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Is your phone stealing your spouse? Reconnect in the screen-saturated world.

Episode #806

Is your relationship suffering in our screen-saturated world? Are digital devices becoming a third wheel in your marriage?

In an age where technology often competes with intimacy, this episode dives deep into the heart of relationships amidst the digital chaos. Discover how to reclaim the connection that screens have slowly eroded away.

In this episode, Doug Holt addresses a critical issue facing couples today: the battle for attention in a world dominated by screens. He shares personal anecdotes, humor, and actionable advice on navigating digital distractions to foster deeper connections. Listeners will learn three key strategies: understanding the impact of technology on relationships, enhancing communication to bridge the digital divide, and reigniting the spark that technology may have dimmed.

Whether you find your partner lost in endless scrolls or you’re seeking ways to rekindle the romance without digital interference, this discussion offers a lifeline. By implementing a digital detox, establishing tech-free zones, and prioritizing meaningful interaction, couples can move from being screen-distracted to being deeply connected.

Dive in to discover practical steps toward a more intimate and engaging relationship, proving that you can be more captivating than the latest social media trend. Let’s learn to put the phones down and turn the romance up.

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Doug Holt  0:00  

So with all those distractions, it’s very difficult oftentimes, for couples to be together the screen, pull them in, talk to your wife, and ask her, Hey, what kind of marriage do we want? And maybe one of those things is we want to be fully seen and heard, we want to actually get to know each other, we want to date as a couple. Again, we wouldn’t invite 1000 people into our home, if we’re trying to have to have an intimate conversation or an intimate dinner. So let’s not do that through these digital devices. And as soon as I get into her world, you know what she does, guys, she turns her phone off, because really, she’s using the phone as a substitute for my attention. Be crazy. Do those things you used to do. When you were dating, be goofy, be unapologetically you, right? Be more interesting than Instagram, TikTok, or SNAP whatever it is.

Hey, guys, in an age where our screens command, more attention than our partners, oftentimes, today, we want to talk about how to navigate this digital lifestyle and still keep the romance and spark alive in your marriage. Now there are three key things we’re going to talk about in this episode of the TPM show. One is understanding the impact, right? How did we get here two is how can we use communication styles. So we can bring more intimacy in despite that, and three is how can we rekindle the spark, despite the fact that we’re in this digital age? Now, you know, oftentimes, I will talk to guys, and they’ll share with me their frustrations because they’ll say, Doug, you know, when I come home, my wife’s sitting on the couch, Doom, scrolling Instagram. And literally, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that, from a man be even richer, but the truth is, digital devices are designed to suck us in, right? They’re designed to do that. Billions of dollars have been spent on technology, with social media and other applications to keep us in our devices. Right. In fact, where you’re listening or watching this, there are, you know, mechanisms that are designed to have you keep listening. That’s why at the end of a lot of our shows, I say, Hey, don’t make this educational masturbation, and go from one show to another without actually taking action. Because those devices are designed to keep you within that app, or within that platform. If you’re watching this on YouTube, right, it’s gonna give you suggestions of other videos to watch immediately. In fact, it might just show you the next video. So with all those distractions, it’s an all that marketing and all that psychology applied, it’s very difficult oftentimes for couples to be together, you know, with their screen time the screen pulls them in. And then when you add in the fact that disconnection often happens between couples, right, you got arguments, or you drift, because you’re taking care of the day to days of the family life or the business, we start to, to disassociate ourselves from each other from one another. And this happens with this technology filling the gap, right? 

