Are You a Texticator?

The "texting" girl.
credit

For those of you who are a product of “old school Christianity” your mind probably went immediately from my invented word “texticator” to “fornicator”a word we don’t use so much in our everyday vernacular. If so, then I’m glad, because that’s almost how revolting I want this practice to sound to you from now on!

Being a “texticator” means you text not just small, insignificant communications to another, but also text in those moments when you really should be sitting face-to-face and having a meaningful, serious conversation.

I think our world has become so technologically saturated that we’re letting it permeate into the waters of our lives where it clearly should not flow. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell me of in-depth or heated conversations that should’ve been entered into with precision, empathy and caution, but were left to the devises of lightening-fast keystrokes. And yes, I’m talking about married couples doing this, not just singles.

Here are three reasons why I HATE textication …

1.  Miscommunication is bound to happen about significant issues.
The more significant the issue is that’s being discussed, the greater the potential for damage to the relationship. It’s just not worth it!

2.  It stands as a barrier to intimacy in the relationship.
If you’re making a habit of using your phone to text significant messages to your spouse, instead of picking up the phone and calling or talking face-to-face with him/her, then you’re choosing to distance yourself in that relationship. You may not recognize this is as your motivation, and regardless of whether it is or not, it is keeping your spouse at arms length … no, at signal’s length—a much greater chasm than it might seem.

3.  It’s a coward’s way to face conflict.
If you value your relationship at all, you’ll take the challenge to meet face-to-face with your spouse/significant other person to talk through a difficult issue. Good communication is never easy or free of fear, but is always worth it.

You may feel like, “Well, I’ve just gotten into a habit of using my phone for all matters of communication. It’s not my intention to harm my relationship or keep my spouse at a distance.”

That’s just it!

It’s so subtle and insidious, but once you’ve given yourself or your spouse permission to communicate in this way, you’re opening the door to damage. Hurtful words spewed written in the heat of the moment, combined with a feeling of being removed from the receiver, can lead to untold damage and regret to your marriage!

It’s sort of like the old saying, “You can’t unring that bell.” It’s hard to forget what our eyes have read and can go back to and reread again and again when we’re questioning our spouse’s love. Don’t give your spouse or yourself that careless, damaging and lingering message!

One more thing, just as Jesus spoke grace into the life of the woman caught in adultery, so do I want you to hear a message of grace on this matter. I called this problem habit “textication” with tongue firmly in my cheek. However, I do want to sound the alarm about a subtle problem that I see has red flags all over it.

Can you relate? How have you ever let a text message get out of hand? 

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Linking up with NOBH, Revive Your Marriage, Playdates with God, Seedlings in Stone and Marital Oneness Monday

  • Lori

    Beth, I don’t know why we’re so quick to settle for something so one-dimensional when we can have something so much richer and fuller. I guess it’s easier to hide behind a text. It takes effort and transparency to talk. It takes time. But oh, how infinitely more satisfying it is to speak and to hear a spoken response. May we go the extra mile, and reap the benefits in our relationships! I’m visiting from Be Not Weary today, and glad I did 🙂

  • Ouch. Guilty. But where I’m more guilty is texting someone while I’m sitting in person with someone else, not giving them my full attention (does that count as textication too?).

    Must keep my phone as a tool, not as the one in control… Thanks, Beth.

  • Little Bishop Chronicle

    I am MUCH more comfortable writing my feelings than talking them out. Sometimes, I literally cannot speak the words in my head. Fortunately, my husband and I don’t use text in the way described above. I can see how it could be taken too far and give you an “easy” way out. But sometimes, when there is something I really need to talk to my husband about, there is safety (I don’t think it’s being a coward) for me in writing/emailing, even if he is right there. Once the issue is exposed, then we can open up and dialogue face to face. I think though that this is different than what you are talking about. We are, in general, way too much into technology! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Would you mind following through Google Friend Connect? It’s new and I’m really trying to gain readership. No big deal if not. Thanks!

    http://lovingwhenithurts.blogspot.com

  • messymarriage

    Yes, it really is one-dimensional, Lori. I’m not saying that sending a text to our spouse is wrong either. But I do think a good thing can become a bad thing fast when we let our emotions control the message–no matter how we send it. I just think it’s easy to lose sight of that with a text. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me!

