It’s no secret that social media can have a dark side. A counselor friend of ours told us that of the couples he meets with who have had affairs, 90% began through contact via social media. In a report by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81% of their member attorneys saw an increase in the use of evidence from social networking websites. And a University of Austin study found that users of social media are twice as likely to think about leaving their spouse.
Dating websites and websites designed to help people have “discreet” affairs (read: adultery) abound. Unsolicited “follows” on Twitter from porn sites troll the Internet. At Build Your Marriage we regularly monitor, report, and block those groups that try to connect with our Twitter feed and you should do the same!
We are thankful for social media. We seek to use if for redemptive purposes in the marriages we are privileged to reach. And yet there has to be a strong call to couples everywhere to put measures in place that will protect our hearts from the relentless temptations the Enemy places before us.
In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul lists a string of temptations and then writes, “…flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:11b-12a) These are good words to apply to areas of struggle–including temptations on social media.
Here are four ways to build boundaries around your social media usage so that you can protect your marriage. At the end we will provide a link to an earlier post on “The 10 Commandments for Social Media and Marriage.”
1. No contact
Make the decision not to contact former love interests. Don’t even search them. You don’t need to know about past attractions. Making this kind of contact is like striking a match and seeing how close you can hold the flame to gasoline. It will blow up into a flame that will burn you and others around you. Flee!
2. Share passwords
Share your password(s) with your spouse. Give full access to your social media accounts and also to your phone. You have nothing to hide and it builds trust in your marriage.
You have the choice to be offended and scared when your spouse browses your activity or at peace and confident. Be glad when your spouse DOES checks your phone or your computer history. When they see your right choices online they will grow in their trust and confidence in you.
3. Post with purity
Don’t flirt or use sexual innuendos in your posts. This isn’t honoring to God or to your spouse. In addition, it can attract romantic or sexual interest from the opposite gender and threaten the purity of your marriage.
4. Limit exposure
Set a time limit for how long you will be on social media each day. You may have to exercise some discipline here. Set a timer or ask your spouse to help you track your time. This will protect you from exploring to see who else might be “out there” to connect with you.
Click here for the link to the “10 Commandments….” Be vigilant to protect your marriage as you use social media, and you will be taking proactive steps to build your marriage!