Marriage in the Digital Age | Balancing Screen Time and Us Time

It’s the 21st century and digital devices have pretty much become extensions of our bodies, and that can make it a little more challenging for married couples to carve out quality “us” time.

Depending on your screen time habits when you are home and your profession, which can make the line between work and off-the-clock blurry, we are always plugged in, 24/7, 365. You can’t say you aren’t near a phone anymore—smartphones have ended that.

While technology definitely has its perks, it also comes with its set of challenges, especially for marital intimacy. The answer to this dilemma is finding a happy medium, so let’s find out how married couples can balance their screen time and their “us” time!

hand holding smartphone

The Digital Intruder

You finally walk in the door after a long day, and you are looking forward to spending some quiet time with your spouse. But when you sit down for dinner, you both are glued to your screens, responding to just one more work email or scrolling through Instagram or Facebook to see what everyone has been up to. If that sounds like you and your better half, you aren’t alone—this scenario is actually the norm in a lot of households, inviting what some relationship experts are calling the “digital intruder”  into your marriage.

couple holding heart

Acknowledging the Issue

The first step toward addressing the interfering screen in the room is acknowledging that it’s happening. Some couples don’t realize the extent to which digital devices intrude on their personal time together! An easy way to clock it is to track how much time you spend on your phones, tablets, or computers when you’re together. The numbers might actually surprise you and motivate you to make a change for the better.

couple back to back holding heart and flowers

Setting Boundaries

Once you’ve acknowledged that there is an issue, the next thing you have to do is set clear boundaries. No, this doesn’t mean swearing off digital devices or throwing your phone in the garbage; it just means you create a few rules that work for both of you. Maybe it’s a no-phones policy while you’re eating a meal or designating certain rooms in your house as “tech-free” zones. Just create time and space where you can focus on each other without any distractions.

couple hugging with hearts

Quality Time Over Quantity

You may think it’s about the amount of time you spend together, but if you’re both on your phones, it doesn’t really count. It’s the quality of that time that really matters, so make the best of it by doing things that both of you enjoy and that encourage interaction. Whether it’s playing a card game, watching a movie, or even just going for a walk, the goal is to reconnect without the constant dings of notifications emitting from your smartphones.

couple embracing with heart balloons

Using Technology for Intimacy

It’s not all bad news when it comes to technology and relationships, we swear! When used judiciously, digital devices can actually create more intimacy. Thinking about your babe while you’re grinding away at work? Send them a text that tells them you miss them and can’t wait to see them when you get home. Staying in touch while you’re apart is the main reason smartphones were invented! You can stay connected and complement your marriage, not complicate it.

couple with hearts and megaphone

Communication Central

As with any relationship issue, open communication is one of the most important things you need, so talk to each other about your digital habits and how they might be affecting your connection and intimacy. It’s important to approach any convos about this issue without assigning blame–instead, work on how you can both get better! Tackle it as a team.

couple with calendar and hearts

Digital Detoxes

This is like a cleanse, but instead of ridding your body of toxins from fast food, you’re taking a break from being glued to your screen. A digital detox clears your mind and allows you to reconnect with each other and the world around you. You could have a tech-free weekend or just a few hours at night where you disconnect from the digital world and connect with one another.

couple with hearts and flowers

Counseling and Workshops

If you find it super challenging to balance screen time and “us” time, getting some professional input from an outsider can be extremely helpful! Most therapists and relationship coaches can guide you in this area—some even run groups or workshops that are strictly focused on this issue. These can arm you with valuable tools and strategies tailored to your specific issues about balancing digital time with “us” time.

couple with big balloon heart

Make It Fun

Turning these changes into a challenge or a game can make the process more enjoyable. Set goals and rewards for sticking to your digital boundaries. Maybe if you both manage to stay off your phones during dinner for a week, you treat yourselves to a night out. Whatever it is, find something that motivates you both.

couple dancing with hearts

The Role of Example

If you have kids, they are watching what you are doing and learning by example, so try to set a good one! By showing your children the importance of personal connections over digital ones, you’re teaching them valuable life lessons about relationships and the importance of good communication.

Maintaining the Right Balance

Technology should be a tool that brings us closer, not a distraction that drives us apart! By being aware and mindful of your screen time and prioritizing your relationships, you make sure that your digital habits don’t get in the way of marital intimacy. All you have to do is find that sweet spot where technology serves us—not the other way around.

You don’t want to be a slave to your screen, so pay attention to how much time you spend on it while you’re with your significant other. If you know more about the latest TikTok trends than you do about how their day was, you need to put the phone down and pay attention to what really matters— your marriage!

Abigail Langton
Abigail Langton

Abigail Langton spends her time deep diving into the facts readers want to know about current dating apps online. You'll find her breaking down the latest price points and how to stay secure dating online.