So, having determined the motivation, the common ground and ground rules, you have to work out a way of making it happen. You have to look at each of the shortcomings and things you want to fix and work out the root cause and deliberately change all the contributing factors.
Looking through my list of changes – its very much focused on me giving up control, taking on responsibility as directed, respecting and obeying my wife’s authority and actually letting go of power and control which, when examined hard in the cold light of day, doesn’t make me (and as a knock on – her) happy. Looking at my contributing factors and behaviours, came up with the following.
I spent a lot of time just noodling on my computer. It became a thing. And a source of significant frustration for my wife and conflict for us. I worked at it, but it was too easy to slip back into bad habits.
So, to fix this, like a naughty child, I had to totally rewrite rules for my computer access.
- I set up parental controls and content filtering plus with a 9pm curfew on all my devices and ensured my wife has the passwords to the restrictions
- I set up parental controls, limited internet usage and content filtering and a 9pm curfew on my computer. My wife has the admin account password and I cant change the settings.
- I set up a parental control app on my phone that allows me limited timed use of most apps and a 9:30pm bedtime. My wife has the password to the app and it blocks settings so cant be uninstalled.
All this sounds pretty severe, but once it was set up, it works perfectly. The idea is that this limits time and access to my devices and means my evenings and weekends have significantly more free time and reduces the frustration experienced by my wife.
Sure, I could use the computer and play a game, but the internet wont work till 2pm on the weekend and 7pm during the week and I’m burning through my allotted time for every minute it’s on – so better to leave it powered off, step away and wait till I have the time to use it.
My ipad and ipod are the same – no internet until 2pm at weekends and 7pm during the week which makes them unappealing to noodle on apart from reading and listening to music.
My phone – well, all exciting apps are timed, so yes, I can check facebook, but not for long.
In locking myself out of my devices, I have unlocked vast amounts of time (7 hours more free time each day at weekends and at least 2 hours each day during the week), blocked bad habits and got myself back out into the house, no longer responding to the chime of messenger or the latest meme on facebook. Most importantly, I have removed the source of frustration for my wife.
More in Practical Application – part 2.