Internet and Phone Secrecy in Marriage

Internet and Phone SecrecyAre 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)

Realize:

“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:

INTERNET and TEXTING RULES FOR COUPLES

RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AND FACEBOOK

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.

Also:

•  Update each other on your FaceBook Friends and Friend Requests.
•  Share your username and password with one another.

And:

•  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.

Also:

• DO NOT lose track of how much time you spend on Facebook.
• DO NOT report that you or your spouse is out of town.

Plus:

• 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 —

To help you, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below to do so:

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Comments

12 responses to “Internet and Phone Secrecy in Marriage

  1. (USA)  I thank God that you, Cindy and Steve, have listened and responsed to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to create this website. It has been a great help to me in the past and today it has been “Confirmation” for me in my spirit because I am dealing with this exact issue, not the facebook but the cell phone. I will continue to deal with my issuse through prayer.

    This #77 message is right where I am today, I could almost shed a tear. But I am encouraged because I KNOW the truth of the Word and the fact that no matter how one’s spouse tries to make you believe that there is nothing going on that the TRUTH will prevail and the God has my back. I just pray my husband who is already ensnared, comes to repentance. Thank you. Thank you so much and keep up the GOD work. Be Blessed.

  2. (USA)  Someone from our couples ministry team forwarded this to me and I just forwarded to everyone on my contact list. As a minister’s wife and a speaker on women’s issues, the amount of cases of emotional affairs nurtured by technology that I’m privy to, seems to grow by the minute. This article is excellent. Such great advice that I am also implementing in my own life. Keep up the great work. You are helping to heal generations!

  3. (S. AFRICA)  This article is so true. Secrecy on the internet and cell phone does cause DIVORCE. My husband started “chatting” on Face Book to an old girlfriend he had not seen or heard from in 40 years. One thing has led to another. Although she lives in a different country they have now gotten together and at the moment he is “holidaying” with her in New Zealand. After 35 years of marriage he wants a divorce.

    Satan is hard at work. He uses these chat sites and modern technology to his benefit. Stay away from casual flirting on these chat sites such as Face Book. They lead to temptation and if not controlled will lead to the destruction of your marriage. If you have nothing to hide you WILL HIDE NOTHING. Please take this warning seriously.

  4. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Thank you for this article. My husband is currently hidding his cell phone and all records relating to his cell phone from me, because he regards this as his private matters. Previously I saw messages of a romantic nature to a friend of ours and ever since that day I am not allowed to touch his phone. However, I am praying that this message will open his eyes. God Bless!

  5. (USA) Good information. How about giving our spouses our cell phone at any time and allowing them to check our most recent calls, our contacts, our most recent sent text messages? Keep up the great work.

  6. (NIGERIA)  I get articles from Cindy and Steve regularly and this one is very helpful. I just subscribed to facebook. My contribution is that we all must tread with caution no matter the environment. The word of God must be our guiding principles- Remember Psalm 119:105. A partner who will cheat in facebook will cheat in church, office, home, even right in your presence. I will rather we turned to God in prayer.

  7. (UNITED STATES)  As I said in another discussion about internet porn and marriage, I have watched my husband change into a person I don’t even recognize and one of those changes has been his attitude toward marriage and one of his big issues is his privacy. He never has believed in looking through my personal stuff like my purse or anything and feels there are just some things that are private.

    People are now regarding cell phones and their lap top computers like their most personal property and my husband is one of them. He used to be about us being one and having no secrets and now I feel like this is a friendship with benefits instead of a marriage where we are supposed to be ONE. I am really struggling with his privacy issues and my question is: We all have personal items in our home apart from items that we share, where is the line with married couples and privacy? He feels I am invading his privacy by looking at his things, am I?

    Personally, I feel like if you are not doing anything that you shouldn’t be doing this would not be an issue. I have no problem with sharing all my stuff with him, he is my husband and I have nothing to hide.

    Another question: We get along great as long as I am not looking at his browser history on his computer. Should I just leave it alone, like what I don’t know won’t hurt me? Am I better off not knowing, if it effects me and our relationship for days at a time? I find it almost impossible to live with and knowing completely stresses me out but I also find it impossible to go around in the dark.

    1. Hi Lisa, How sad I am for you and your husband that he thinks that “guarding one’s heart” and your marriage relationship is an invasion of personal property. If he wanted “privacy” why did he get married? He could have done all this without your heart and feelings to think about, if he would have remained single. Isn’t marriage about two becoming one in body, spirit, and the direction of their lives? It’s not that you can’t have individuality in marriage, but not at the expense of the other spouse’s peace of mind and security in the relationship.

      I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every person I’ve heard who eventually gets tangled up in an unfaithful relationship, that says, “but I didn’t mean to…” “but we didn’t mean to…” “It just happened…” (as if that makes it ok after the other spouse’s heart is broken.) EVERYONE is vulnerable to “falling” into temptation — especially when they’re left to their own ways in thinking “privacy” is just fine and dandy in these areas of getting together with anyone and everyone… “to talk.” It’s the OTHER person who is the invader into your home and your relationship with your husband — not you.

      I highly recommend that you pick up Jason Krafsky’s book, Facebook and Your Marriage. I put a link into the title so you can see what it’s about (& possibly purchase it). I would HIGHLY recommend you read it… especially before you talk to your husband again. It might help you to better verbalize your concerns. We also have additional articles on friendships and such on our web site that it might be good to read.

      “Fighting” for proper boundaries to be put into place to protect your marriage in a wise and respectful manner is appropriate here. Being cautious is better than being naive and stupid. I believe prayer, reading what you can to proceed in an educated manner, and approaching your husband when it’s best (NOT during a “H.A.L.T.” time when he’s Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired), is much wiser than turning your common sense off and looking the other way while your husband is playing with relationship fire — one that could burn both of you. You may ruffle some feathers right now, but in the end, you’ll protect your marriage from MUCH worse problems, if you do this now. I pray you’re successful in safe-guarding your marriage. It’s an unfriendly world out there — it’s one that hurts rather than supports marriage. Be wise. I wish you well!

  8. (S.A)  Anything that has to be done in “secrecy” shows that you are on the wrong path. When you have to refrain from being open and honest in ALL aspects of your life danger lurks. It will only be a matter of time before your secret will be revealed and the very ones you love will be hurt. “Those that have nothing to hide – hide nothing”. Safe-guard your marriages and relationships by using (secrecy) as a barometer between right and wrong. True Godly living, happiness and a life filled with God’s richest blessings will be your reward.

  9. (KENYA) Hi and thanx for your good articles. I am struggling with the same and have done all I can but at the moment we agree to do some changes like say, to be open to each other, eg knowing each others passwords for emails, phone etc. He will agree and then he goes ahead and opens another email address, gets new Sim cards in order for him to continue with his bad habits. He always, or seems to be remorseful, but then continues. Please advise because I am so fed up though I am still trusting that God will do something about the same, but as a human being I feel like giving up. We have 2 beautiful children, a boy and girl, and have been married for 8 years. Please reply soonest possible for am very desperate and also pray for me. Be blessed.

  10. I’m not comfortable that my husband gets upset if I’m looking at his phone or when he clicks out of a message quickly when I’m near and then gets mad at me telling me to go renew my mind😢

    1. Marriage is all about transparency–not secrecy. Be careful because you don’t want to accuse him of things that he may not be doing. You are walking a narrow line here. But whenever a spouse is acting like you describe… it would be good to keep your eyes open. I recommend you read the article “Privacy VS Secrecy in Marriage.” You can find it at: https://marriagemissions.com/privacy-vs-secrecy-marriage/.