Have You Phubbed Your Spouse Lately?

It was the perfect place for a romantic dinner date. My husband and I sat holding hands across the small table, while he told me about his day. It was good to take a long pause from the noise and activity of a hectic week and just reconnect. When we started eating, something strange caught my attention.

Across the dining room, tables were filled with couples, but the room was quiet. There was no hand holding happening. No flirtatious exchanges or deep conversations. At table after table, each couple was intently engaged—but not with their dinner date, no, they were totally engrossed with their phone!

I couldn’t believe it, as I counted, at every table in the room cell phones were the center of attention. The opportunity to connect with the real person across the table was lost to the airwaves.

A lot of phubbing going on here.

Phubbing is a phone snub. Happens all the time. And it seems to be a common factor that contributes to relationship conflicts. When the screen you can hold in the palm of your hand, replaces intimacy with your spouse, alarms should start blaring—you’ve just phubbed the person you claim to value more than any other.

A spouse that is regularly “phubbed” doesn’t feel cherished or respected.

Here’s a quiz to see how you’re doing when it comes to phone snubbing your spouse:

  1. While scrolling your media feed, does it take you several moments to notice that your spouse has walked in the room?
  1. Do you bring your phone with you to dinner?
  1. Do you pick up your phone to check messages while in the middle of a conversation with your spouse?
  1. Do you lose track of your spouse’s conversation because you’re distracted by looking at your phone messages?
  1. Do you respond with short, snappy answers when your spouse asks you a question, because they’re interrupting your phone time?
  1. Do you use your phone frequently for unnecessary communication while spending time alone with your spouse?
  1. Do you resent when your spouse asks you to put your phone down and engage in conversation?
  1. Do you tend to feel anxious if you’re unsure of where your phone is?
  1. Do you keep your phone in your hand most of the time while you’re with your spouse?
  1. When you are with your spouse, would it be out of the ordinary for you to intentionally place your phone in a drawer or another room in order to fully engage?
  1. Has your spouse voiced concerns about how much time you spend on your phone or appealed to you to disconnect more?
  1. Do you think your social media time could be negatively impacting your marriage?

I’m not talking primarily to men or women. Both sexes are equal-opportunity offenders when it comes to phubbing. I can honestly say that my husband is guilty of none of the above. The fact that he’s not “phubbing” me, communicates that I’m valuable to him and his undivided engagement also conveys that message to others. I’m grateful that his life and attention is not dominated by his phone. I’m thankful that he’s never phubbed me in his life.

But, I must confess, I’ve phubbed my husband.

I’ve unintentionally communicated to him that the little device in my hand holds my heart (at times) more intently than his love. But I wrote this list to provide me with a clear guideline to protect my heart, to remind me how easily I can be distracted from giving devoted love to my man by a 2×6 communication device.

Every time I’m phubbing my husband, I’m communicating to him that he is not as valuable to me as the social interaction on my phone. I’m not loving him well, in fact, I’m being disrespectful to him. Now, I’m not trying to unload a guilt trip on you—really, I’m not! But I want to challenge us to consider where our hearts are on this topic.

Yes, there are times you must reply to an urgent email, you need to respond to an important text, you actually have to be on your phone in the middle of a conversation with your husband—I’m not laying out any absolutes here, just challenging us (challenging myself) to consider how our phones may be distracting us or sending the wrong message to our spouse.

How does Scripture challenge us on this topic?

[box]Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:31–33)[/box]

How many times did you have to answer “Yes” to the questions on my little quiz?

For every “yes” on that quiz, there is a message of “No, you’re not that important to me” being sent to your spouse. If you are regularly “phubbing” your spouse, they aren’t getting the message that they are cherished or respected. It’s easy to lose track and drift into the phubbing behavior, that’s why I’m sharing this quiz. You may not even realize that’s what you’ve been doing.

If this quiz was a wake-up moment for you, and you realize that you may be guilty of “phubbing” your spouse, I hope you’ll have a gracious conversation with them and let them know that you need to ask their forgiveness and commit to making changes that will convey to them their worth and value. Consider implementing some mutually agreed upon times for “media fasts” in order to have undistracted time together.

How about you? How did you score?

Can we put down our phones for a bit?

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