DRUGGED BY SOCIAL MEDIA- BOUNDARIES WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX – PART 3
When God gave us this burden of helping secure godly relationships and marriages in our current and the generations to come, I really wondered how it would be since I am not a pastor. My husband and I do not have a congregation that we preach to every Sunday – (only if called upon).
So He put in us the burden to write out every thought and yes, you and I know very well that blogs ought to be online. That was scary for me.
I wouldn’t say that posting came easy peasy for me. I wrestled with God. I asked him questions, and asked Johnny so many more. I fought with that conviction until I felt God’s assurance of his presence with us in every step of our way.
The internet is a great platform but it is a murky ground too. It’s far treacherous than these bare streets we walk on. It’s easy to get sucked into validation so much that you forget your calling. Easy to be soaked into praises that one forgets who is to be praised.
Social media is both a blessing and a burden and it matters which side you skew yourself towards. What you post online speaks a lot about who you really are. So before you post anything, breathe in and out and ask yourself why?
Its so murky that so many couples have been swallowed by its vortex. With the tides of social media, boundaries were swept ashore.
I ask, where did the boundaries go?
See, i find it very disturbing for a husband to be quick at liking other ladies’ pictures, telling them how beautiful they are, and never liking his wife’s. You (husband) cannot tell me that you praise your wife privately, and praise others publicly. It’s a cruel sham. If indeed your marriage is your highest priority, does complementing your wife, the same way you hasten your fingers to click at other pictures break a bone? No!
It disturbs me further if a husband or even a wife is very quick at striking conversations with strangers on social media and never does the same with the spouse.
That tells me that there is something very wrong in that marriage. If it’s not evident now, it will be soon. The cracks are too glaring.
Those of us in ministry know too well that interactions with the opposite sex on these platforms is inevitable. It’s often a subtle and delicate balance. You cannot discriminate, but there has to be a lot of wisdom when dealing with the opposite sex. But ministry aside, the basic rule of thumb that should govern your interactions with members of the opposite sex via Facebook, Twitter or any other platform is that if your spouse isn’t in the picture, then it should stop.
If it intrigues you more than your spouse, then it should stop.
If it piques your interest more than your spouse’s, then it should stop.
This is to mean that if you have to have an affair proof marriage, one that God intended it to be, a marriage full of merriment, a daily celebration of each other, culminating to joyful and sensual pleasures and embodied by the fullness of God’s grace, then it begins right at the start, with boundaries.
God is a God of boundaries.
Whatever He created, has boundaries. (Psalms 74:17) The sea, day, night, seasons and times.
So if you find yourself glued to chatting with online friends, finding meaningful conversations with strangers than your spouse, then the issue isn’t far off your reach. Take a keen look at your relationship. How healthy are you two? How is your communication? How bored or disinterested have you grown towards each other? What are you getting from these online interactions that you are not getting from your husband or wife
There are always far compelling reasons why opposite-sex friendships outside of your marriage, both online and off-line should be ventured into with caution and due diligence.
Before you are married you may have had many of such friendships, but once marriage comes into picture, things become different. Not that your friendships are tossed off (and many are, why lie), but the relationship with your spouse takes precedence over every other. Boundaries come in, and if your friends care enough, they should regard your spouse too for the position they now hold in your life.
I hear lots to couples complaining that their opposite-sex friendships were benched after marriage. I wonder why one would complain if they are keen on cultivating their marriage. Bear in mind that your spouse, is a person whom you also began on the ground of friendship. The friendship was nurtured through numerous interactions, time spent together, both on and offline and that, bore the fruit of your marriage.
After marriage, the little quirks that were once endearing soon become points of frustration and that is where the hard work begins. What do you expect if your marriage is not nurtured? What do you expect if you take so much time off your spouse? Discontentment happens.
Most affairs begin as innocent connections between two people. The devil is very opportunistic on such connections. The ‘when.’
When your wife doesn’t check on you, suddenly that day, “your friend” checks on you. When your husband doesn’t notice your hairstyle, suddenly, a strange guy likes your picture on Facebook and comments on your dazzling new look. When your friend seems to know when you need the “harmless” encouragement from the Word of God, the numerous – ‘just a forward’ message. It is harmless, and the devil is great at making you believe that it’s all harmless.
The apostle Paul urges Christians to steer clear not only of evil itself but even of the mere appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Sin is deceitful, do not be fooled. The wisest choice is to not to stick out your toe out there in the first place.
Your love and commitment should be your yardstick when drawing up boundaries with the opposite sex.
For instance, some of the boundaries we have put in our marriage have been termed as extreme by some people, but, that has hedged us in so far by God’s grace.
For instance, we don’t counsel members of the opposite sex alone.
I counsel the ladies, and my husband counsel’s the men. If we have to counsel a couple, or have a session, both of us have to be there. If we cannot be both present, then we will reschedule till we are both present. We also put out a disclaimer from the onset, that if there is any matter to discuss, important or not, pressing or otherwise, the man should reach out to my husband and the lady should reach out to me.
If a man reaches out to me, I will most definitely loop my husband in and if a lady reaches out to my husband, he loops me in the conversation or directs the lady to me. That way, we make it obvious to people of the opposite sex, that we really do not have any “secret conversations” kept. We are partners in marriage and in ministry.
We discuss every interaction with the opposite sex person with lots of details. My husband helps me unravel the language of men and I help him get the subtle gestures from the ladies.
That policy has made us filter through genuine verses “genuine” A lot! I mean it! Of course this comes from a point of discernment! Our partnership in ministry has enabled us tackle so many counterfeits with wisdom.
It is not being malicious, we don’t do it without careful consideration of each person’s concerns, or a balanced perspective, but we are also very careful about opposite sex friendships and the imminent danger they pause if not checked – after all, we are all human.
Our marriage comes first. We also do not maintain private chats in our social accounts pages. This is not about being snoopy or insecure, its simply cultivating a level of trust, and accountability that marriages ought to have.
Sometimes boundaries can be ruthless, especially if someone begins sending flirty messages to you. It matters how you handle it. If you care about your marriage, first you will let your spouse know that you have so and so hitting on you.
Discuss it with your spouse, openly with no blazing feelings. Walk through each and every area and identify any loopholes that could send off “an inappropriate message”. Secondly, you will need to tell this meddling person of your stand. That you are married and whatever they are doing is unwelcome an uncalled for. Of course, some go defensive, some abuse you, some unfriend you, we get the “oh sorry” so many times, all in all, your objective should be to hedge your marriage. If they do not desist, go ahead and block them off.
Guard your marriage against the little foxes. Love your marriage enough to protect it.
We do it UN-APOLOGETICALLY!