Does your spouse spend a lot of time scrolling on their smartphone? Is it driving you crazy?
Mindless scrolling is a problem millions of people and countless couples have today. If you feel like it’s taking valuable time away from your relationship, you’re not alone. Your spouse may not realize it has gotten out of hand, but it’s an obstacle to intimacy and you’re ready to take care of the problem once and for all.
So how can you unglue your spouse from their phone?
Have a Calm Conversation First
The first thing you want to do is have a calm conversation with your spouse when you’ve both had plenty of rest and are in a peaceful setting. Try to avoid times when one or both of you are feeling hungry, tired, or otherwise stressed. You want to have the most productive communication possible.
Let your spouse know how much you love them, and that you’d like more time to connect one-on-one. Try not to do this in a blaming way, but in a way that helps them know how much you really want to have that quality time with them. The key here is in letting them know how much you love them and miss that time–not in making them feel bad about their scrolling habit.
Ask Questions and Listen Well
Now, as the two of you spend more screen-free time together, make sure you’re listening well and invested in your conversations with your spouse. Listening well helps your spouse feel happy and loved, so ask them questions and really lean into their answers. Let them know how interesting they have always been to you. Maintaining that high level of engagement will help them feel rewarded, and in turn, that may help them feel more content with putting the phone down.
Renew Your Chemistry and Connection
Another way to reignite your relationship and replace some of that mindless scrolling is to renew your chemistry and connection. Think about the attention you gave to your spouse when you were dating. Are you still showing them that same level of interest? If not, it’s time to bring back that spark.
If you want your spouse’s very best, you need to give your best to them, too. When you’re fully engaged in cultivating intimacy with one another, you’re both less likely to seek that hit of gratification from your phones. That’s because you’ll be investing more quality time in one another. Smartphones can’t compete with that!
Create a Code Word
One way you and your spouse can alert each other to mindless scrolling is to create a code word. Again, it’s important not to create shame around use of the phone. Keep the conversation as lighthearted as you can, use your code word when one of you is getting too locked into the screen, and get back to spending quality time together.
Want to get some great, engaging conversations going with your spouse? Our book, Love Talk Starters, includes 275 questions that will prompt deep and meaningful communication. You can get your copy here.
Do you and your spouse have boundaries around your scrolling behaviors? Why or why not? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
Such stupid, useless advice. Like, somebody doesn’t know to have a conversation with their spouse about it. You can be calm and address it lovingly, and your spouse will still spend 99% of his/her time on their phone while they claim they’re listening to you. Complete codswallop.
Don’t read it then, bucko.
Now here’s a person who has no clue what life or relationships are actually like. Come sit in my office for a half hour with a struggling couple and see if trolling on the websites of credible people with proven results is so satisfying.
Thank you for speaking to this topic. It is an ongoing difficulty many couples and families experience. Competing attachments, regardless of their form, are always a threat to satisfaction that can be found both intra- and interpersonally. It’s hard to see what we yet can’t. It’s hard to hear what we yet won’t. It’s hard to be where we yet are, if we think we are but really aren’t.
A good friend of mine said, “someone approached me after my talk, and quipped, I don’t like your method.” So, my friend said to the stranger, “what’s your method?” He replied. “I don’t have one.” So my friend said, “I like mine better.”
If I needed brain surgery, and just for the record, I don’t. I certainly would not want someone who has watched a youtube video on brain surgery to give me advice on it.
I have used The Parrots inspirational material with hundreds of couples the past ten years. There has not been a time it has not inspired my class or a counseling session.
I’m curious about the ‘why’ for the scrolling. Also, I find my mind applies sinister motives/thoughts because of the secrecy of a phone. Sometimes I ask “What are you reading?” just to connect and direct my thinking back to trust.
I’m often busy in the evenings too (dishes, usual life activities, preparing for the next day) and think my busyness could be perceived by my spouse as my form of ‘scrolling’. He doesn’t want to interrupt me, so keeps scrolling.
In general I’m an active person and want to impose what makes me happy/fulfilled on him. I find myself often thinking, How can you stand to sit there for two hours! Do something!”
Typing this little response has helped me clarify some thoughts about this. Thank you Les and Leslie.