Maybe you already know how the stress of news could be ruining your marriage. Maybe you’d like something to share with a friend who could use some encouragement in that space today! I bring you a guest post from our friend, Kyle Hargrove, our favorite Texas Licensed Professional Counselor who is a frequent guest on What to Say & How to Say It…
An old post from Dear Abby:
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend watches the 24-hour news channels and seems to be obsessed with them. It is hurting our relationship and affecting her happiness. She’s constantly worried about national and international politics, global warming, the economy, health care, crime, etc. She neglects herself and her family. She seems agitated, anxious and depressed by all the news. Is this a disease? How can I help her get off this habit? What should I do? — MISERABLE IN MINNESOTA
DEAR MISERABLE: Your girlfriend appears to have become a news junkie. She’s over stimulated and
hooked on the adrenaline rush she gets from channel surfing from one tragedy, outrage and horror to the next. While this may not technically be a disease, it is exhausting and depressing.
When the same thing started happening to me, I fixed it by turning off the news and going cold turkey. After a four-day news blackout, I felt like my buoyant self again. Now I ration my exposure. Please share this with your girlfriend because it’s what I’m recommending for her. (1)
Holy Lions and Tigers and Bears . . . !
Oh, my. For those of us that can, try to think back oh, at least a couple of decades – maybe three. The news; it came in the morning rolled up on the driveway, and took 20 minutes of our evenings, minus the weather and sports. And for the most part, that was pretty much it.
From the Psych Central website, below are listed the top 10 stressors among American adults:
Death of a spouse
Death of a close family member
Major personal injury or illness
Being fired or laid off
If you take just this list (and you can think of dozens more), doesn’t it stand to reason that there are already enough stressors in our lives than to add the bazillion things we might ingest as we obsess over the local, national, or world news? A compilation of surveys states that on average, American adults watch, read, or listen to almost three hours of news every day! And that’s just weekdays.
We are blitzed by the news of our world. Regardless of whether dog bites man, or man bites dog (which do you think is likely to generate greater coverage?) most of us continually watch the story unfold before us. We constantly hear that we are living in the world of “A 24-hour news cycle.” At best, it seems that it is a 60-Minute cycle, but I bet you a subscription to Fox News it’s fast-closing-in on a 60-second cycle.
Have you read from God’s Word, Cast your cares upon CNN, and it will sustain you? or . . .NBC is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble?
Instead, we are encouraged in Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Life is hard work.
So are relationships.
Isn’t that enough?
Robert Fulghum writes, “Life is lumpy. But a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same lump. One should learn the difference.” (3) His encouragement is to learn to separate crisis from inconvenience. The media would shrivel and die if we all chose to learn that lesson. Just think about the lumps of this world that fill our minds, and burden us with anxiety: Bombings, suicides, school massacres, murder/suicides in families, tsunamis, pandemics, recession, depression . . .
Can you imagine what goes through a child’s mind when they are watching a never-ending video loop following the latest school shooting? And what remains in that mind? The images? The sounds? Like a smartphone app, they stay open in the background of the mind, draining the emotional and security batteries day in, and day out, until there’s just nothing left . . . except for fear. It’s doubtful that in and of itself, watching or listening to the latest news would be considered sinful behavior.
But what are we ignoring while we do so much of it?
Three hours a day means 90 hours a month.
That’s more than two work weeks.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy1:7)
What about you? How does your exposure to media (I hesitate to really call it, “news”) impact your relationships? What have you done that works? What thoughts do you have about this?
Would love to hear from you today!
(1) The Buffalo News; April 22, 2014
(3) Robert Fulghum, “Uh-Oh” (Some Observations From Both Sides of the Refrigerator
Door). Published 1991.
PS from Nina…
If you want to join people combatting the culture and learning what works in relationships, hop over to our website and grab our free pdf, 5 Tools to STOP Walking on Eggshells – and start changing your relationships today!