Ever since the Internet became a regular part of the human experience, cyberspace has been implicated in the break-up marriages. Part of this is because of Internet and cell phone secrecy. With every new online fad have come the stories of spouses wandering away from their marriage to a new cyber love interest. Media has spotlighted tales and trends of online affairs starting through chat rooms, MySpace, Second Life, websites and online forums. Is Facebook, the world’s fastest growing online social network, just another in a long list of cyber threats to your marriage?
“Having been active Facebook users for a while and experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly of participating in an online social network, we recognize there are potential threats to your relationship. But the ultimate threat is not the latest technology … it is the choices you make online and offline … in cyberspace and real life” (K Jason Krafsky).
To that we say AMEN, AMEN, and AMEN! And we include cell phone and computers and Internet use on that poor choices list.
Couples are fighting about Internet Usage
“Instead of just fighting about money or how frequently to have sex, couples are also fighting about time spent on Facebook or whether it’s OK to send a text during a romantic dinner or bring a laptop on a getaway weekend,” says marriage expert Howard Markman (from the book, Fighting for Your Marriage).
There’s an article written on a computer web site that tells of some of the divorces going on because of Facebook and other internet “community” choices that spouses are making. You might find it helpful to read what’s going on concerning this area of our married lives. Please click onto the following web site link to read:
Destruction of Marriages
Spouses are crying and screaming out because of the choices their partners are making, which are destroying their marriages. It’s almost at epidemic proportions. Most of these are good Christians who put a toe in the pool of temptation and then eventually dive in completely, afterward confessing, “I/we never meant for this to happen.” Yet it did and it does. And as a result innocent hearts are breaking.
This is a wake up call, we MUST protect our marriages from the sneakiness and secrecy that is going on, centering around Internet and cell phones, that is destroying relationships everywhere. We can’t ignore that which is so insidious and pervasive!
In the article, “Is Facebook a Cyber Threat to Your Marriage” Jason Krafsky tells how his own “home was devastated by sexual morality” when he was a young boy. It motivated him to set boundaries in his own life “to protect” his future marriage. He and his wife have live by those and additional principles to establish “personal boundaries as a part of everyday life with friends, co-workers, clients, and extended family members” to safeguard that which is most important to them.
Steve and I pledged years ago and work hard to do the same. Our marriage is too important to us and to God to do any less. You’ll find several articles on this web site in the Emotional & Physical Affair topic that can help you to do the same as well as recommended resources such as the book Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It by Jerry Jenkins.
In the above mentioned article, Jason and Kelli also wrote,
In Malachi 2 it talks about setting up a protective perimeter around the covenant relationship. ‘And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse. ‘I hate divorce’ says the God of Israel… ‘I hate the violent dismembering the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.’ So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat’ (The Message).
“One of the boundaries we set up as a perimeter around our relationship is that neither of us will be alone with someone of the opposite sex. We do this to avoid the appearance of impropriety or being caught in a potential he said/she said situation. We’ve heard too many stories of how an accusation (some true, some false) has tarnished a reputation or ended a career. Being active Facebookers, we’ve adopted a set of boundaries for our online time with Facebook friends.”
Cyber Threats to Marriage
Jason gives “Five Ways to Diffuse the Cyber Threats to Your Marriage.” Here is a portion of his list:
“(1) Set Safeguards With Your Mate –Discuss with your mate: What FaceBook friends and groups are inbounds or out-of-bounds?
(2) Don’t Post Negative Things About Your Spouse
(3) Choose Your Friends Wisely
(4) Play it Smart With Who You Talk About What With
(5) If in Doubt, De-friend Them.” Great boundaries!”
There are additional rules that can help you safeguard your marriage. Because as Chris Gersten states,
“The Internet can pose a significant threat to any relationship if misused. The Internet has led to a dramatic increase in use of pornography. It can become habitual, even addictive behavior and will have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. In addition, the Internet allows individuals to make contact with strangers and encourages inappropriate intimacy.”
View More Guidelines on Internet and Cell Phone Secrecy and usage
To read more and view some “rules” that can help couples “avoid the trauma that comes from discovering hidden relationships and porn use on the computer” please click onto the web site link to read:
In another article titled, “Our Top Dozen Do’s and Don’ts for Facebooking Couples” which Jason and Kelli Krafsky posted on their web site, they give the following list (with added details in their article):
“What Every Facebooking Couple Should DO to Protect Their Marriage:
• Create boundaries to protect yourself, your spouse and your marriage.
