Have you ever been ditched?
Maybe it was in your teen years. You were looking forward to seeing someone, you had great plans, then night of, bam. She can’t be there, something more fun came up. (At least when we were kids we didn’t have social media to rub it in our faces!) She just ditched me!
How many friendships will last if one person ditches the other over and over? In my experience, those relationships crash. and. burn.
This isn’t just teen drama. No one likes being ditched. You want to feel like you matter to someone and that you won’t be left behind at a drop of the hat or when something better comes along.
Maybe your spouse isn’t leaving you alone at the movie theater to go to the movies with someone else (I hope not). But there are a lot of other smaller subtle ways that you can get ditched. When you take your attention away from your spouse and move on to the next distraction, he will feel ditched. The effect is the same.
I’d spend time with you… but the kids have that thing they want to do. I know I said we could go out… but oh gotta go help this person. I’m listening to you… but I got the check the scores on the game real quick.
How easily are you distracted?
Most of humanity has some level of attention deficit. Our eyes and hearts are prone to wander. I think about all the times that I can wander into worry- and I have to remind myself that God is paying attention! He has not become distracted and moved on to someone else. Because of His great love for us, He can’t take His eyes off of us. He is never distracted.
Showing the love of God to my spouse means learning to give my husband that type of attention. I am here with you. I am listening.
Our Favorite Distractions: Kids & Phones
Let’s face it, these are probably the top two distractions in our lives. Kids, of course, need a ton of our attention. But it is not healthy for them to have all of the attention either. If you want to be distracted from spending time with your spouse, find some kids. They will provide a unlimited amount of distraction from your spouse. Be intentional about making your spouse the priority!
Our phones also demand our attention and they also provide endless distractions if we let them. No person should feel like a device is more important than them. Phubbing is a real thing and needs to be addressed to protect your marriage!
How to Not Ditch Your Spouse for Your Kids (or your phone!)
1. Check with your spouse first before heading to the distraction.
Almost every time when we check with each other first, we give the “okay” and it prevents one of us from feeling hurt that we just got ditched.
Child has a question about her homework. Do you mind if I go help her? Or This is my coworker texting me about an email I never responded to. Do you mind if I take a few minutes to resolve that? I should have gotten back to him earlier.
2. Promise to get back to your conversation ASAP.
When Joe has to deal with a sudden distraction, he makes a note of what it is we were discussing so we can finish it later. This makes me feel so valued- that what I’m talking about matters to him!
Honey, I need to go check on the baby. I will be right back. I want to hear your thoughts on how we should solve the problem with the sink.
3. Recognize non-emergency situtions.
There is a difference between emergency distractions and non-emergency distractions. When you recognize that some situations do not require your immediate attention, and you stay with your spouse, that builds trust!
I know your Xbox isn’t working right now. When I’m done talking to Mom, I’ll look at it. or, Oh, that’s my freind calling about this weekend. Remind me to give her a call back later.
4. Use basic manners when you have to deal with any interruption.
Saying excuse me and I’m sorry are just as important with your spouse as with a stranger. If that text comes in that you must deal with, explain the situation and ask to be excused! Apologize for having to attend to something or someone else if you’re spending time with your spouse.
Wife, would you please excuse me? I need to go check on this. I’m sorry to have to leave midway through your thought.
5. Plan ahead for some convos to minimize interruptions.
Joe and I occasionally try to have a conversation in the kitchen, in the morning, when kids are packing lunches and eating breakfast and telling us their plans for the day. Those convos are frequently interrupted to a ridiculous level. Usually at some point we realize, this is not the best time of day to talk about this. Let’s try this later!
I’m sorry I can’t give you my full attention right now. Can we find a better time to do this/talk about this? I hate having this many interruptions.
6. Call your kids on bad manners.
We don’t have toddlers anymore, but we still get interrupted by our kids! It’s a pretty talkative crew we have 🙂 Teaching your kids to not interrupt is an important skill to learn early on. Teach them to respect the time you have with each other by not allowing them to distract you from your conversation.
Daughter, your dad and I are talking to you’ll have to wait until we’re finished. Son, I was trying to listen to what your mom was saying and you interrupted.
7. Set boundaries.
Don’t let your life or marriage be dictated by distractions. Mark those times on your calendar that remain sacred times- those blocks of time where you fully dedicate yourself to being with your spouse. When you make a mutual commitment to ignore those distractions. Ask your spouse what boundaries you can put in place to better show each other respect. When we establish that trust, and the inevitable distraction comes, then we can offer grace.
Ask God for help in managing our distractions. Lord, help me to pay attention in this moment! Focus my heart on loving the person in front of me. Help me to not let the distractions keep me from hearing your voice!
How can you show your spouse your undivided attention today?
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3
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