stream of electronic ticker tape. And updates arrive every thirty seconds.
The net result is a communication-depleted couple who have nothing left to talk about at the end of the day. What is best reserved for face-to-face talk time was already transmitted in real time via text messaging, complete with emoticons or a GIF.
Putting the Phone Down
Of course there is a place for texting. For instance, I love knowing that my wife has arrived safely at her destination. And I enjoy seeing a silly picture of the kids covered in flour while Mommy was in the shower.
But, based on my work with couples, and my own experience, I’ve concluded that we need a reminder: Our spouse in our arms is worth more than a phone in our hand.
So what change can you make?
First, take time to evaluate your text messaging habits. Second, talk in person about any needed adjustments. Third, determine to follow through on your plan to reduce text messaging.
Couples report real benefit to exercising restraint in text messaging. At the end of the day, when they’re home together, they are free to share life’s events with emotional intimacy.
As the old saying goes, absence [on the phone] makes the heart grow fonder.
*Note: This post may not apply to those couples who, for a myriad of reasons, actually need electronic communication in order to maintain contact, i.e. traveling spouse, military families, etc.
Join the Conversation
- How has text messaging blessed your marriage?
- How has it been a hinderance to effective communication?
- What strategies to improve face to face talk time have been helpful?