• Set your relationship status to Married and keep it that way.
• Update each other on your FaceBook Friends and Friend Requests.
• Share your username and password with one another.
• Make your spouse the topic of your Status Updates at least once a week.
• Talk offline about online issues.
And then there is:
What Every Facebooking Couple Should NOT DO to Protect Their Marriage:
(DON’T) Write cutting remarks or negative statements about your spouse.
(DO NOT) Friend exes, old flames, past flings, former crushes or anyone you’ve been intimate with in the past.
(DON’T) Lose track of how much time you spend on Facebook.
(DO NOT) Report that you or your spouse is out of town.
(DON’T) Have private Chat sessions with people of the opposite sex.
(DO NOT) Let Facebook be a distraction when you’re spending time with your mate.
As you look at the lists above most of these principles can be applied to other Internet and Cell Phone activities. “Create boundaries to protect yourself, your spouse and your marriage.” It’s the secrecy matter and poor choices that spouses are making, which threatens peace and sanctity in marriages today.
Secrecy is Easier
“Thanks to cell phones, we can always reach out and touch someone. But, is that touch a caress or a slap? When we need them, cell phones can literally be a lifesaver. At other times, they create an unwelcome interruption” (Lynn Jordan).
Isn’t that true? Cell phones can be a helpful or a disruptive communication tool. You can use them to connect with your spouse (where you call, text, or email each other to show you’re thinking about him or her). Cell phones can also become problematic and can become a device that causes you to disconnect with each other. Feelings such as “you aren’t paying attention to me” or “you prefer spending more time on your phone instead of with me” can arise.
We believe it’s true in the point Gary Sinclair raises,
“When did phone calls, inane comments on a website and updates on sports scores become so necessary and important? We live a lot of life as though we will miss something important and will be scarred forever.
“The biggest scars, however, will be those left in children and spouses where a cell phone became more important than they were in the eyes of those they love. We are hurting ourselves and our families when we let the mundane take precedence over the eternal.” (From the Safe At Home article, Putting Some Healthy Limits on Technology)
Keeping cell phones away from spouses
Some spouses keep cell phones to themselves, warning that they’re “off limits” to their mate (or they purchase them without letting their wife/husband know so secrecy and falling into or deliberately giving into sexual temptation is easier).
This type of behavior is a HUGE red flag that something is wrong in the marriage. If a spouse doesn’t have anything to hide, he or she won’t need to hide anything. Cell phone and computer privacy shouldn’t be an issue for a couple who are “one.” Jesus makes this point when he said,
“‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate'”(Matthew 19:4-6).
So you don’t “separate” that, which God joined together when you married, the following is good advice:
“There are many steps couples can take to shield their marriage from secrecy and infidelity, Mr [Willard] Harley told me. Couples should have each other’s cell-phone and e-mail information ‘at their disposal.’ If there has been infidelity problems, couples should review e-mails together before erasing them, he said. ‘Trust something that is earned; it is not to be assumed.'” (Cheryl Wetzstein, from the Washington Times article “Trust and the Kitchen Sink”)
Guard sacredness of sexual intimacy between spouses
Again, we refer to something Jason Krafsky (the author of the book Facebook and Your Marriage) wrote:
“Keep in mind the words from Hebrews 13, ‘Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex” (The Message). Facebook is becoming one of the most popular gathering places on the Internet. But it doesn’t have to be a threat to your marriage [and neither do cell phones]. Marriages are vulnerable to all kinds of online and real-life threats. This is because the couples fail to set up proper boundaries of protection and accountability.
“These principles can help you protect your most cherished relationship. Ultimately, it is up to you to make good decisions and wise choices. It’s important to have open lines of communication with your mate …whether you’re online or not.”
If you’re considering marriage, PLEASE discuss this issue NOW. Make sure put boundaries you put into place to protect your marriage. Marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment lived together with God. Make sure you’re uniting with an honorable partner who will openly work together with you in this mission.
Protect your marriage
If you’re married, bring things out into the open, and keep them there. Trouble grows in darkness and secrecy. It can be the enemy of our faith’s playground.
If your spouse WON’T work with you to protect your marriage, pray and keep asking God for wisdom. You do and will need the help and guidance of our Wonderful Counselor, the Holy Spirit.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!“ (Romans 15:5-6)
Cindy and Steve Wright