Last night my husband confronted me about an affair I’ve been having with Facebook. He wanted to spend time with me and although I was answering his questions (with monosyllabic grunts) and we were in the same room together (without making eye contact), I was more interested in my girlfriends, their kids and what they were doing than I was with my man.
I’ll admit I initially got defensive. I’m not the only person who is habitually on my phone in the Sandretti house, after all. My husband would admit he enjoys online clearance shopping and reading ESPN updates. Our three teenagers are usually texting, donning their Beat headphones or checking out Instagram. We are all guilty of being obsessed with electronics, so why was I being singled out?
I was also defensive because I’ve tried. I’ve tried to curb our addiction to social media, texting and Amazon.com. The rare times we’re home together I have suggested we shouldn’t have electronics in the family room. I’ve put a rubber band around my phone to remind myself not to subconsciously pick it up and waste thirty minutes of my life. I’ve moved my Facebook app off my home page. I have tried to guilt, shame and beg my family (and myself) into getting off our devices, but whatever I impose lasts about a day until we are right back to our isolated, distracted and fragmented electronic-centric existence.
Despite all my excuses and efforts, my defensiveness also revealed something else. I was upset in part because I genuinely thought I didn’t know how to change this problem. I soon realized however, the problem isn’t so much that I can’t change, it’s that I don’t really want to change. I feel entitled to my harmless down time. Some women go out with their real, human friends but I usually stay home (and ignore my family) like a good wife. Is it wrong to find out which Friends character I’m most like? Is it wrong that Facebook, Jimmy Fallon’s monologue before bed and occasional crocheting are how I unwind? Don’t I deserve to mentally disengage? But I realized last night if at the end of the day I’m wasting opportunities to be fully present because I am choosing Facebook over face time, I need to change.
Although I don’t know how this will play out or what it will look like, I do know this. While I was contemplating how I was going to do this when I have failed so many times in the past, the Holy Spirit reminded me I now have no excuse. Although my husband has quietly alluded my affair with Facebook has bothered him before, he has now come out and said it. Since I am now clear about his feelings I have a choice to make. One choice honors God and my husband and the other choice honors me.Unfortunately, I like me and I like making me happy, but being a Christ follower means being the kind of wife God has called me to be without excuses, blame and perhaps even without as much Facebook.