Not long ago, I heard about a guy who told his wife he wanted out of their six-year marriage. He had essentially written off their relationship. His wife never gave up hope and finally persuaded him to start a marriage Bible reading plan on YouVersion. Though they followed the plan separately, through the readings God completely changed this guy’s heart. And a few weeks later, the husband moved back home.
How you can use your devices to enhance, not eclipse, your relationship
The same technology that rips relationships apart can also bring them together. Instead of seeking out an affair with a married person, singles can find other singles through online dating services. Instead of using the Internet to look at porn from a hotel room, a traveling spouse can FaceTime with family at the end of the day.
Personally, technology allows my wife and I to follow through a rule we set early in our marriage: If we’re going to purchase something over a certain amount, we have to get permission from each other. I can’t imagine how well we would have stuck with our rule if we had to find pay phones and dial pagers to reach each other. But now, all it takes is a simple text or a quick call on a device that’s always nearby.
How Can Couples Use Technology Positively?
With amazing tools at our fingertips, we experience a degree of connection and convenience unfathomable to previous generations. Chances are you may already use technology to help your marriage without even realizing it. Here are a few more examples of small, simple ways you can fortify your relationship with technology:
- Share passwords. Password management software makes it easy to give your spouse access to your complete roster of apps and websites so they have the ability to log in at any time. Set up a shared account on a service like 1Password or simply give your spouse your login information for your password management tool of choice. Beyond the practical convenience of having details like logins or rewards numbers at your fingertips, there’s built-in accountability when your spouse can view your social media private messages at any time.
- Set up filters. Yes, technology can introduce temptation through questionable content, but it can also help eliminate it. Fight fire with fire by installing content-filtering software like X3Watch or Covenant Eyes. Also consider installing ad-filtering plug-ins for your web browser so suggestive ads don’t catch you off guard.
- Get into Bible reading plans. The YouVersion Bible app offers hundreds of Bible reading plans. Choose any topic and do a plan in tandem with your spouse, or subscribe to a plan about marriage.
- Share calendars. Most digital calendars allow you to give others access to view or edit calendar events. You might choose to share a calendar to keep your family schedule on track or grant access to your work calendar so your spouse has insight into your days. Make sure you agree on the ground rules: Is an open calendar a green light for saying yes to social plans, or do you prefer to check with each other before accepting invites?
- Practice digital thoughtfulness. When you consume content during your day, use that as an opportunity to let your spouse know you’re thinking of them. Share a link to an article about a topic that interests them. Point to a restaurant review and propose a date night. Send them a photo or video that made you laugh.
- Cultivate common ground. Apps and sites with social connections are a great opportunity to enjoy a shared interest with your spouse, whether you’re spurring each other on toward a goal in a fitness app, sampling each other’s favorites on a music streaming service, or dueling for dominance in your latest game download.
Where Do We Draw Digital Boundaries?
Just because we can use technology to connect with people doesn’t mean we should always use it to connect with people. When it comes to our marriages, it is imperative we develop appropriate boundaries for how, when, and where we use technology.
We might stay away from technology on a specific weekday or use settings like Do Not Disturb to define the hours when the outside world doesn’t have access to us. Or we might choose certain places where we won’t allow devices to be present, such as the dinner table.
Whether we draw boundaries based on time, place, or context, the key is to put limits into place. Left unchecked, technology can quickly slip from something that enhances our life to something that eclipses our relationships. The right balance is unique for each couple, and we owe it to the people we love most to find a healthy approach together.
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