When I was growing up, most people didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t text. I didn’t get an internet account until I went to college, and while I loved emailing, most people I knew didn’t get email accounts until several years after I graduated. We didn’t have the plethora of TV channels now available, either. So, what did we do?
Well, most of the kids in my neighborhood played together outside instead of playing video games or spending hours texting or watching TV. And this continued while I was in college and as a young adult.
Now it seems like our lives are full of media – the internet, TV and our cell phones use up a huge chunk of our free time. People even text and watch movies while they drive, which you know is contributing to the fender benders and road rage. Parents install DVD players in the family minivan so their little darlings are kept quiet instead of doing what my parents did – expect the kids to exercise patience, discipline and self-restraint.
In our marriages, too often we spend our time focused on various forms of media rather than each other. Some people even text while having sex. If the sex is boring enough that you can text during it, then you are doing something wrong! But while this is fairly rare, there are many marriages in which both partners spend a lot more time on the internet or cell phone than actually having meaningful conversations with each other.
Hence the idea of a media blackout.
Rick and I did this a week ago, and it was amazing. It refreshed us individually, and added to our intimacy and enjoyment of each other.
He had to go down to Houston for business, so I accompanied him and we spent an extra couple of days. When we checked into our motel, we didn’t get the internet access. We kept our cell phones turned off. We kept the TV turned off.
So, what did we do instead of watching movies, surfing the net or talking or texting friends? We went sight-seeing. We ate delicious meals together with no interruptions. We spent our evenings playing Scrabble or reading together in companionable silence. We had long conversations and quiet reflective times. We gave each other back rubs and cuddled…
These three media-free days did wonderful things for our marriage, and also made the mini-vacation more relaxing.
You may want to try this for yourself. Find a weekend where you can leave the kids with the grandparents or schedule a sleepover with friends. Then take a little road trip, depending on your interests and budget. Because this is just a mini-vacation, pick a location that you can drive to in under 4 hours, so you don’t spend all your time on the road. Unless, of course, your idea of a great vacation involves a lot of driving…
You could try a short camping trip in the hill country, or drive down to Galveston to enjoy the ocean, or check into a romantic B&B in San Antonio, or whatever suits your fancy. Then, while you are there, the rules are simple – no TV, no internet and the cell phone is turned off though you can check your messages once a day to make sure there are no emergencies. Then, go ahead and enjoy some quality time with your sweetheart.
Enforce a final rule – no discussions about family problems such as the budget, squabbles with in-laws, or any other such topics. Yes, your conversations CAN be deep and intimate, but the focus should be on reconnecting with each other without the normal distractions. So leave your problems at home. Don’t worry, they’ll still be waiting for you when you get back.
You will be amazed at how much more relaxed you will be afterwords, and how much closer you feel to your spouse.