“What happens in the bedroom, stays in the bedroom.”
There is something really special about intimacy between husband and wife—intimacy that is shared only by them. My husband and I are firm believers of this truth, and we do our best to guard the special moments that we have by keeping them between each other. No chit-chatting about it with the girlfriends or sharing stories with the bro’s. Our sexuality is a part of our lives that is exclusively ours, shared with no one else. They are sacred moments, binding us together in their secrecy.
Hebrews 13:4 in the Message puts it this way, “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband.” Above and beyond loyalty and faithfulness, “sacredness” is created when something is set apart. It’s special on the principle of its exclusivity. Sexuality, when taken out of this proper context, loses something.
In our society, sexuality has lost so much of its value, because it is no longer set apart—rather, it’s on display for the world to see. In a world of normalized pornography and sexualized media, the sacred has become ordinary in the pursuit of drawing an audience. A sexuality that is shared with everyone loses its prime purpose: intimacy.
As much as this applies to the area of sex and sexuality within the context of a marriage, I wholeheartedly believe that there is something to be learned from this idea within the context of the digital world.
Social media can be a wonderful tool. It’s such a convenient way to connect with friends and family. With just a couple simple clicks you can get in touch with someone, share an article or look through a friend’s photo album. It’s great to be able to share pictures of your family with friends across the globe, bringing them into your world with a blink of an eye. In the business of our society, it’s nice to be able to stay connected when you may not have time for a 30-minute phone call.
But there is also danger in this kind of “connecting.” When sexuality is given an audience as in pornography, it loses its sacredness. And perhaps a similar thing happens in the way we use social media, giving an audience to the special moments of our lives. Sometimes social media allows us to “connect” with people for the sake of connecting rather than for the sake of living—gratifying an urge inside of us momentarily, while preventing us from experiencing true intimacy in its most fulfilling context: real life.
It can be humorous to see status updates talking about “how much fun” someone is having in the moment, or “how incredible” this experience is with their significant other, because if it’s really that great—why are they on Facebook right now?
Matthew 7:6 provides a great analogy of what it means to keep track of the sacred: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
Social media creates the temptation to talk about the moment, more than to savor the moment. It creates in us the tendency to take the sacred things in our lives and give them away to people who may or may not really care, rather than investing in the moment by giving our full attention to the people around us.
Social media gives us a platform to share some really sacred things—some really intimate details—in a social setting, where it will soon be pushed to the bottom of the news feed and forgotten.
If pornography poses the question of the sanctity of sex by making it widely accessible and available, do our social media habits have a similar effect? Do special family times, date nights and prayer gatherings lose their sacredness if we open them up for anyone and everyone to see? In focusing so much on our audience, are we losing the real meaning behind the show? Is our fixation on connecting stealing the glory of actual living?
It’s time to bring the focus back on the living, and remember the sacred. Rather than tagging your wonderful friends in status updates every 15 minutes, maybe it’s time to turn off the computer, put down the phone and take the time to really enjoy them. Instead of uploading pictures of your children every waking moment, maybe it’s time to snuggle with them, hold them and capture those precious memories in your heart. Rather than Tweeting about your undying love for your husband, maybe it’s time to take him in your arms, and tell him how much you love him—face to face, heart to heart; even if no one else hears it but him. And rather than share how much you love Jesus by liking a page or joining a group, maybe it’s time to learn how to love as He did and show compassion to the world around us in the realness of everyday life.
These relationships are sacred, not because anyone is “following,” “sharing,” or “liking,” but because they are inherently meaningful in and of themselves—audience or no audience. These relationships that God has given us are so meaningful, because through them, we are offered the opportunity to get a better glimpse of Him. We do ourselves an injustice when we choose to connect superficially with the world around us in exchange for deep and authentic connection.
Social media can be a powerful tool for connection, but it defeats its own purpose when it compromises real-life relationships. So go ahead and keep your status updated—but also make time for the people around you, here and now.
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, relationship expert, speaker and author of several books, including True Love Dates. Debra is also the creator of the popular relationship advice blog TrueLoveDates.com, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.