I just read a “one liner” that stated, “One day I’ll look up from my phone and realize my kids put me in a nursing home.” I’m thinking the same can be stated another way. “One day I’ll look up from my phone (or computer) and realize my spouse has left me (mentally and/or physically).” Being present whenever it is possible is an important thing to do with our marriage partners.
That thought leads me to one of my pet peeves. It seems that everywhere I go, I see people either talking or texting on their phones. It’s as if we can’t be present where we are.
Roll Call: Being Present
I remember in school where the teacher or professor went through “roll call.” This is where he or she would call out a list of names. And each person would say, “here” or “present” (if indeed he or she was).
Sometimes I feel like going through roll call. I want the person who is engaged on the phone while he or she is out in public to yell out “here” or “present.” This way I can say, “No you aren’t. You’re off somewhere else. Please be present with the person you’re with.”
I see this continually in public where a husband and wife (and sometimes children) are out together at a restaurant or somewhere. And one, or more, or all are on their electronic devices. They’re having some type of conversation with someone else. I want to yell out, “Be present with the one(s) you’re with —do that later when you’re alone.”
Now I understand that sometimes a phone call or a text comes in where you need to tend to it. It may be an emergency or it’s from someone you’ve been trying to get a hold of for a while. So you need to take advantage of the connection. But that’s not the normal case. What’s most polite (if it’s a non-emergency) is to NOT take the call, and call them later. Or move the phone away from you so you aren’t tempted to look at it. Or you can keep it short and call them back later. Do this, especially when you’re with your spouse. He or she is the one you are supposed to be spending time with presently.
As the Bible says, “there is a time for everything under heaven.” That includes being occupied on our digital devices when they invade time we should be spending with our spouse, with focused attention.
If we don’t make our marriage relationship a priority where we show we are present with our spouse physically, mentally, and emotionally, some day we may find that our spouse will no longer be interested in being with US physically, mentally, emotionally or any way.
Didn’t Marry to Be Abandoned By Phones
We didn’t marry one another to ignore each other. We didn’t marry to make everything and everyone else more important than our spouse. So why is it okay to be rude and ignore the person we vowed to “love, honor, and cherish”? Why is it okay to put them off time and time again by texting and talking on the phone to anyone who contacts us?
Please BE PRESENT when you’re out and about in public places. I’ve had GREAT conversations with people in grocery store lines and public places when they weren’t gabbing on the phone to this person or that, or perusing the Internet or texting someone. It’s amazing the ministry opportunities that can be had when we’re present and attentive when we’re out in public. We miss those opportunities to give God the elbowroom to minister through us when we’re caught up in our digitally invasive devices.
And I’ve had GREAT conversations with my husband, and he with me, when we’re in public or somewhere away from our “normal” home life. But if one of us is on the phone, that opportunity is cut off and sabotaged.
Being Present Is a Great Mission
PLEASE make it your mission to be with your spouse when you have both purposed to do so. Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent from your mobile devices invade and interrupt that time.
Here’s a great book that I highly recommend everyone read. It concerns devices that should be working FOR us rather than continually taking our attention captive. The title is, Digital Invasion, The: How Technology Is Shaping You and Your Relationships. It’s written by Dr Sylvia Hart Frejd and Dr Archibald Hart. This can be a marriage-saving book!
And then there’s one more suggestion. Please read the following relatedblog, and implement at least some of the advice given: