Are you and your spouse conflicting over the issue of Internet and phone secrecy and usage? If you are, you’re one couple among millions all over the world.
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 phones, computers, tech devices, and Internet use on that poor choices list. We need to guard our marriages in this technological world. This includes being especially careful as to how much time and energy we choose to spend upon these tools.
Fighting about Internet Usage and Phone Secrecy
“Psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage counselors, and divorce attorneys know that addictions frequently contribute to marital stress and to the termination of relationships. This new addiction to technology distracts couples from communicating with one another and creates emotional distance between spouses in the same way that an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or shopping can help to ruin a marriage.
“To make matters worse, some people are addicted to their phones as well as alcohol, gambling or drugs. Furthermore, when a spouse is on his or her phone constantly, it can create suspicion and harm the kind of trust that is a foundation of a healthy marriage.” (From the article, “Divorce Tips: Your Cell Phone Can Ruin Your Marriage”)
In the same way, here’s another problem that married couples are dealing with:
“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)
If you put “Internet or Facebook divorces” into your search engine, you will find numerous articles that tell of the damage that poor social media choices are causing in marriages.
So, given the “fact” that this is happening, here are several questions and a statement for you to prayerfully consider:
“How does technology play into your private time with your spouse? Phones? Computers? TV? Do these add or detract from your time together? Like anything else, you need to make wise choices. …Give thought to these items and make sure they’re a plus not a minus.” (Lori Byerly)
“Technology is a useful servant but it is also a dangerous master.” (Christian Louis Lange)
Destruction of Marriages
Please, please, please consider this a wake up call. We MUST protect our marriages from the sneakiness and foolishness that is going on, concerning the Internet, cell phone secrecy and addictive behavior. They are destroying relationships everywhere. And we just can’t ignore this!
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 marriage. He and his wife have established “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. We encourage you to do so, as well.
Protect Your Marriage
Steve and I have worked hard over the years to do this in our life together. Our marriage is too important to us and to God to do any less. You’ll find several articles in the Emotional & Physical Affair topic that can help you to do the same, along with recommended resources such as the book Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It written by Jerry Jenkins.
Concerning social media matters, Jason and Kelli Krafsky also wrote:
In Malachi 2 it talks about setting up a protective perimeter around the covenant relationship. And what does God 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
In another article, Jason Krafsky also gives “Five Ways to Diffuse the Cyber Threats to Your Marriage”:
(1) Discuss with your spouse: What FaceBook friends and groups are inbounds or out-of-bounds?
(2) Choose your friends wisely.
(3) Play it smart with who you talk about personal matters.
(4) If in doubt, de-friend them!”
To view additional guidelines to help “avoid the trauma that comes from discovering hidden relationships and porn use on the computer” we encourage you to read the following:
And then to help you even further, Jason and Kelli Krafsky wrote an important list (given in their article, “Our Top Dozen Do’s and Don’ts for Facebooking Couples”) to implement:
“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:
• DO NOT 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.
• DO NOT lose track of how much time you spend on Facebook.
• DO NOT report that you or your spouse is out of town.
• DO NOT 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. Above all, “Create boundaries to protect yourself, your spouse and your marriage.” It’s the secrecy matter and poor choices that spouses are making, which especially threatens the peace and sanctity in marriages today.
Phone 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 by calling, texting, or emailing each other. But phones can also become problematic. They can cause 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.
Have you thought about the following?
“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 we’re hurting our families when we let the mundane take precedence over the eternal.” (Gary Sinclair, from the article, “Putting Some Healthy Limits on Technology”)
Damage of Phone Secrecy
Some spouses keep cell phones to themselves. They warn that they’re “off limits” to their mate. Or they perpetuate phone secrecy by purchasing them without letting their wife/husband know.
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. To address this problem more in depth, here’s a linked article to read if phone secrecy or privacy is an issue in your marriage: PRIVACY VS SECRECY IN MARRIAGE.
Phone secrecy and Internet 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)
Here’s some great advice so you don’t “separate” that, which God joined together when you married:
“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 have been infidelity problems, couples should review e-mails together before erasing them. Trust is 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. Do this whether you’re online or not.”
If you’re considering marriage, PLEASE discuss this issue NOW. And make sure put boundaries you put into place to protect your marriage. Marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment lived together with God. Do what you can to openly work together with your spouse in this mission.
Protect your marriage
Finally, if you are married, bring things out into the open. And then 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 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
— ADDITIONALLY —
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