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There is a familiar scene at our house on any given night: Penn gets excited about watching something and he turns on the TV. I tune out and start checking work email or watching pimple-popping videos on my phone. He gets bored and finds something else to do, and I’m left to wonder how I got watching this science-fiction-end-of-the-world melodrama or a motivational sports documentary. Super intimate couple time, right? Unfortunately this is becoming more and more common. The epidemic of loneliness is astounding – we are more connected than ever and yet we feel more and more emotionally disconnected.
Thou Shalt Determine Who Got Thy Way
We asked our Facebook Group what they fight about as couples and screen time was definitely top of the list (along with laundry and chores in general, but we will get to that on another podcast.) We set rules for screen time for our kids, so why aren’t we doing that for ourselves? Enter the Penn Commandments of Screen Time. Yes, Penn made his own list of commandments to help solve this issue, which led to one of the most random things I’ve ever said on any podcast: “Stop mansplaining Bible-speak!” While it was very sweet of Penn to make a list of rules, we ultimately decided three main things need to happen with screens and couples to maintain intimacy:
- Establish a Primary screen – Decide what device you are going to watch together. This is the only device allowed – which was sort of controversial during our conversation, but we agreed in the end you need a single screen, baby!
- Determine the Alpha – If it’s not a mutually decided program, determine who gets to pick. Also don’t sandbag and act like you don’t like a show if you really do. We all know you love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ok? Everyone does.
- Switch It Up – Take turns on who gets to be the Alpha and allow for breaks if the other person needs it. If you need to take a pause to check for a work email or answer a text, do it intentionally and communicate with the other person.
Listen to more of our ideas on how to have couple time with screens and what our marriage counselor and pastor has to say on the topic. We also try a new segment where we talk about what we are super into right now. I discuss a brain game app and Penn talks about pet urinary tract infections?! He’s getting pretty good at making me crawl under the desk on a weekly basis out of embarrassment.
Do you have rules around screen time as a couple or a family? How do you make sure you are staying connected while incorporating screens into your time together? We’d love to hear your feedback!
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