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, those little cell phones are so addictive! I find myself, not necessarily sending texts that I shouldn’t, but connecting too much with my phone rather than with people. It’s a constant struggle to find balance. Thanks so much for stopping by and being real about it, Lisa. I appreciate your honesty and encouragement. 🙂

  • messymarriage

    I’m like you, Jamie. I am much more comfortable with the written word and have used it, at times, to strategically address issues with my husband. I probably should have added that caveat to my post, because I think there is real value in writing out our thoughts and “sometimes” sending a written letter to our spouse when the issue is especially heated.

    But my thoughts here are not about that kind of purposeful communication, but rather spur-of-the-moment knee-jerk reactions that involve the ease and distance that a cell phone offers us.

    Thanks for sharing so openly where this is a struggle for you and adding a new perspective to the conversation. I appreciate your help in clarifying this important issue, friend!

  • I have to admit, since I’m 50yo and can barely see the buttons on the cell phone to text, I’m not a texiticator…but I can slide right into IM-ification which is IMing or chatting when I should be talking face to face, and I think it can be just as damaging. Thankfully my Dear Hubby sits right next to me and laughs at me when I try to IM him. 😀 I’m so grateful for my Dear Hubby!!

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, it’s really not about “texting” as much as using any type of communication to avoid the deeper conversations we need to have, Cindy. I think that’s what you’re saying. And like I’ve said in previous comments, I have a tendency to use my cell phone too often to “psuedo-connect” on FB mainly and it’s just another trap that I have to watch. Thanks so much for coming by and weighing in!

  • Kimberly Green

    #3!!!!!! Guilty.

  • I seldom text … who has the time? But I’ve seen the damage that can be done to relationships when one hits the SEND button in a heat of anger or a moment of stupidity. Those words can never be retrieved.
    Thanks for this excellent article.

  • This is one way that my husband has found he can communicate with me. When we have heated discussions, he likes to walk away (before I’m done actually) BUT…I have found that when he has some time to cool off, he will write out his thoughts and send them to me. I think sometimes he would like for me to leave it alone since he got his feelings out but I do try and go back to talk about what he has said. But it has been somewhat helpful to help us refocus some of our discussions! I don’t think we are guilty of “texticating” as exciting as that word sounds! 🙂 I will admit that we spend way too much time on our phones and computers though. Many nights (wait who am I kidding), almost every night we sit in our typical corners of the room doing our own “technological” thing. This is a good reminder for us!

  • So far, I’ve preserved the boundaries between when to text and when to talk! But the digital world overtakes me in other ways, when I get too immersed to the exclusion of my real-life loved ones waiting for me. It’s always a balance, and we reminders like this post to keep us vigilant! Thanks Beth.

  • messymarriage

    I felt “writer’s remorse” after using that term “coward.” Maybe a better way to say it is that it reflects and keeps us captive to “fear” when we give in to this type of communication. I guess, I’m just mad at some people because I see them hurting my friends by using this method. But we all fear something, so condemnation about this is not the answer, but it should sound the alarm that it’s not something to overlook in our lives. Thanks for always being so transparent, Kimberly. I truly appreciate your support and encouragement–and I’ll say that to you “in person” the next time I see you. 🙂

  • messymarriage

    I think some people view texts as a way to get things done quicker, though, Linda. And that’s part of the problem. Conflict and meaningful conversations take time and should be valued for the investment they are in our relationships. Okay, I’m getting down from my soapbox again! ha! Thanks so much for being a constant encourager here at Messy Marriage. I really appreciate your kind words.

