Marriage Missions International

Internet and Texting Rules for Couples

Photo credit: IntelFreePress / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: IntelFreePress / Foter / CC BY-SA

The Internet can pose a significant threat to any relationship if misused. The Internet has led to a dramatic increase in use of pornography, which can become habitual, even addictive behavior that will have a negative impact on your own relationship with your partner. In addition, the Internet allows individuals to make contact with strangers and encourages inappropriate intimacy. It can lead to both emotional and physical infidelity.

Because some people view online relationships as harmless, they engage in behavior they would never consider in a face-to-face relationship. Many marriages and relationships have broken up when one member of a couple discovers that his/her partner has been involved in a relationship online or regularly visits pornographic or other inappropriate websites.

Here are a set of rules that will help each couple avoid the trauma that comes from discovering hidden relationships and porn use on the computer:

• Share your password with your spouse

• For couples that own computers that require usernames/passwords, it may be best to have a single account/username for the couple.

• Offer to install web-tracking software to build trust. This device allows your partner to see every place you have visited on the net. This is particularly important if trust is an issue in a relationship. If trust has been violated, or one partner is prone to jealousy, then offering to install web-tracking software can help restore trust and reduce jealousy.

• Do not create additional email accounts to hide communications from your spouse.

• Make it clear to your spouse that he/she is welcome to look through your computer emails.

• Never visit pornography sites.

• Never visit personals sites. This includes sites like Craigslist Adult Services and other sites that are a cover for prostitution services.

• Do not visit open-ended chat-rooms. Only visit chat-rooms that are issue-specific on issues that you need help with, such as software problems. Most information can be found through bulletin or message boards or on sites that do not allow interaction between individuals.

Instant Messaging

• Make sure your spouse knows or is aware of everyone in your “buddy/friend” list or knows that she has access to the list at any time.

• Do not engage in IM conversations of a private or provocative nature.

• Do not search for prior boyfriends/girlfriends online.

Social Networking sites like Facebook, and MySpace are the exceptions. Former partners may contact you regardless of whether you initiate contact. In these situations it is always best to inform your partner and ask for their input/recommendation. This two-way communication and decision making process builds trust.

Social Networking

Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn/ are all very popular and it is likely that at least one person in a relationship will have an account. Rules to follow:

    1. Make sure to set your relationship status to “Married” to alert others that you are taken and post a picture of yourself and your spouse.
    2. Have a single account for a couple, e.g. JohnAndJane Doe@facebook/myspace.
    3. If each person wants their own account, make sure to share passwords.
    4. Tell your partner when you’ve added a friend of the opposite gender.
    5. Do not carry on private conversations with friends of the opposite gender via social networking sites.
    6. Place the family computer in an open place in your home. This reduces the temptation to browse adult-themed sites and engage in provocative conversations via computer. This is especially important when there are children in the home. Children should not be allowed access to the Internet unless they are in an area where parents can freely observe their activity.
    7. Designate specific times during the day when you should and should not use the computer for personal use.

This article was written by Chris Gersten, and was posted on the Internet, Wednesday, 09 December 2009 on the web site, famlibeta.com.

— ALSO —

For a list of Do’s and Don’ts, which can help you in your relationship with your spouse as it applies to texting each other, please click onto the Growthtrac.com web site link to read:

• TEXT FIGHTING

And then here’s one more blog, written by Maggie Reyes, that gives additional tips you might find helpful:

SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR MARRIAGE — How to Do it Right!

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Internet and Texting Rules for Couples”
  1. Marsha from United States says:

    Do you have advice of what to do if your pastor is a single woman and my husband is Corp sergeant (Salvation Army)? She is always calling or texting him about church. They also have band practice together every Friday. They’re together every Wednesday. I feel they’re together many days to discuss what they need to. I feel they don’t need to talk everyday but they say it’s all about church.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Hi Marsha, I’m very familiar with the Salvation Army Church. I/we have a great love for it –they do a LOT of good. We have family ties and personal ties with this denomination and I can’t say enough good about it. Marsha, I have no doubt that your husband is a good man and so is this female pastor. I have no doubt that they are well-meaning and that they love the Lord and want to serve Him fully. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t vulnerable to temptation. They might think that it could “never happen” to them, but I can tell you story after story after story of other ministry spouses and singles who once said the same thing, and yet it did. What started out as innocent with no attraction, sparked off in a totally different direction, much to their “surprise.”