So when you’re bored, do you check TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever platform when you’re bored? Just to you know, really quickly, to give you a little bit of time? Or does your wife scrolling Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever else it is, it is how she keeps up with her friends going through there. And if you guys have been disconnected, or if you’re in a sexless marriage, off the time, she needs something, and you do too, to fill that gap. Now for us men, we’re businessmen, we often do that with work, but our wives have their especially their stay-at-home wives, they’re going to look to find their tribe online. This is also why a lot of guys will come to us and find out that their wives having an emotional affair online, right, she’s in that device. And it’s happening all too often. So one of the things that I’m really going to recommend you do is get on a detox, right? What I mean by this is to get on a digital detox. So once a week, a minimum once a week, talk to your wife about this first, once a week agree to set all your electronic devices into a drawer. Now I’m talking smartphones, iPads, Kindles, whatever it may be any digital device, put it into a drawer. The reason we want to put it into a drawer is there are fewer distractions, studies have shown that even if you take your cell phone and put it up, face down, and you’re in front of somebody, they don’t feel as connected. They don’t feel as heard, just because the device is out. So the device needs to be out of sight. The temptation shouldn’t be there. Don’t put it in your pocket because you’ll go to the bathroom and you’ll pull it out again, that’s not a digital detox. Right? Well, you have a true digital detox where you and your wife and your kids, right don’t have any electronic devices start with one day a week right for a lot of couples is actually very difficult, right? Sounds easy to do. But like most things That sound easy, that actually can be difficult, you’ll be amazed at how many times you will reach for your phone in your pocket, or you’ll reach for that distraction when things get uncomfortable. This is going to allow you guys to come together to bring yourselves together, right? And have conversations that matter. I also often recommend to guys that you get one of those question card decks, there’s tons of them out there, I’ve used literally probably 20 different brands and things that go there. And all of them have their merits, right? There are ones for kids, there are ones for families, and there are ones for intimacy, you got to figure out what stage you’re at in your marriage right now. 

So if you are in a sexless marriage, don’t necessarily get a deck that’s going to talk about kinky sex stuff, that’s probably not where you’re at, get something that’s going to meet you and your wife, or your family. In this case, at the level you’re at now, with the idea that you will keep getting more and more connected, you can raise the bar. So we have one that works for our family with our kids. And we’ll ask them this got silly questions and things of that nature. But there are also ones you can get, like I said, that have deeper levels of connection. Byron, Katie just came out with one I believe, recently, and there’s a bunch of them that are out there Table Topics is one that I often buy for people. So pick your brand and not promote one or the other. Again, there’s there’s quite a few out there that you can select from. But you can put that on your table, right? Instead of the phones and sparking conversation. It’s also a great opportunity to go for a walk with your wife, right? Go for a walk, because when you’re kinetic, you actually can, you know, use more energy, you also won’t have as many barriers up. And a walk is also nice, because you’re out in nature, hopefully, or out in public, you’re getting fresh air, you’re changing what you’re looking at, or what you’re, what you’re doing your activity, and it can stimulate conversation and conversations that matter. And that’s really important. Really, what we also want to look at here is having certain times that are tech-free zones in your house, right? What does that mean? Well, in my house,, we have different rules like so for my truck, my kids can eat in my truck, I just don’t want meat in my truck. Right? It is a snack-free zone, we call it right kids just don’t do it. And they know it that they just they know, hey, Daddy’s truck, we just don’t eat snacks in it. And now for long road trips, we know they get a treat where they’re able to do it. But we also want to have tech-free areas. So maybe it’s the dining room, right? 

