DRUGGED BY SOCIAL MEDIA – DATING SPACE – PART 4
We had coffee with Johnny yesterday evening after work. It is always refreshing sharing my day to day accomplishments and struggles, and so is listening to him. We reminisced our good old days. The days we both grew up in.
Well, at least we got to grow up in an era where phones were a scarce commodity. Limited only to them that could afford. I got to see a mobile phone when I was in Form one. That was when dad and mam afforded to buy one.
I have used a lamp all my life. Our home did not have the luxury of electricity. Am proudly from upcountry. At least that is where I got molded from. I can comfortably cook with firewood in a 3 stone kitchen full of shocking smoke. Well, that is just part of what we were reminiscing about.
Johnny reminded me of his childhood life too. When mud and water puddles brought unspeakable joy in the hearts of little children, him included. They spent the whole day collecting bottle tops and making cars out of scrap metal. He used tallow as his oil (not Nivea) and ate the same when they were hungry – that made him diarrhea for three straight days!
Who felt the need the need to keep up with the Joneses? Children were raised and disciplined communally. Better yet, families, bonded with each other.
Now, we are highly disconnected. We raise our kids with IPADS and tablets. Children seem to be an interruption to our busy lives, and we would rather buy them PDAs, video games, give them unlimited time on TV – so that they will not ‘interrupt our work.’ Unaware or with little regard to the effects of our actions as parents living in a millennial generation, it’s not a wonder that we have a highly entitled generation.
A generation with a need to be loved buy cannot define what love is.
A generation with a need to be respected, but cannot accord the same.
A generation with a need for acceptance, but cannot accept themselves.
A generation with little knowledge, that sends them sprawling with pumped chests and an untamed appetite to get, through whichever means possible.
What we have now, is a highly dysfunctional generation, with little patience and not a tint of forbearance. Do you know what is ailing us this much? Social media.
The bible says that knowledge puffs up (1st Corinthians 8: 1) and foolish, is one that rejects counsel and instruction, (Proverbs 1:7). Social media has bred a generation that thinks “they know it all” – after all, everything is online or scripted in books.
Is there hope for us?
What am saying is knowledge is good, but wisdom is supreme – more so when preparing for marriage.
We all want to be loved and to love. Deep in our hearts, our unspoken desires, long for meaningful relationships. We long to belong but I guess most of them in the season of singleness, are doing it the wrong way. Love is a fundamental need for any human being and social dating sites have changed the dating landscape. It’s no longer a smile and a handshake, but a scroll, click, like and connect.
Caution ladies and gentlemen, caution is what I call for. Lest I seem too conserved or anachronistic, there are relationships that have been birthed online, and have worked– but their survival or “how workable” they have gotten, has taken intentionality of purpose. There are still good, faithful, loyal men and women who leverage social media for good.
However, as I pointed out from the outset, wisdom is supreme, and so should one court her(wisdom) before being hasty in matters of the heart. The bible asks, in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together unless they agree?”.
It doesn’t say see, or eat, or sleep. It says walk.
It is only in walking that you can pace each other’s strides. Its only in walking that one will be able to know how your partner strides. Its only in walking, that you will be able to see each other’s ‘limp’ or skid when its slippery. You have to walk together.
Social media is a good space to know about someone, but not completely stripped down. To know someone, you have to walk together. You have to put your phone aside and ask each other hard questions outside the realm of social media. You have to put aside the cloak of ambiguity and face each other in reality. You have to stop baiting each other with half-truths, exposing only what is pleasant and turn the shoe upside down.
It’s easy to dismiss someone off based on looks than character when it comes to social media. That is a major pitfall that one needs to keep their eyes peeled from. Ask yourself, “how is their inward apparel?” Slow down on the superficial.
At the end of the day, remember wisdom is supreme. Do not let the distraction of social media define your destiny. Base your choice on character, not the flutters nor the “looks on social media.” Ask for discernment from the HolySpirit and check through their “ways” keenly.
If you are married, you cannot use social media to air out your grievances about your troubled marriage. It is very unwise. When there are difficulties at home, you may be tempted to seek “solace” from strangers who often seem to understand your predicament. The grass may seem to be greener on the other side of the fence but it’s not so.
Going online to seek some level of distraction from your troubled marriage will not sort out your rift, it will only make the wound more septic. Resist the urge of striking conversations with strangers or “old flames” in a bid to anaesthetize our pain. Instead confront the issue. Probably it is a little misunderstanding, that seems magnanimous since both of you are hardened to your own plight.
Put the pride down, and talk to each other. If social media is the cause of your foundering marriage, come up with a list of each other’s expectations regarding social media.
You can both decide to open accounts to each other without hiding your passwords. Talk through areas of your lives that could be channeling feelings of mistrust in your marriage. Could it be your husband’s tone towards women? Could it be your wife’s’ uninhibited expression of your failures to her friends? Could it be that one of you feels as if your privacy is becoming too compromised? Could it be that “ministry” is taking the bulk of your time?
Talk through each and everything and come up with a to-do list that gears towards making your marriage work.
For instance, decide put your phones off when you get home, or put them on silent mode so that you will not be tempted to pick each and every call, unless it is necessary.
Connect with your children when you get home. Ask them questions, help them do their homework, sing together, know their events in school or which friends they made.
If you are sited with your wife, talk while facing each other. You can node as a clear reference point to them that you are listening.
Put the kids to sleep and take 10 minutes to reconnect and walk through your marriage as often as you can.
If you get flirty messages via a social media platform, tell it to your spouse.
Do not maintain close contact with your old flames. It’s easy to fall back if you keep reconnecting with old flames. Think it through before saying that “Hey”. From our observation, most people maintain those connections because of their discontentment with their present relationship. So instead of drawing close to the edge, stop it before.
If push comes to shove, ask for help. It’s not a weakness. It’s actually a resolve that you would want your marriage to work.
Knowledge is power, but wisdom is supreme. Glean wisdom!