If you are reading this, you are most probably online. It’s not even a probability, it’s a fact: You are online. So let me throw the spanner in the works, have you checked on your spouse since you left the house?
Have you called home to see if your child or children are well?
Have you at least known if your spouse got to the office well, without mishaps, tire bursts, police harassment, being bullied on traffic by public vehicles, have you?
Well, you have my permission to hit the pause button or log out and call your spouse and say “I love you, you mean so much to me.”
Today we begin to ask why. Why is social media so addictive? Why do we seem to smile so hard, and our hearts pound out loud, when our pictures get the “revolutionary likes?”
Why can’t we put our phones down and simply enjoy the moment and the wonderful connections we have around us? Why do we have the compulsion to scroll, check and recheck what others are doing? Why can’t couples just go back to staring at each other’s eyes and fiddling each other’s fingers simply because they are soaked in “their own bubble?”
See, one of the lessons our little one has taught us is give attention to detail.
To enjoy the little things around us and simply soak in the blessings we have one. Children have a way of reminding us what the world robs us every day. It’s not a wonder that Jesus said, for us to inherit the Kingdom of heaven, we need a childlike faith. – Matthew 18:3.
One that simply trusts, enjoys and is super grateful for the little.
Recently, we made our umpteenth visit to the National park. It was quite refreshing watching our little one say “Mooooommmm, dddaaaaaadddd. See a yaaaayonnnn ie. (A lion).” As we walked around, we met another couple only that something was quite uncanny about them. My husband was quick to speak it out and he said, “Hunnie, we need God, see, he’s on phone, the wife is on phone and the two sons are on their tablets, they could have just stayed home. It makes no difference.”
It’s true, over and over the sons kept tripping over stones and unearthed roots. They were out, with the intention of bonding perhaps, yet they were all on phones. Physically present but emotionally absent.
Do you reckon such marriages or relationships?
We need to remember that social media at the very basic level is about relationships. God created us for relationships and through them, we add meaning to our lives. Houses, dresses, fancy vacations are all just but additives to what God intended for us from the onset.
He made us for intimacy. We draw to Him to know him. Knowledge of each other is what so may relationships and marriages are missing.
Remember a house is built through wisdom and in understanding it is established. – Proverbs 24:3
Social media is good at telling you about others, but to know them, there has to be another step – engage intimately to know the person.
Therefore, God created a woman because he saw Adam’s loneliness.
Dogs, cute Chihuahuas and pretty poodles could not satisfy that hunger to belong. Hence he made Adam, Eve. Immediately after snapping out of the deep sleep God had put him, he burst into a wonderful doxology overflowing with praise from the wells of his being.
She was the bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. She was called ‘woman,’ for out of man she was taken – Genesis 2:23.
It is not a sin to want to belong or crave to be linked to another being who gives meaning to what already exists – but that need could as well span out of control.
Then comes the need to be affirmed by those very relationships one has established. That validation drives high on hormones, and that can get quite addictive if not checked.
Ask yourself this, why do some people feel so depressed whenever their post gets a few likes or shares? Why do others feel “loved” when those likes hit a certain set target? Simple, it’s all in the “feel good” hormones. Researchers say that’s it’s like getting addicted to cocaine or cigarette smoking. The more you indulge, the stronger the compulsion gets.
Others are driven by voyeurism, comparison and trying to see how a certain person is doing vis-à-vis them. It brings them great pleasure if they seem to be doing a scale lower than them.
Others are driven by exhibitionism. The attention one draws to themselves creates a certain sense of gratification.
Others are driven by FOMO. The fear of missing out on the latest gossip, the latest fall out, the latest fashion trends and anything that seems captivating at least to them.
Unfortunately, in bid to get it all or have all the latest gossip around, we are creating a pathology. Human relationships suffer. We have neglected making good use of face to face talks and prefer phubbing or snooping.
It’s easier and less of a hustle than cultivating mutual relationships.
A story is told of a young man who went out for coffee with a certain lady. After exchanging some pleasantries, she took out her phone and tweeted, “Conversing is so liberating than simply texting.” Her date, took out his phone too, liked the tweet and asked for the bill. That’s where we are guys. Tweeting over talking. Phubbing over conversing. It’s sad.
Current statistics have added social media as another disturbing factor to the fall out of couples. 1 out 5 marriages are ruined by social media. When the sample is spread over a wider scope, then those are very many marriages ruined by a platform.
We need to remember that when God made marriage, he intended for it to be a sacred exclusive bond with the greatest priority over any other relationship or activity, whether virtual or real.
Marriage creates demands on us, tangible or intangible and the greatest of them all is communication. It’s the lifeblood of any relationship.
If you invest so much time on social media than relating to your spouse, then you are threatening the core fabric of communication in your marriage.
If you feel a need for validation from social media, more than drawing it from your spouse, then you are walking on dangerous grounds. You will break your marriage simply because you could not keep your phone down and enjoyed a wonderful, meaningful and healthy conversation with your spouse.
If you find yourself treating your spouse as an interruption to your social time rather than a priority, then that is a red flag waving straight at your face.
If you cannot have time for your spouse and find your online interactions whether on Facebook, twitter, WhatsApp, Tinder or any other platform more fulfilling than spending time with your spouse, then something is very wrong.
If you find yourself deleting messages, or secretly chatting someone who you know very well your spouse would not be happy with or who you cannot confidently chat with in the presence of your spouse, then you are in error.
The oneness that God intended for a marriage does not have a caveat of having a “private phone” or “private pages” –after all, why would you feel anxious if you are not doing something wrong?
The bible says in Philippians 2:4 that we should not only look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The closest neighbor you have is your spouse. Your wife or your husband. When you spend so much time ignoring them and finding your ‘high’ from social media are you looking out for their interests too? Are you living out your vows? Are you honoring your covenant? Are you kind?
Do not forget that in this day and age, you are what you post on your page. I do not need to go very far to know the kind of person you are. You are what you entertain.
Pay attention to your spouse, not your phone. Remember you are living out Christ’s love to your spouse, and His love doesn’t make us feel crummy or worthless.
He pays attention to us.- Psalm 65:2