In This Series:
A social-media worldObviously, the internet has introduced pornography into many, many homes. Although pornography is a huge problem, I want to focus on less obvious temptations affecting some marriages. For instance, while doing research about social-media sites, I stumbled upon a profile of a man who described himself as married with several children. But he had built his entire online profile describing himself as some type of, well, I’ll use the term sex god. He had posted photos of women, often wearing very little clothing, in various sensual poses. In an online poll he had pasted onto his page, he had asked sexually oriented questions in an inappropriate fashion. I couldn’t help but wonder why a married man would do such a thing. Nor could I help but wonder what his wife or children would think if they discovered his secret online “life.”
The dangers of anonymitySome may argue that having an edgy social media profile, carrying on online relationships and private-messaging old flames is relatively innocent stuff because there’s no intention of becoming involved physically. I’d argue to the contrary. It’s not just getting involved physically that crosses the line; it’s the very desire to play around online in an area involving a certain amount of intimacy. For some married individuals who feel underappreciated and under-respected, the anonymity and secrecy of the web allows for a chance to flirt and pretend. What could be wrong with that? Pastor David Jeremiah, commenting about a list of “hedges” that individuals need to put up to guard their marriages, had this to say about flirting: “Never flirt, even in jest. Never flirt with someone other than your [spouse].” Of course, flirting used to be something that primarily occurred face to face. Not anymore. Flirting can now take place through text message, online gaming and social media.
The gift of intimacySolomon offers incredible advice along these lines: “Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. … [R]ejoice in the wife of your youth. … Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight. … Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman?” (Proverbs 5:15-20). Clearly, the writer is not referring to actual water but to the intimacy that occurs in marriage. Furthermore, this water is more than just the sexual aspect. It includes the closeness, the oneness and the sense of unity that a husband and wife can and do experience when they do things God’s way. One of the greatest gifts the Lord ever gave us was the gift of intimacy. As described in the Bible, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5). Jesus added, “So they are no longer two but one flesh.” (Matthew 19:6). It’s that oneness, that intimacy, that water that married individuals are called upon by marriage’s Creator to guard closely, pray about regularly and fight for diligently. Bob Waliszewski is director of Focus on the Family’s Media and Culture department, which features the popular Plugged In website, Pluggedin.com.
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