Dr. Kim’s new book “14 Keys to Lasting Love: How to Have the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” comes out on January 8, 2019. This book will change your marriage, and it will most certainly change you. Over the next few weeks, Dr. Kim will highlight some of the principles from the book in his weekly “Insights.”
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the internet as “the large system of connected computers around the world that allows people to share information and communicate with each other.” Today we can access vast amounts of information, resources, and services. The world is truly at our fingertips. For someone like me who loves to do research, the internet and all it offers is amazing. In just a few seconds, I have information that would have taken many hours or days to find pre-internet. I am a huge fan.
In 2007, I first connected with people struggling with marriage issues through the internet while helping with Life.Church Online. Out of that experience Awesome Marriage was born. It just made sense to bring marriage help where we found the most people: online. With the constant development of new technology, doors are always opening, giving us new, innovative ways to reach people with God’s plan for marriage. If I were to list every way we use the internet in our everyday lives, it would be somewhat outdated by the time you read this.
Think about the positive ways the internet helps your lives as a husband and a wife. Email communication cuts out the middle man. You can send information to your spouse and they receive it immediately. For those who travel or are away from each other for any reason, email allows for instant communication. We have access to more entertainment now than we could possibly consume in a thousand lifetimes. Online shopping continues to grow, giving us access to stores and products instantly. That perfect gift for your spouse can be found online in just a few minutes and show up at your door in a few hours or a few days. Budgeting as a couple is easier than ever with online banking and financial services. A couple can study and learn about any and every subject. The Bible is available in numerous formats, as well as ways to study and read it together. You two can play your favorite love song anytime you want to hear it. You can probably think of many other things to add to this list. My point is that the internet adds value to our lives and our marriages in so many ways.
Then there are the negatives. It seems that for everything that has a positive there is also a negative. I really hate that. For some reason, we can take something good and find a way to use it for bad. We cannot leave things alone. We have to change things, and that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. The problems that these negatives cause us in our lives and in our marriages vary. The gamut runs from irritating to devastating. Let’s look at some of them.
Time. Time is precious, and we talk about how important it is to be intentional in how we spend it. With the fascination and wealth of information on the internet, it is easy to get totally immersed in it at the expense of time with your spouse. If Nancy says, “Dinner will be ready in about forty-five minutes. Let’s sit down and talk about our day before we eat,” I have a choice. I can continue doing what I am doing on the internet or log off and be with her. I have a few seconds to make that decision. If I don’t log off right then, my tendency is to get refocused on the computer, and once I do that, the forty-five minutes will fly by. Then I have created a problem by sending the message that whatever I am doing is more important than Nancy. That is not the message I wanted to send.
Money. With online stores that offer everything we ever wanted, needed, desired, or dreamed of, the temptation to buy and overspend is real. It’s so easy to see something that we did not know we needed just a few minutes ago and add it to our cart. If you are like me, once it is in my cart, it is hard to take back out. So, as a couple, you agree to a new budget. There is money in the budget for you to spend as you want, but the item in your cart goes over that amount. Now you have a decision to make. Cart or budget? If the budget wins, no problem. Once the impulse subsides, we are usually okay with not buying something. If the cart wins, then there is a problem. The ease and comfort of buying online is great until we cross a line that we agreed not to cross.
Porn. I talk about the problem of porn so much that I am going to say only one thing about it here. If it is not stopped, porn will eventually kill your marriage one way or another. If you don’t believe me, keep it up. I try really hard to never say, “I told you so,” but with this, I told you so.
Other people. According to a recent article I saw, the internet is now the number three place affairs start, following the workplace and the gym. From my experience in the past few years, I would put it at number two, with the workplace being number one. Yet, even when it begins in the workplace, the affair often grows through online contact. I don’t blame the internet. People have been having affairs since biblical times. People will continue to have affairs until time ends. I just don’t want it to be you.