Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Series: Women Living Well- Chapter 7

Marriage In the Age of Marriage

     According to ScienceDaily, media consumption is predicted to increase to approximately 15.5 hours per day by 2015. A significant portion of this media can be found within the home. A determination of the potential positive and negative effects of this presence on marriage must be made, and then boundaries set in place to maintain a healthy relationship.  

     In chapter seven of the book, Courtney speaks to the impact media may have on marriage. She begins by asserting that, "technology is amoral. In and of itself it is neither good nor evil, but rather the way you use technology, especially in marriage, determines its morality" (pg. 71). As in any area of life, media can serve to both build up and tear down a marriage. 

     For instance, media usage can be a tremendous distraction. It distracts us from our relationship. My relationship with my husband isn't going to grow if I'm fixated on a screen. I must be attentive to him and us as a couple if I expect our relationship to grow. We must use the time we have together to interact with one another, not with a screen. Another way media can be a distraction in marriage is in regard to responsibilities. Media has a way of sucking me in. Before I realize it, I've spent more time and attention on media than I have on my responsibilities. I've learned one key to getting everything done in a day is to leave the computer closed and television off. Productivity soars with out the distraction of media! When I get more done during the day, I have less to do when he's home in the evenings and we can spend that time together. 

     Another way media impacts marriage is in the provision of my perceptions. In subtle ways the television (and movie) screen(s) are teaching some poor lessons on marriage and the roles of husband and wife. (I wrote a post on the subject titled, "The Portrayal of Husbands and Wives on Television"). I've had a lot of learning and relearning on marriage and being a wife! One lesson learned was to not expect the kind of romanticism flaunted in films. If I fixate on the type of romantic acts that I've seen on the screen, then I will likely miss the unique acts of romance demonstrated by my husband (ie, big and elaborate shows, or sweet and sincere). Discontentment can easily creep in when comparison is involved!

     Finally, one of the most negative impacts media has on a marriage is in regard to inappropriate content. Sadly, it doesn't even take entrance to "one of those" sites. I've been surprised to discover just how many immodest and inappropriate images are on seemingly benign sites (even a news source!). My Facebook feed inevitably has someone who has shared photos of themselves with less than their clothing and a camera angle that showcases a particular feature. It seems that inappropriate and lustful imagery is everywhere, and it becomes a stumbling block in marriage. In my heart, the only intimate image in the mind should be one's spouse. 

     With all that said, there are still some positive influences of media on marriage. As I mentioned earlier, I'm constantly learning about marriage and being a wife. I've had quite a bit of relearning to do (more on this later this week)! I've found wonderful resources through certain forms of media. At times, my husband and I have shared various articles with one another. My heart is always warmed when he reads something and then thinks of me. 

      I also enjoy receiving messages throughout the day from him. Despite his busy workday, he takes a moment to be concerned with my day. I like to show affection in a similar fashion by sending him messages or photos of our son. While this quick messaging doesn't constitute real conversing, it does successfully pull each of us into the other's day. 

     We've also enjoyed media that provides us with an activity we can do together. We enjoy watching movies or a television show together some nights. We've also enjoyed learning new activities/hobbies that we can do together, like dancing (and no, you'll never catch either of us dancing in public!). 

     Media can be positive for our marriage when we direct it towards bringing us together and building our relationship. In order to achieve this goal, I try to follow a few guidelines I've set for myself. 

  • Limit media (television, computer, phone etc) when in the presence of my husband or son. I try to reserve usage for such as that for my personal time during the day, ie Tennyson's nap time. (Currently nap times are used for either rest or cleaning. Thus, the blog has been very, very quite for the last..5 months. I desire to not be on the computer while he's awake during the day or while there are more productive things to be done in the home. This has been a very helpful boundary for me). A good rule to follow in life is to be present when in the presence of others. 
  • Designate a time for watching television, movies or being on the computer. The greatest issue with technology/media/gadget use is doing so at inappropriate times. It's unfortunate how often families are together and yet the television is on, one person has a computer in the lap, another has an eReader or iPad, another is texting etc. What a waste of time together! Ideally, I have a limited "computer time" built into my daily schedule, and this keeps me from having it on and being distracted from my relationship with my husband and son and responsibilities in the home. 
  • Unsubscribe to blogs or websites if they create discontentment or discouragement that leaks into the home or marriage. I found that certain blogs or sites would actually leave me discouraged and discontent, which spilled into my marriage. I then decided that if they aren't really edifying or encouraging me, then they no longer have a place in my news feed or blog roll. 
  • Guard my tongue when I'm talking with my husband so that it does not include anything related to "did you see on Facebook...." It's interesting how the Facebook newsfeed has become a part of in-person social interaction! Oh, the temptation of becoming nosy gossipers! We don't need to discuss or have an opinion on someone else's life, even if they are posting the news publicly.   

Take a few moments in prayer to ask God to reveal to you any way that media 
might be detracting from your relationship with your husband. Commit to keeping 
any boundaries in place He may show you are needed to have a distraction-free 
and healthy Christ-centered marriage.

*Note: Reviving Homemaking is not an affiliate of or the publishing companies (Thomas Nelson & HarperCollins Christian Publishing). No compensation has been received by either of these entities for the review of the book. All opinions are my own. 

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