Social Media’s Effect on Marriage: How to Balance Screen Time and Keep Your Relationship Strong
We live in a digital age, and with that comes some challenges for our relationships. One of the most common issues couples face is conflict over the way in which screens impact their quality time together. It is not uncommon for couples to plan on spending some quality time together and then end up sitting in front of a screen, or two or three.
Research has begun exploring the impact screen use has on relationships. Of course technology and the use of screens can benefit us as we have experienced over the past two years.
Screens have helped us to remain connected in many of our important relationships. However, studies have also shown that screen time and the use of social media can have a negative effect on our relationships.
Significant time spent on screens can lead to relationship problems like decreased communication and intimacy. We also see conflict arise between partners due to the overall negative impact of social media on people’s mental health as well as disagreements over how much money is spent on devices and apps and how much is shared on social media.
It can be hard to avoid the use of screens, so you might be asking yourself, how can I make sure my relationship doesn’t suffer because of screens and social media?
Today, we will identify some of the ways in which you and your partner can intentionally reduce the negative impact of screens on your relationship.
Here are a few tips:
Set Screen Time Limits
One of the best ways to limit the negative effects of screen time and social media use is to set screen time limits for yourself. It’s helpful if your partner will set screen time limits for themselves as well.
Then you can hold one another accountable to your agreed upon limits. This will likely free up some of your down time to spend with each other or take care of other things that need to get done so that your time with your partner is not impacted by other responsibilities.
By setting screen time limits together, both you and your partner will have a clearer understanding of when you will be available to connect with one another. Lastly, setting these types of limits will give you guilt free time on screens.
You can try:
- Having the last hour of your day be completely screen free.
- Agree to a window of time, when you’re home together, where screens are turned off and put away.
- Establish no-screen or no-phone zones in your home, like the bedroom or at the dining room table.
If you find it difficult to stick to these rules, consider using an app like Quality Time to track and limit your screen time.
Put Your Phone Away
One of the most common things that leads to conflict between couples are smart phones. Being that most partners have their own smartphone device, there doesn’t need to be any negotiation over whose turn it is to use it. Both partners can be sitting right next to each other but be immersed in completely different worlds!
Another way to reduce the negative impact of screens and social media on your relationship, is to simply put your phone away for a predetermined amount of time, more than 10 minutes. This means not checking your phone at every ding or buzz that it might make.
It also means that you use that time to be fully present with your partner. Many partners complain that even when their partner puts their phone down they can almost see the draw the phone has and the distraction that it causes to their time of connection.
If you find yourself constantly picking up your phone and responding to its every beck and call, try turning it completely off! I know we have all grown accustomed to being accessible on multiple platforms at all times of the day but this is really just a habit not a need.
If turning it off completely doesn’t feel like an option, try setting up a charging station outside of the main area you spend your time in so that you can’t hear the chirps and buzzes coming from your phone. Set a timer and don’t go back to check on your phone until the timer goes off. It may take some practice to get used to but this will give you the opportunity to be more present and to have quality time with your partner.
Talk to Each Other About Your Social Media Habits
Talk about the impact of screens on your relationship. Together, take note of the amount of time you spend on screens together and apart from one another. Social media is a place where many partners report spending a lot of time on screens.
The best way to make sure social media doesn’t take over your relationship is to talk about it with your partner. Seek to understand how both of you use social media, share what you each watch and on which platforms.
And most importantly talk to each other about how you feel when one of you is using social media often enough to bother you. Be honest about the amount of time you’re spending on screens and work to understand the role in which screens play in your partner’s life.
This open communication will help you understand each other better and make sure that social media isn’t causing tension in your relationship. It can also help you identify any potential problems early on.
Create Shared Activities
Finally, one of the best ways to limit the negative effects of screen time and social media is to create shared activities that don’t involve screens. This could be anything from going for a walk together, cooking dinner together, to playing a board game.
The important thing is that you’re spending time together without being distracted by screens. This will help you stay connected and strengthen your relationship.
By following these tips, and setting boundaries around your screen time, you can reduce your conflict around screens as well as keeping the lines of communication open with each other if problems arise in the future. If you are in need of additional support, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today!