There’s no doubt about it—for many people, life seems to revolve around the smartphone. It’s their connection to friends and family. It’s their source of information and entertainment and distraction. It’s what they use to read and listen and watch. It’s their phone, their camera, their map, their appointment calendar, their address and phone book, their television and radio and newspaper, their e-reader, and even their flashlight.
I’ve written before about the challenges this growing smartphone dependency poses to marriage and family relationships. But there are also many opportunities to communicate with each other in creative ways. For example, I enjoy using the smartphone to take photos when my family gathers in Arkansas and sending them to my parents and sister in Oregon.
FamilyLife now offers a free smartphone app that helps you connect creatively with your spouse and family. It’s called “My FamilyLife” and can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play.
My FamilyLife offers access to the most recent episodes of FamilyLife Today® radio broadcasts, plus a collection of articles and feeds to marriage devotions. But the app aspires to be much more—a tool that couples can use to improve communication and cultivate their marriage relationship. Some of the programs with the My FamilyLife app include:
- Sparks: short-term (7- to 14-day) challenges for helping couples grow in communication, conflict resolution, romance, date nights, and more.
- Daily Prayer Moments: focused guidance for effectively praying as a couple.
- Relationship Check-In: weekly assessment to track how you’re feeling about specific aspects of your marriage.
One example is the “14-Day Challenge” for husbands and wives. Each day you spend about five minutes focusing on something to strengthen your marriage. On one day, for example, you’re asked, “What’s one way you could serve your wife today? Think of a chore and do it for her. (Some suggestions: vacuuming, cleaning her car, cooking dinner.) And if, for some reason, she doesn’t thank you or appreciate it, that’s okay. God sees you serving your wife and is proud of you for trying.”
It’s short and simple, but even small gestures like this can make a big difference in your relationship. On another day, you watch a short video with Dennis and Barbara Rainey about appreciating the differences between you and your spouse. After the video, you’re instructed to “write about one thing that’s different between you and your spouse. Maybe it’s a difference in personality, or gifting, or how he or she likes to be shown love … Then write a short prayer thanking God that He made your mate different than you. After that, tell your spouse you’re grateful for that difference.”
The My FamilyLife app is starting to starting to attract some encouraging reviews from married couples. One user wrote, “It’s become a daily thing for us to do something that’s going to keep our marriage working … It gives us ideas on what to do for each other and assignments and it’s something we can both look forward to doing together.”
A new addition to the My FamilyLife app is “Our Family’s Year in Review.” It helps you record significant events and experiences from 2014 in categories like “Marriage” and “Fun,” reflect on how God worked in your lives, and make some plans for 2015. Capturing these memories is a powerful way to strengthen the bond of marriage and family, and it gives parents a great opportunity to pass on a godly legacy to their children.
Our analytics show that over half of you are reading this Marriage Memo email on your smartphones. For you, My FamilyLife is a great opportunity to put the principles you learn into practice.