Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marriage Advice: How to Talk About Electronics Addiction

Today's Let's Do Lunch Question is:

"What do you do about a husband who puts electronics before you? He spends more time with the computer/iPhone/iPad than he does with me."

Dear Husband In Love with Siri, 
     We've all been there. It's been a long day at work, people are constantly bombarding you with questions and when you come home it's nice to zone out. But wait, there's someone speaking to you. It’s the love of your life and she’s a little jealous, feels forgotten and annoyed. And the cause of all these emotions is not a person, but an object. There's a new affair happening and it's not with a hot little something something at the gym. The house is a mess, things are being neglected, piles are stacking up, but the most important thing to be valued has a beating heartYou’ve actually created a competition of sorts between the woman you love and an object. She can’t win and that’s frustrating. Your wife has amazing qualities such as the ability to speak, reason, feel, empathize and so many other things Siri lacks. The feelings she may have for you during the day evaporate when she sees Siri smiling from the palm of a hand that should be holding her's.   Is reality just not entertaining enough to keep you involved? This has to stop. Let me say this to you in a language you will understand. Wives don't put out for men who stare at screens. Wives don't have the energy after working all day, come home and clean all evening to then get in bed with you and transform into a total sex vixen. No no no... Wives sleep with men who offer to clean up the kitchen, give foot rubs, and mow the grass. The quicker you figure that one out, the better off your life will be. 

Your Reality Check 

Dear Wife of the Husband In Love with Siri, 

I hope you found the above letter to be a light hearted way of addressing this issue. What I really want to tell you is this:

The sooner we accept the fact that we can't change our husbands, the better. They come as they come and only they can do the changing. We can guide them along the path, but we can't force them to walk forward. 

Let's talk about some ways you can address this issue through what we like to call 
"family meetings":

#1 Talk to your husband without the tears and screaming 
Write down all the pent up raw emotions you are feeling. When women start crying men turn off. They don't like it, they don't get it, and frankly it makes us look a little cray cray. Save that for lunch with the girls! Writing it all down allows you to see the most important issues to bring to your husband. You need to make a list of what your OK with, he's not going to throw away his electronics for you, as much as we would all love that to happen. So before meeting with him, have an idea in mind of what you will tolerate and what is intolerable for you. 

#2 Is it really about the electronics or something more?
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume that at the end of the day you spend your time in front of a screen as well? Either TV, iPad, iPhone, etc. I get it, but there is a time and place for using electronics. You two have to establish what works for y'all. So is it really about the devices or is it about being ignored? Is it about the dishes in the sink piling up while he lays on the couch scrolling people's profiles he doesn't even talk to in real life? As a wife, as a mom, we rarely get the opportunity to zone out. We are the first to rise and the last to bed. What you are asking for is a companion, a team player. And I get that. So let's make sure you are addressing the real issues at hand when you meet with your husband.

#3 Plan a family meeting just the two of you 
Planning this meeting ahead of time will give your husband a heads up that things are about to get serious in a non confrontational way. You two are having a conversation, not a fight. Get a sitter while you two hash things out. Now that your raw emotions are out of the way, hopefully you can speak to him about what's really bothering you. Your marriage is important, make it a priority and get on the same page. Share with him your expectations. Pray together before you start this meeting and end it with a prayer. If things start to escalate take a break and come back to it. Our best conversations have happened over our kitchen table. I've even been known to bring pen and paper to a "family meeting". It's to write down what he wants and for me to make sure I'm putting all of my concerns out there while I have his attention. Figure out what is going to make both of you happy, don't leave that table till you are both saying I love yous!

Whitney's Final Thought:

The best thing you can do for yourself and your husband is to be the example. If you continue to be happy and kind, he will be happy and kind. If you choose to not bring electronics to bed, he will eventually notice that you are staring at the ceiling awaiting adult conversation. If you bring a screaming baby into the room he is lounging in, he will notice real quick that life is still happening around him. Be patient with yourself and be patient with him.

For further reading on this topic I recommend: 

Disclaimer: All advice given through Let's Do Lunch are my personal thoughts and what I would do in a similar situation. I'm not a doctor, therapist, or certified anything. I'm just a girl who loves to help. 

What say you Southern Hope readers? Any advice to add? 

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