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I get that “being taken over by technology” completely, Ann. I am vigilant as well about my texts, but fall into other technology traps. It’s something we have to keep reminding ourselves of because we can easily get caught up into it without realizing. Thanks so much for coming by and supporting me again. Your blogging friendship means a lot to me! <3

  • messymarriage

    Yes, it does seem to have its “in the moment” advantages. But I think we are playing with fire when we leave our meaningful discussions to texts. I get that it helps him to sort out his thoughts perhaps in a more calm way, but I think it’s an indication of some fears that he needs to deal with or your conflicts will not get completely resolved, or worse, you relationship could be damaged by this unstable and unsafe method of conflict resolution. Thanks, as always, Becky, for weighing and bringing more perspectives to the conversation. 🙂

  • Kimberly Green

    No, Beth. “Coward” was good. I NEEDED to hear/read/identify with COWARD. “Captive to fear” and “non-confrontational” have been gentle enough as to not challenge me to adjust my behavior. I am a Coward.

  • Little Bishop Chronicle

    You know, what’s interesting is that while I didn’t do this “texticating” with my husband, I did it with the other man I was involved with. This caused a LOT of communication problems. Granted…nothing about that relationship was RIGHT…but I can’t change my story. I didn’t think I understood this concept and how it bars communication until I thought about how I used to communicate with this other man.

  • messymarriage

    It’s funny that you should bring this up, Jamie. I feel like people sometimes view texts as a way to intimately or privately connect. There’s not only a convenience but an allure to texts versus regular communications. I didn’t explore this in this article, but it’s part of what I feel is the problem. There is a psuedo-intimacy (as you’ve addressed) or psuedo-safety (as I’ve addressed) that texts provide. Maybe I should do a sequel … Textication Part 2! ha!

  • Oh, I’ve known some texticators. Not much of a textor here–my fingers are just too big! :). You make great points, though, and really have me thinking.

  • Little Bishop Chronicle

    Yes, you should totally do a sequel. You can share what I said. I had never thought about how we texted all the time as a primary means of communication, and it did feel more “intimate” in some ways. I don’t know why. It’s absurd really. And it caused so many communication problems. I think we texted because it was more private and more convenient…i.e. when we were at work, etc…it was sometimes the only way we could comunnicate, but it became our primary form of communication.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, Jamie. So glad we connected. 🙂

  • Little Bishop Chronicle

    ME TOO! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Yeah, I think it’s becoming so popular that we all know someone who’s a “texticator!” haha! If it weren’t for my teenagers, I probably wouldn’t text very much either. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words, Laura. I always hope to inspire a new way to look at something. That’s high praise, friend!

  • What good thoughts! My husband and I sometimes text one another so we can flirt when there are others around, but I do recall a few times that I texted him in anger and frustration when we were dating/engaged instead of calling him or asking to see him in person. I said things I didn’t mean and they stung later! So much is lost in text messages that isn’t missed in face-to-face communication. We’ve been making a point of investing in deep face-to-face conversations daily.

  • Kelly

    Oh my! Can I relate. I try so often to assess whether what I’m texting should really be said face to face but I must confess, I fail…often, especially with my family. Thanks for linking up with us at No Ordinary Blog Hop, on this timely subject. Every blessing, Kelly

  • messymarriage

    Yes, there are two sides to this coin, Hannah. It can be a fun way to flirt with your spouse, as you’ve pointed out, and it can also be a quick way to send off a hateful remark. There’s something sort of “detached” about sending a text that leads to carelessness sometimes. I’m glad you’re seeing the benefits and drawbacks. That’s all I’m saying. We need to be wise and cautious when it comes to text messaging. Thanks so much for your honesty and for coming by to weigh in!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I see that happens especially with my friends who are better communicators through the written word. Only problem is, the written word is often misunderstood, no matter how great of a writer we are. When it’s important, we need to say it face to face. And if we have any doubts about its importance, we probably need to err on the side of caution. Thanks, friend, for coming by, being vulnerable and encouraging me, Kelly!