The internet and social media have completely changed the culture and definition of relationships. Whether it’s a dating relationship or just a normal “friendship,” things have changed. Personally, I’m connected with people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn that I’ve never spoken a word to, yet we’re connected.
The desire to be connected with others, whether they are a personal friend or a famous moviestar, is at an all-time high. For the most part, I believe the human race has a desperate desire to be connected with others. I also believe that somewhere inside each of us is a desire to love and to be loved. One-on-one human interaction is no longer a requirement in order to make these desires a reality. Our world’s technology advances over the last several years has made it possible to not only connect with someone we believe will meet our every desire, but to also find love in the process.
It’s estimated that approximately 15-20% of marriages in the last year are now a result of couples meeting on an online dating website. Maybe this is because 40% of people now spend more time socializing on the internet than they do face-to-face! While studies have proven that shy, socially awkward individuals find connecting with others online has helped bolster their confidence and establish friendships that they may have otherwise never have established, I still believe the dangers of connecting with someone online far outweigh the benefits.
Let me break this down for you…
Social media is now creeping up toward the top of “Cause of Divorce” list. Lawyers are seeing more and more accounts where one spouse connects with an old “friend” from high school on Facebook. That individual more than likely opens up emotionally at some point and communication between the “old friends” becomes a secret. The old friends begin to put more effort into keeping their conversations a secret than they do into their own marriages. With infidelity present, the person starts to experience their marriage falling apart but puts little effort into fighting for it. They would rather put more effort into the newly formed relationship.
If you’re married and on social media, do yourself and your spouse a favor by giving yourself an honest assessment. Are you spending more time on Facebook than you are in conversation with your own spouse? Do you find yourself searching for old girlfriends or boyfriends? Are going through pictures of old friends of the opposite sex? If you’re finding yourself guilty of these things, then God’s desire for you and your marriage is not being met. In fact, it’s warped. You are negatively being impacted by the desire to connect with someone online.
Do whatever it takes to assure that you protect your marriage. I recently spoke with a man who was so sick of the temptation of connecting with other women that he took his computer into the middle of a field and smashed it to pieces with a baseball bat. Now that’s doing what is necessary to protect his marriage!
Prior to meeting my wife, I was miserable. My family would tell you the same thing. I had a desire to find my princess in the worst way. The desire to love and be loved is a healthy thing. However, I let my desire affect me negatively. I was discontent, unhappy, and bitter. I forced relationship after relationship. I was always dating and always looking for the “right woman.” In the process of doing so, I hurt a lot of young ladies that didn’t deserve the pain I caused. I hurt myself, too. It was all a result of discontentment. God’s desire and plan for my life at that time was to be single, and my own, sinful nature wanted nothing to do with it.
I think my story is the norm for most single people. They want to find that someone in the worst way, so they force it. Today, more and more people are forcing it by trying to connect with someone online. I know there are a lot of people out there that have had success with connecting with someone online. I’m happy for those people. However, my personal recommendation to each person I talk to in regards to this subject matter is to avoid connecting with someone online at all costs. There are just too many unknowns. It’s estimated that 25% of people on social media lie or exaggerate about who they are, what they’ve accomplished, and what they look like. Additionally, studies have proven that offline relationships involve more depth, commitment, and understanding. These three things are essential to healthy relationships!
What To Do?
If you’re finding yourself having the desire to connect with someone online, then let me encourage you. Evaluate your current situation. Do you desire to connect with someone because you’re lonely? Do you want to feel loved? If so, then let me remind you that Jesus is all you need. For me, God didn’t bring my wife into my life until I was willing to completely surrender my life to Him. I finally got to a point in my life where I looked up to God and said, “That’s it! I’m done with this! If you have someone for me, then you need to bring her to me. For now, I’m devoting myself to you.” That’s exactly what I did. I gave all I had to my relationship with Jesus Christ. A few months later, a beautiful woman walked into my life and we’re now happily married.
My point is not to say that social media or connecting with people online is a bad thing. My point is that before we can connect with anyone, we’ve got to be willing to surrender ourselves and connect with God. God doesn’t want an online relationship with you. He wants to connect with you one-on-one. He wants to audibly hear about your struggles, dreams, and passions. He wants you to take your hands off the keyboard and place them on His word. He wants to be beside you each day when you hit your knees in prayer. He wants real, genuine, authentic relationship with you. If you can do that with Jesus, then I promise you can do that with anyone in this world.