Hey, no devices in the dining room, no phones, no laptops, no iPads, it is a digital-free space. And when you have these designated zones, these also can be consciously or subconsciously created safety zones, right? And what you’ll see happen is your wife will say, hey, come sit with me in the dining room, I want to talk to you. And if that ever happens, what she’s going to be saying is I want to make sure I have your attention, not your phone, I don’t want you checking Slack, checking text messages, checking WhatsApp, or whatever else it is that you do. Right, she wants your full undivided attention. And you may want hers. And these are great places for conversations. Now, don’t make these places just for conversations that are serious, right? Don’t make that mistake. I’ve done this before, where you sit your wife down, and you have a business board meeting conversation, it’s not gonna be enjoyable for either of you. And the next time you invite her into that space, she’s gonna get triggered and have the same memory of the previous conversation. So make it fun, make it light, and make the use of technology something that you add to your relationship in your marriage, not something that’s taking you guys apart. And that’s really a key thing. Now, how do you get buy-in right, your wife may not want to do that. So one little thing you can do. There are a lot of documentaries out there and things on the adverse effects of social media. And I believe most of the people in Silicon Valley have admitted to not allowing their kids or people in their families to use some of these devices. And it’s because they know the impact the emotional impact. But talk to your wife and ask her Hey, what kind of marriage do we want? Right? Let’s have that conversation. And maybe one of those things is we want to be fully seen and heard, we want to actually get to know each other, we want to date as a couple again. And to do that we don’t want any distractions, we wouldn’t invite 1000 people into our home if we were trying to have an intimate conversation or an intimate dinner. So let’s not do that through these digital devices, and have a fun conversation. Again, it’s about collaboration, I would want to bring my wife into the conversation about creating a dream, like what is it we want together? Now you as the leader, leader of the House, you get to lead that conversation but you want buy-in, you don’t want to walk in there and say When did Wednesdays are digitally free and this is where it’s going to be like a dictator, it’s not going to go over well if you do that. Also, if you just create this rule, maybe your wife follows it once or twice, but eventually, it’s just going to erode. 

Get the buy-in from her. Tell her about what it’s going to do for you guys. Right. What it’s going to do is create more intimacy, it’s going to create more connection time you’re gonna get to know each other better, right? This good could be the one thing that saves your marriage, right, or if your marriage is doing well, this could be the one thing that takes it from good to Rate, I always say life is too short for average, you don’t want to be average, right? The average people always have these devices on and they’re always out. And I’m not knocking, right? I think they’re really great. I use my device all the time. You know, I use smart monitors and all kinds of things. But there’s a time and place for everything right for everything, even in the bedroom. So you want to make sure that you’re doing that, and you’re using that well, and then set aside some time right to check in about these rules and regulations that you’re putting in, make sure they’re still working. Right. And at the code table, this is a great time to have conversations about what it is we do on these devices. Right? A lot of people hide out. A lot of people create secrets on these devices, right? You want to find out like I’ll ask my wife like, you know, why Instagram? Why do you squat? Why are you scrolling on Instagram? Not judging? I’m just really curious.

I don’t use Instagram very much. I’m just curious, what what it is you’re doing. And my wife will tell me I get to follow my friends. I don’t get to see my old roommates in college, and etc, etc. And then I’ll get into her world, it gives me an opportunity to do so. And as soon as I get into her world, you know what she does, guys, she turns her phone off. Not because he’s hiding something, she’ll show me everything. But she turns her phone off because really, she’s using the phone is a substitute for my attention. And once I give her my attention, she doesn’t need or want the phone anymore. When so it really helps her and oftentimes what I’ll tell guys, when they say Doug, you know, when I come home, my wife is Doom scrolling Instagram, and she doesn’t, you know, she doesn’t get off it and act like um, I’m not even there. Right? What I often tell you guys, is to be more insistent, be more interesting the Instagram, and do more interesting stuff. And do it without her. You don’t have to do it with or without her to be more interesting. Be more fun, be more lively. Turn the music on start dancing, and be crazy. Do those things you used to do? When you were dating? Right? When you’re dating, you create a mystery. You did some goofy stuff. She laughed. Now you do goofy stuff. She’s gonna look down on you, right? Maybe, maybe because you guys have some distance, but be goofy, be unapologetically you. Right? Be more interesting than Instagram TikTok, or SNAP whatever it is. Whatever platform she tends to go to, or the everyone you tend to go to? Again, I’m not knocking using these platforms, I use them. Right? We all do. But what is it that you’re getting from that? Right? What is it you’re using it for? Just like porn or alcohol or drugs? Why are you using these things? Right? You want to know that you’re using them and they aren’t using you? That’s the key here. Right? Is your phone using you look at your screen time. 

