Genesis 2:18 says “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:24 goes on to say “…a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” From the beginning, God intended men and women to come together, care for one another (Eph. 5:29) , submit to one another (Eph. 5:21) and to put this relationship second only to our relationship with Him (Deut. 6:5; Eph. 5:25). Unfortunately, the cultural view of marriage does not parallel with the Biblical view of marriage. The media is one outlet that has helped to entirely reshape our culture’s view of marriage. From reality television shows to social media, the ideal of marriage has been completely ripped apart.
Reality television has created entirely UNrealistic ideas about marriage, family and life as a whole. In Chapter 7 of Women Living Well, Courtney describes several different types of reality relationships. First you have the “Casanova,” where the man says and does everything picture perfectly…think The Bachelor. Second, you have the empowered woman. This woman is liberated, independent and has no problems running the home…think Wife Swap. Third, you have the revolving door of husbands and wives. When one relationship doesn’t work out, simply move on to the next suitor…think Real Housewives. Fourth, you have the couple that simply live together, perhaps even raising a family, yet refuse to get married…think Kardashians. All of these are readily accepted by society, due in large part to their glorious portrayal by the media, however none are Biblically sound. Sadly, all these shows do is serve to incite discontentment in the hearts of many spouses.
Outlets like Facebook have opened up doors that have caused many a failed marriage. What may begin as an innocent online friendship, or a rekindling of an old friendship from the past, can quickly escalate to the inappropriate realm. Courtney herself has stated that, although her marriage is strong and thriving, she felt it necessary to delete men entirely from her Facebook page. How many of us have logged onto Facebook to find pictures of flowers sent for “no reason at all” or updates from friends about their wonderful spouse that brings them breakfast in bed or makes their coffee every morning? These types of posts can stir feelings of envy and/or jealousy in even the strongest of spouses and marriages. These feelings create a “grass is greener” syndrome which, again, leads to discontentment. Discontentment is detrimental in marriage. Disrespect also seems to run rampant through social media. In the heat of an argument, before thinking things through entirely, a spouse can become quick to air their frustration online. We’ve all seen the posts that have made us stop and think to ourselves “whoa, marital dispute!” Social media also eats away at our family time. The amount of time we spend looking at the screens of our phones, iPads or computers should never outweigh the time we spend looking into the face of our spouse and/or family.
So, what can we do to strengthen our marriages in a culture that is ready to throw in the towel at any minute? For starters, arm yourself. Arm yourself with the Biblical definition of marriage. Arm yourself with the Word and how He says we are to live together in marriage. Second, weed out the bad seeds. If you find yourself bitter or upset at your spouse after watching a tv show or reading status updates from friends on social media, cut those areas out of your life. If you think time is an issue, do as Courtney suggests and make a log of the amount of time you are spending looking at your phone, iPad, computer or any other electronic device. If this time outweighs the amount of time you are looking at your spouse or family, it’s time to cut back drastically. Third, filter what you post, say and associate with on social media. Fill your newsfeed with positive, uplifting sites and people. If you believe having men in your newsfeed may be a weak spot for you, by all means delete them. Weed out anything and everything, anyone and everyone, that stirs negative emotions about your marriage. It may sound dramatic, but then again, so is divorce.