It is not a rhetorical question, because there is an answer. It is not a hopeless case, because there is a way out. We asked a group of women what they do when their husbands over-use their phones, and techniques varied from “nothing at all”, to “throw out his charger”, or even “change his phone password”. Creative as they are, all the previous suggestions sound like something you’d do slightly before you launch a war.
Whilst you can’t and shouldn’t share every single moment with your partner, you must maintain a virtual space where your interests and habits can intersect, something that requires effort from both ends
1) Meet him halfway through
It is TV time; your husband is back from work and you are spending time on the coach. These two/three hours before he goes to bed could be the only time you get to share with him on a casual mid-week day. If you decide to watch your favorite Turkish series, he’ll end up holding his phone and if you sacrifice your TV time for him to watch a football match, you’ll end up scrolling down Facebook. Is there hope for common grounds? Yes! Let him teach you about football, tell him you want to know what a left-back is or why the last play counts as a foul. Walk into his circle of interests but don’t forget to walk him into yours as well. Tell him all about Hareem El Sultan and why you are team Nahed Douran and not Hoayam. You don’t have to be interested in the exact same things, but if something consumes a lot of your time, make sure to involve your partner in it.
2) Develop new rituals
Having your very own family rituals and sticking to them could book you some time together without even noticing. Decide that every night before you go to bed you’ll share how your day was with the other person, read a bedtime a story, a joke or even count your blessings. This is always a nice way to end the day instead of having each one on one side of the bed holding his/her phone.
3) Come up with your table rules
Together construct some table rules. Whether you have kids or not, there should be rules that govern breakfast, lunch and dinner times so no one feels left out. Of course, one is allowed to take an important call or read an urgent text but if it is scrolling down Facebook or liking an Instagram post then it can wait. You don’t always have to have something interesting to discuss, even comfortable silence with your partner has the power to refresh your connection.
4) Talk about it
You are out having dinner with your friends, telling stories, laughing at jokes and you want your husband to be more involved in conversations but all he ever does is stare at his phone-screen. Wait until the outing is over and talk to him about the actual reason. In most cases, confronting the other person bridges your way to the real issue without you bothering to jump into your own conclusions. It could be about the group of people you hang out with, and his level of engagement and comfortability around them. It could be the kind of things you do when you are out or the places you go to. If you always force him into gatherings with your friends and family all the time, you can’t ask too much of him. Try to maintain balance.
5) Decide on penalties
This is where you unleash creativity, this is all about the fun! At home, it could be a jar where he has to pay 5 pounds whenever he breaks any rule (but the same goes for you as well), and if outdoors, a light bit of public humiliation could be the punishment. You can pick a crowded spot and make him go down on one knee and propose to you all over again, (who knows if you’ll say yes this time?) Whatever penalty both of you decide on, is one the two of you must do whenever you bend any straight lines. This helps lighten up the mood and makes it feel less like you are parenting him.