I’m Having an Affair … With My Cell Phone!

Written by Gary Steffaniak

Messy Marriage Team Member

at least, that’s what my wife says. Let me explain.

Friday is my day off and usually my wife, Beth, and I spend the day together. When school is going on, our kids are not home, and typically the day is ours—an empty house with no kids, free of interruptions. So, we get down to business! Well, probably not the “business” you’re thinking of. That may—or may not—come later, depending somewhat on how my “relationship” goes with my cell phone throughout the day.

On many Fridays, Beth and I enjoy running errands together—a lot of times going to the mall (about 30 minutes away), then having lunch together at one of the restaurants nearby. In the evening, we might do dinner and a movie … and something else … if she’s lucky! 😉

OK, back to the cell phone thing … if you insist.

In Beth’s mind, she’s thinking that our time together should be filled with conversation … with each other. There lies the problem. I’m good with that—until my cell phone rings … or beeps … or makes any other provocative noise that rouses my attention. She would prefer to have a phone-free day, unplugged and fully engaged in intimate conversation that includes more than just sharing information like:

  • “Think it’s gonna rain today?”
  • “Don’t forget to remind me to pay the utility bill when we get home.”
  • 
Or my personal favorite … “How ‘bout dem Cardinals? They’ve won four in a row!”

These work fine for me and my buds, but not so much for Beth. She wants to talk about perceptions, desires, anticipations, challenges—you know, all that stuff that’s packed full of feelings. Yikes!

So, just when Beth feels like were moving toward a satisfying interaction, my phone rings … and I answer it. Or on a good day, I’ll just pick it up and look to see who it is. Usually, that brings on the same disappointing look that answering it would have. (And I can feel the “something else” quickly slipping out of my hands!)

OK, so I have a … uh … a …

I might as well go ahead and come clean … a “phone” addiction. And maybe even a “deep conversation” aversion.

Here’s my defense excuses:

  • I’m easily distracted due to my Adult ADD.
  • I’m curious. And besides, it might be REALLY important!
  • It’s hard work to fully engage.
  • I’m a little intimidated by deeper conversations.

Why do I have trouble with deeper conversations? Well, they might take me to a place I’m afraid to go, like:

  • Having to listen, really listen … without giving advice.
  • Having to share MY feelings. Heck, I have trouble just identifying them!
  • Having to deal with a problem that I’d rather ignore. 
  • Having to discuss a disappointment that I’d rather not have to face.
  • Having to admit I was wrong, apologize, and be accountable.

The truth is, most of the conversations that Beth longs for hang on the first two. But if I’m not willing to do that, then I’m a pretty shallow person with little incentive for a deep and meaningful marriage. Bottom line …

  • Yes, it’s work.
  • Yes, it requires vulnerability.
  • Yes, it means turning off my cell phone 
… and
  • Yes, my wife, and our marriage, is worth it!

Anything less is not a marriage. It’s just a cohabitating existence.

Husbands, wake up and give your marriage what it needs to be fully satisfying. Say no to the affair with your cell phone! And who knows, maybe more conversation will lead to “something else!”

Check out this funny video – Introducing the Ignorify Ap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4U0dG9NKWA&feature=player_embedded

Today’s Post is Linked to –
 
 The Alabaster Jar
 
 On In Around button
  • ro elliott

    ugg…these cell phones…a blessing and curse…we have to manage it and not let it manage us. I really am concerned about the younger generation…they are think they can build relationships via text…oh my. nice to see a guy here…blessings~

  • I can relate to your wife:) I have numerous vacation photos of my husband on the phone or his computer. It’s hard to tear away from work and simply be with someone else. Thanks for this!

  • I don’t think the phones are the problems. I think they’re a handy ducking tool. 🙂

  • Thoughtful post – thank you! We live in a culture of distraction. It takes work to focus on the people around us, and the God above us!
    Beth – are you on Facebook? Couldn’t find a link from this blog, and would like to follow you there!

  • messymarriage

    Hi Ann, I’m so glad you asked me that question. I haven’t created a Messy Marriage Facebook page and this is just the nudge I need to get that up and running! I’ve missed being able to comment and connect with you on your blog. I really like your new direction, but miss being able to comment and encourage you, like you’ve done for me so many times here. I’ll let you know when my FB page is up! *Hugs*

  • Kimberly Green

    Okay…that video was pretty funny (or sad. I can’t tell). I am sort of in an all or nothing situation. I can’t seem to find balance. I am either obsessed with the phone- notifications, if I have it or forgot it, if it’s dirty, keeping it from getting broken, making sure it dosen’t fall in the toilet…ect…OR I completely forget about, leave it at home or in the car or never turn the sound on in the morning and never answer it.

  • The hard part for my husband is that he’s a realtor and his entire business is connecting with people. Many times he needs to respond to an e-mail or text or phone call fairly immediately in order to make a deal work. So, we’re still trying to figure out how to not be distracted by the phones during family time but not totally put off the needs and expectations of his clients.

  • I second the vote for a Facebook page. 🙂

  • Sharon O

    Way true, when my husband wants to go out for dinner with me, I say to him, ONLY if you leave your phone at home or off. The only time we need to be tied to our phones is if someone is having a baby or dying. Most other issues can wait till later.

  • Gary

    Sharon, make sure you let your husband know how much you appreciate him setting his phone aside to be with you. I’m sure that doing so will motivate him to find it easier to do, and also to add to your attractiveness that draws him to you.

  • Gary

    Elizabeth, that’s a tough one that lots are marriages probably have to deal with. Love to know more about how you and your husband navigate it.

  • Gary

    Kimberly, if only I could forget it and leave it at home. I seem to forget everything else! And, by the way … thanks for cluing me in on why you sometimes don’t return my calls right away. Now I can throw away that bitterness I’ve bottled up. 😉

  • Gary

    Guilty as charged! 🙁 But, now that I’ve plastered my inner self on Beth’s blog, I’ve got a greater sense of accountability that I hope and pray will make a positive difference.

  • Gary

    Ro, I’m super-concerned about the younger generation too. If I’m having a hard time not caving in to cell phone dysfunction, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for them to overcome it since that’s all they know. Hopefully, our examples and our candid and caring conversations with them about healthy relationships will make an impact.

  • I know a lot of people who are having affairs with their cell phones. I recently watched a couple who were out at a restaurant together chit chat briefly and then they both pulled out their phones. Bravo to you for facing this problem head on! We could be heading for an intimacy crisis.

  • In that case, my hubby is having an affair with Fantasy Football, but to be fair, I am with blogs as well. lol

  • Kudos to you Gary, for baring your vulnerable self here! We’ve had quite a number of conversations in our home about what paying attention looks like. Since the love language of quality time is right near the top for all of us, learning to shutdown the laptops and put away the phones is crucially important!

  • Gary

    Kudos back to ya for having conversations about it. Seems like most marriages just wish things were different but never talk about it.

  • Gary

    I’m all for fairness! 😉

  • Gary

    “Heading for?” Maybe more like “drowning in.” I see it all around too. Pretty discouraging to say the least.

  • So true! Sometimes I will have wives ask how to be happier, yet they seem to be looking for a simple fix rather than doing the sometimes hard work every day to build a great relationship.

  • Thanks Gary for again being so vulnerable! Question for you though…how many times did your phone pose as a distraction during the creation of this post? ;o) My biggest struggle is the listening/not fixing complex. I want to go into problem solving mode rather than giving my hubby my undivided attention. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of quality time in my marriage!

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