“I’m not that interested in ‘mass’ communications. I’m much more interested in what happens between this person and the one person watching. The space between the television set and that person who’s watching is very holy ground.” – Fred Rogers
The traditional family unit has been negatively hit from so many directions in our world in recent times. Now state and federal courts are, at a few homosexuals’ constant and indignant urgings, adding to the destruction of the traditional and healthy institution of marriage by passing legislation redefining marriage to allow same-sex couples to enter this institution. It completely shocks and amazes me how these educated and elected individuals can be party to the destruction of the central and so necessary human structure. But, alas, the members of traditional marriage have sadly and selfishly been part of the destruction of marriage, too, with spousal abuse, divorce, and infidelity. How can we possibly protect marriage when many of our own members do not seem to respect it?
Now, enter social media, the SmartPhone and all the other electronic hand-held gadgets that are supposedly making our lives more organized. Calendars, memo pads, apps out the ying-yang, games, exercise videos, the list goes on at the touch of a button in your hand. You can look up information in a split second, order books, tickets, reservations, check the weather, find your way through town, and play games online with people you don’t know, all at the press of a button or a call out to Siri. Convenient and simple, eh? Distracting? Maybe, depending on who you ask. Some say that modern technology has made our lives more complicated rather than organized and less stressed. How much information from the information highway does one need in a 24-hour period?
In all the talks and articles I’ve read, they mainly involve controlling or monitoring the children and young people in the family. Important as that is, however, the marriage has been affected by online activities as well. Now we have new friends, old acquaintances, school chums from way back, and even co-workers included in our lives at a more familiar level. Anyone of these “friends” can be contacted quickly and frequently without too much effort. So now, not only the children, but married couples are involved in separate, and very often unknown to each other, online communities and friendships. According to an article I read on Psych Central.com, many attorneys search Facebook primarily for infidelity evidence and inappropriate behavior meriting the onset of a divorce.
Physical affairs are one thing, but what might catch us off guard is the emotional affairs that take place online….innocent, right? NO! We are learning more and more about emotional affairs having an impact on today’s marriages and relationships on a very negative level. At neck-breaking speed, we can be “with” someone emotionally online and not think badly of it…..it’s just talking, right? No, it’s investing time away from the spouse, being more intimate emotionally with another and that will take it’s toll on the relationship by eventually becoming physical. I, personally, have seen this happen to a few friends, it is devastating!
So, how do we combat this new invader? By setting up online rules that both spouses will agree to.
– Trust is essential for good and healthy relationships, but once broken, it’s extremely difficult to regain. By having all passwords available to each other, this can really help keep things up and up with each other.
-Use best judgment in “friend” selections. People you probably shouldn’t be friends with online are unmarried friends and co-workers. Really, though, why do you want coworkers as friends anyway, you work with them….give it a rest off hours!
– Have an “off-line” time with family….turn the phone and computer off at night…..enjoy the people you are with! Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI talked about online evangelization, but that our online activities should not REPLACE our face to face relationships!
– And of course, be considerate of your spouse; if there is someone they are not comfortable with you being friends with online, by all means, respect their wishes and don’t friend them. No explanation is necessary, but if there is, you are married or in a relationship!
On a positive and personal note, my knight and I live far from family and Facebook has been great for us to catch up with those we love. Now we’re connected with family members we don’t get to see, but once a year, even from his cousin in Germany, how fun is that? We both have iPhones and have learned to text via the teens in the house, so we use our phones to check in and text throughout the day, “Hope your day is going well, love you!” He’s silly and sends me pictures of his lunch so I know what NOT to make for dinner…..and I usually get a heart and “how’s your day going? It’s a good feeling that we can use online and smartphones to our advantage in a good way.
The most important thing in the world is your family. Without them, life isn’t quite fulfilling, and we need to protect the traditional institution of marriage for our family, our society, and our future. Our online activity should reflect our priorities. There’s a great deal of great stuff online, but there is also a great deal of evil. Keep your shields up and profiles low.