Then I Heard a Thump. And Not the Good Kind.
By Janel Breitenstein
My house snuggles up to the mountains. And wildlife makes this place interesting.
My husband treed a bear once when he pulled home from work. While garage-saling, I once saw one crossing the street, cubs in tow.
The deer are less fascinating. Nearly every day a six-point buck wanders through my yard. They consume my pumpkins in the fall, antlers clacking against the front door.
We can spot the summer tourists because their cars slow, cell phones held aloft through the windows—the equivalent, to me, of photographing squirrels.
The deer overpopulation has become a nuisance, traffic accidents escalating as they traipse across the road.
We all know what a deer in the headlights does, right? Where should I go? What should I do? (Thump.)
It can be the equivalent of a cell phone in marriage. (Work with me, here.)
There are so many bright, shiny, doggone distracting things on there.
American adults touch their cell phones an average of 2,500 times daily.* Many refer to them in terms of addiction—to the point of causing (wait for it) traffic accidents.
But what if your spouse gets the idea your phone is more compelling than they are?
What if your budget’s slaughtered by Candy Crush? What if you’re playing Minecraft, and your spouse decides it’s not worth the wait to talk about the day together?
What if you could be present with your spouse, and instead, you’re present with one of 13 notifications?
The vanishing gift of attention is one our spouses will not get until we mean it, decide on it.
It is culturally subversive to be all there with people. But it’s one of the most precious gifts you could hand your spouse: eliminating the deer-in-the-headlights, destructive distraction.
Give your spouse the gift of undivided presence. Let’s stick our attention in the places it deserves.
The good stuff: Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
- Give your spouse 10 minutes of undivided attention this week. (The average American spends 325 hours monthly on media consumption.** We can start with 10 minutes, right?) Work to communicate more presence with your spouse than with your device.
- You’ve heard of a weight-loss plan. Develop a screen-loss plan—complete with goals, rewards, and consequences.
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