Over the past few years I have started to see a trend. I’m sure many of you have. If you haven’t, I’m pretty sure you live in a hole.
The world we live in is filled with screens. Everywhere.
Every where you look are screens, and the little ones in our hands are the worst! I’m talking about your phone. However, I can’t life without mine anymore, heaven forbid I actually know where I’m going without my GPS. Thank goodness for WAZE!
It also holds my synced calendar that I share with the hubs. And pretty much everything else that I need to get along with my day, business, and life.
However all these screens have become a real problem.
A few months ago now, I started to notice a really scary trend happening in our house. On the nights that Jason and I were together after we put the kids to bed (which is not a lot due to both of our jobs), we would settle in to our spots on the couch, maybe catch up on our day, turn the TV on, and find one of our shows or watch a movie. Then, more often than not, one of us would fall asleep (usually me), or one or both of us would be on another device at the same time.
As much as we think that this was spending time together because we were both in the same room, watching the same thing… it’s not. There is no communication happening, no eye to eye contact and most definitely no engagement with each other, especially when you’re too busy engaging with whatever else is on your screen, like Facebook or Instagram.
So, I knew that our 10 year anniversary trip was coming up in February. We would be spending 7 full days alone on an island knowing no one else. And I wanted so badly to be able to enjoy time together without a screen. Without the comfort of it.
I don’t know about you, but I so badly want to have a GREAT marriage. A marriage that is healthy and strong. Not just a good one, but a GREAT one! I have chosen to live the rest of this life with this man and I want to know everything about him. I want to soak him up as much as possible and cut out the junk that’s getting in the way.
So for the month of January leading up to our trip we decided to go screen-free for the nights that we were together at home. The first night was honestly a little weird. We both just looked at each other with that look of “now what” after we put the kids to bed. However, we ended up giving each other back massages and talking for hours! Come on now, you know that sounds amazing!! I even learned things about Jason’s trip to Thailand that I had never heard before. Stories about his adventures there that had somehow gotten lost in our every day life. I want to hear all of my husbands stories so much more than any show or movie out there.
Some nights we snuggled up together with our books in bed, or just talked with a glass of wine, but after the first week of no screens, it got easier.
Then one night when Jason was gone for the evening I sat down for some “me” time after the kids were down and found myself totally turned off by the idea of turning on the TV. So, I picked up my book and started to read.
If you’re like me you probably have a list of books or a stack that you have been wanting to read that you keep putting off. We have all the excuses in the world, right? “I don’t have time” though is the biggest one.
What woman has time to read? We have jobs, families, friends, house work, cooking, shopping, planning, a social life and so much more to get done! But wait, how much time are we actually spending watching TV or being on a screen? Now, take that time out and replace it with all those books you have wanted to read. Or insert your own things you have been wanting to do.
Since starting the no TV challenge in January of this year I have read… 7 BOOKS!!! SEVEN! Seven books in 3 months!!!! That’s more books than I can even say I read in college. And they have all been for pleasure. Books that people have recommended to me and I always said “I don’t have time”. But really, I wasn’t making it a priority. I was filling my time with Netflix or, dare I say, The Bachelor… Which I didn’t watch this last season for the first time in over 8 years! And guess what, I didn’t miss it.
When I sit and think about my favorite memories with Jason, I don’t think about all the shows we have binge watched together. I think about one of my favorite nights that we stayed up really late talking on our porch, we completely lost track of time getting lost in each other. Or the nights we creep into our room and spend the evening in bed. When it comes to time with my kids, one of my favorite recent memories is playing an impromptu game of Pictionary in the kitchen for hours one night! It’s reading to them, having loud dance parties in the kitchen (or on the deck when it’s warm), watching our baby boy figure things out or chase his sisters around. None of it has to do with any kind of screens.
Jason and I have been closer than ever, have had better communication, and I am so glad that we can now be in silence together, yet not get weirded out by it. For those of you ladies reading this thinking… “Krista, you’re crazy- my husband would never go for this” I promise you he will because usually it means more time together in the bedroom. Wink Wink!!! When you start making each other the priority instead, you come back to the center that set you on fire.
We only get this one life, this short period in time and I don’t want to spend it looking at a screen. This doesn’t mean that we will never watch TV again. Just last night we caught the end of the Wild game together! It just means that we are more clear about the role we want it to have in our life.
I read a quote today from the book I’m reading that said “live each day as if you are terminal, because you are” ~ The Broken Way
We are all losing time everyday. And we are the ones choosing how to fill it. So, no more excuses about time. Every excuse you make is just that, an excuse. What will you choose to make a priority?
Start with just a week of no TV in the evening, no screens after 4pm, see how it feels. Fill your time with the things you haven’t had “time” for. Then, if that works, try 2 weeks, then 3, then 4 and so on. I promise you won’t remember the last time you turned that thing on. And this can be any screen. Your phone, the video games, the TV, tablet, whatever it is for you.
I want to encourage you in this. I know it wont be easy- a good change never is.
The books I have read since January…
Present Over Perfect – By: Shauna Niequist
Chasing Slow – By: Erin Loechner
The Magnolia Story – By: Chip and Joanna Gaines
Nothing to Prove – By: Jennie Allen
Uninvited – By: Lysa TerKeurst
Wild and Free – By: Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan
The Broken Way – By: Ann Voskamp
If you have any great book suggestions for me, let me know! I am writing them all down in the “to read” notes on my phone! I highly recommend all of the books that you see here.
I have been loving this TV-free life. I am currently searching for the perfect piece of art to replace the TV in our main living room. I am totally serious!
I want to find comfort in the quiet; in the places that we are called to seek out each others company. I want the voices of those around me to be the loudest. That being my husband’s, then my kids, and in the super quiet of the mornings when I am all alone, I want that voice to be the one of my maker. He can only speak when we are willing to listen. I think I have learned so much in all this. In this busy screen-filled world that we have found ourselves in. And that is the other theme that’s breathing into us all. Like a slow breeze that you just realized was there. We are hungry for something quieter, something slower. Full of less noise, a slower speed and much deeper relationships. I pray that theme will soon take over before it’s too late and we all look like the humans from the movie WALL-E.