      When I read what you wrote I was reminded of Judy Starr, and her husband Stottler, who had been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for a number of years and worked in The Jesus Film Project. They had a GREAT ministry going, traveling to various locations around the world —more than 40 countries —showing the Jesus film. In a Family Life Today (2-day) interview that I heard (based on her book, “The Enticement of the Forbidden” –no longer being published) Judy shares the story of how —in the midst of the ministry project of showing the Jesus film, throughout the Caribbean —she developed an emotional attraction for a sea captain. This was COMPLETELY out of character for her –especially since she loved the Lord, and her husband, who she described as a “good, godly man” and loved being involved in ministry. That’s what really struck me. Why Judy? Of all people… it should “never have happened” that she would fall like this. But she confesses that she got so drawn into this affair of the heart (which started out as innocent as can be) that she had come to the point where she “was considering giving up everything and staying in the Caribbean.” Here’s a link to the 2 part series, if you want to listen to it and/or read the transcripts: http://www.familylife.com/audio/series/series-featured-in-2012/the-enticement-of-the-forbidden.

      I’ll tell you the ending though… fortunately, a friend intervened, and it never happened that she abandoned her marriage and ministry. But she came close. MANY in ministry –pastors, missionaries, and such, as well as others, who love the Lord passionately, end up totally falling away. I can testify to this because we have received hundreds of emails, comments on the web site, and have heard many, many personal testimonies of those who have chucked it all away to go off with the “one they love” –someone who was not their spouse.

      The lesson for all of us here is to realize how even “innocent” ministry times of getting together (even through texting) can lead spouses to go places emotionally and many times physically, where they would NEVER have thought it was possible. If King David –a “man after God’s own heart” could fall, who can’t? It’s when we pridefully let our guard down, dismissing it as “not possible” that we’re most vulnerable. It’s amazing how crafty the enemy of our faith can be and how unpredictably our emotions can be enticed –to do things that “we never meant to happen.”

      Marsha, I don’t know if your husband will listen to what I’m writing here. Some won’t. And some will. I hope he will. But I can tell you that because of what we’ve seen, my husband Steve and I put up many “hedges” to guard our marriage. We have several articles posted on this web site that people can read, and we recommend additional resources to help others do so, as well. It’s just a matter of being wise –looking around, seeing what’s happening to others, and saying, “what makes me think that I’m so special that I can’t fall like they can?” It’s that stupid false sense of security that says, “it won’t happen to me.” But it does… WAY, WAY, WAY too often.

      I hope you can get through to your husband and help this pastor to realize that they have a bulls-eye on their personal lives and ministries, put there by the enemy of our faith. The enemy wants to take them down (along with others). It’s just plain wise to guard their hearts, their ministries, and marriage(s) by putting up a few boundaries, with each other, and with others who come along in the future. It’s good for them and good for others to see and implement themselves. I hope this can help in some way. I pray for you and for your husband, and for this single woman –that God helps you to proceed wisely, when it comes to matters like these –guard your marriage. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

  2. Angela from Canada says:

    My husband met a girl on a trip. They stayed in touch, at first briefly, then ever increasingly so. He kept me informed at first but as it progressed, he wouldn’t put his phone down anywhere and was on it constantly. I walked in on him one day and found part of a text where he was relating their chats to a song on the radio that keeps coming on when they are talking. The song is about taking a chance and falling in love. I felt it was inappropriate and called him on it. He said he was sorry and that there was nothing to worry about, that he didn’t even know the words to the song.

    I wanted to believe him but he continued to text her regularly even to the point that he would pick up his phone after we had been intimate and tell her he missed her. I confronted him again, even asking them to cut off communication. He keeps saying that he’s sorry but that I have trust issues and need to get over them, that he will talk to whomever he wants to and all I want to do is keep him from having any friends. My heart is breaking and I don’t know what to do.

    Just last night, I heard a message he had left her, once again referring to the song and how much he misses her. At one point, I texted her myself, asking her to stop the texting. Neither party respects my part in all of this -in fact they don’t think I have a part in it. I want to block her # from his phone but I also know that won’t fix anything and he can simply revert it. How can I still honour my husband but address this situation?

    • Rose from South Africa says:

      Angela, what your husband is doing is certainly not right. No matter what excuses he makes this secret contact of his can lead to your total lack of trust and ultimately your marriage. It is heart-breaking and disrespectful. I know as I suffered the same. My husband was in contact with an old girlfriend of his on face book. It was inappropriate and I begged him to stop. The face book contact became e-mails and from there daily sms’s and finally phone calls. Everything he did was in secret. The cell phone never left his side and passwords that had never been necessary came into play on the computer. I started checking up on him and that drove him even further away. According to him I had the trust issues he loved ME and I need not worry. I don’t know what to say to you but I feel your pain. I lost total trust and gave up. Even my prayers seemingly went unanswered. I obviously never reacted correctly because he has been gone and been in her arms for nearly three years now.

      I would very much like to hear from someone who is presently doing this to his/her spouse and from their perspective explain what they would like/expect us to do? What would they do if the shoe was on the other foot? Please help.

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