Do you find you text your spouse more than you talk?
Do you send emojis in lieu of real live kisses?
Although texts can certainly be used to strengthen a marriage relationship (and to help your spouse find you in the crowd), too much texting can erode a relationship one character at a time. When it comes to serious conversations, disagreements, or daily connections, texting alone doesn’t cut it.
A study conducted at Brigham Young University found that being constantly connected through technology can create some disconnects in couples. You’ve probably experienced this firsthand if you’ve ever been in a restaurant, seated opposite of a texting spouse.
Here are a few highlights of the report:
For women: Using text messages to apologize, work out differences or make decisions is associated with lower relationship quality
For men: Too frequent texting is associated with lower relationship quality
For all: Expressing affection via text enhances the relationship
Many of the couples surveyed don’t just text “Where do u want to go 4 lunch?” They use texting for relationship maintenance, something that really should happen face to face in daily conversation.
You can send a quick text to apologize if you forgot to bring in the trash can. But a quick text to apologize if you had a heated argument in the morning won’t fix it. To really apologize effectively, you’ve got to admit your wrongdoing, attempt to make restitution, repent, and ask for forgiveness.
That’s awfully hard to fit in a text message. (To learn more about apology, I recommend The Five Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas)
At the end of each day, James and I have a ritual of talking before we go to bed. I tickle his feet (his love language is physical touch and he loves that, I find it terribly ticklish!). We talk about our high points and our low points, our work frustrations and joys. We recount the funny things our kids said. This ritual connects us.
Lasting connection between couples happens during moments like these strung together over a lifetime.
Meaningful connection does not happen through a string of texts. Man (and women) cannot live by texts alone.
Texting cannot replace talking in a marriage. Sure it’s more convenient and you may argue less. It doesn’t take much effort to bury your head in technology and feign being crazy busy all the time. It’s much harder to make time for meaningful communication and work through martial issues.
But it is far more rewarding.
If you need to talk to your spouse, don’t just text each other. The latest technology can’t replace the power of face to face conversation.
So go ahead and text your spouse “I love you” or “Meet me at 5 at the restaurant.” But save all the other conversations for later. A marriage relationship isn’t built strong text by text. It’s built to last on talking, touching, laughing, and apologizing face to face. Side by side.
Not phone to phone.