You know, if you have an iPhone or an Android, it’ll show you that you can see what screen time you have. And is that screen time manageable? Maybe your screen time is eight hours? Maybe it’s 20 hours? What else could you be doing with that time? Is that productive time? Is that the time that you want to be doing those things? You know, are you meditating? Are you spending time in mindfulness, if you’re not, then substitute some of your screen time. For that, we all use it for business and at least that’s our excuse. The key here is going on this digital detox for yourself, but also for your partner, you know, giving her the excuse to get off her phone, she may not see it as a problem. Or she may see it as a major problem. I know this conversation comes up in my home quite often, you know, my wife will make a comment. When we were in Hawaii recently made a comment it was nice to see you not on your phone as much. In my mind. I think I’m not on my phone that often you are. She’s on her phone all the time was a story that was playing in my head. But the interesting thing is I just took it as Okay, her perception of me as being on my phone more than she would like me to be. That’s it. That’s great. That means she wants me more than the phone. She wants to be around me. My perception is she’s on her phone a lot. So we had a dialogue about it. We laughed and we joked and I made it playful and fun. I made it playful and fun. I made sure that my expectation of what I got out of that conversation was my wife wants more of me and less of me on something else on the phone or with another person or whatever it is she wants my attention. She loves me, she likes me, right? We want that. And that creates more intimacy, we bring our phones and devices into our bedroom. I make that a tech-free zone. Right your bedrooms for two things, making love and sleeping. That’s it. Those are the only two things you get to do in the bedroom, in my opinion, right? And maybe your situation is gonna be different, but make that a tech-free zone. Now have you got some tech toys, if you will, okay, I’m all for it. Do it. You know, two consenting adults, in my opinion, can do whatever consenting adults want to do. 

However, that’s what the purpose, right and again, what I’m saying over and over again, is you want to make sure that you’re using this technology to your advantage to get the best out of it, rather than the technology using you and that’s the key component. So a couple of things that I want you to do coming out of this conversation. Step one, have a conversation with your wife about technology. Step two, pick a day and do a digital detox. That doesn’t mean the entire day. But when you get home for you and your wife, maybe it’s 5 pm, maybe 6 pm, whatever it is for you, all devices go into a box, if you want to include your kids, I’m all for that, too. It’s a device-free day, you can take it a step further, and unplug the TVs, right, or just make sure they stay off. No electronic devices. In fact, some nights, we light candles for dinner, but we don’t turn the lights on. And it stimulates such amazing conversations between myself, my kids, and my wife, it really just sets the mood, everybody’s energy gets just for some reason, and this gets calmer, right? Everybody calms down. Now we do it. It’s like a trigger. So everybody knows to relax, and we’re gonna have some great conversations, we’re gonna have some fun with it, and do it. The third thing I want to do, I want you to do is pick some tech-free zones in your life. Now maybe it’s, maybe it’s the car, maybe get some windshield time just to think, or maybe, just maybe it’s your bedroom. Right? That’s a great place to do it, guys. I mean, if it’s also your dining room table. Now a lot of people think about this in theory, but what I want you to do is take massive action. If this resonates with you at all, you know, maybe you don’t have the problem, but you think your wife does well be the leader showcase, show her by action, by example, not by words, not being a dictator, just talk to her and enroll her into this world of doing this digital detox. It’s getting harder and harder with wearables and everything else that we have these days. And that’s why it’s even more important today guys, to actually do this. And take this detox and I’m recommending a minimum of once a week, one time a week. Right? One time and it’s hard for you and you got teenage kids. Yep, I get it. Make it dinner, a dinner, no devices, no exceptions to the rule. Right? You can’t come to the dinner table with your device, period, end of story. What have you guys do take massive action. As I always say, I want you guys to have the best and this is one other step you can take to get him more connected to your partner.