Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000049
00:29 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands
00:33 I am Alanzo Smith.
00:34 And I'm June Smith.
00:37 And we have been married for 31 years.
00:42 Both of us are licensed Marriage and Family Therapists
00:46 and licensed Mental Health Counselors.
00:49 And we're happy to talk with you today about some
00:52 important issues affecting the family.
00:56 We will start with Covenant Breakers:
00:59 The internet dilemma for Christian families.
01:04 I think you're probably like me.
01:06 I often wonder what was life like before the computer.
01:12 What an awesome invention.
01:15 But you know, all these new technologies
01:18 create different problems that families now must face.
01:26 So we're going to spend some time
01:29 to look at some of these issues.
01:31 Before we do that however, I invite you to pray with us.
01:37 Our Father and our God, we thank You for Your love,
01:41 and for establishing Your covenant with us, Your people.
01:47 We pray for all the families that are represented,
01:51 especially for those watching us right now.
01:54 May Your Spirit continue to guide and keep us all.
01:58 And in Your coming Kingdom save us I pray.
02:02 In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.
02:07 I invite you to share with me this text to be found in
02:13 2 Timothy 3:1-2, 5. Let's read the text together.
02:55 Here, Timothy is talking about men being lovers of pleasure
03:00 more than lovers of God.
03:02 I've had the privilege to do family evangelism seminars
03:08 and evangelistic crusades around the world and in large cities.
03:13 I can think of Nairobi Kenya, Toronto Canada, Kingston Jamaica
03:19 and yes, New York New York.
03:21 These large cities are reflecting more and more
03:27 what Timothy is talking about; lovers of pleasure
03:32 more than lovers of God.
03:34 Not just large cities, the world as a whole.
03:38 This is the age in which we have come.
03:41 And one of the areas that we are identifying
03:45 in this presentation to you is the area of the internet
03:50 and how it affects the family.
03:53 We're talking about covenant breakers.
03:55 And now we want to look at situations that indicate
04:02 when we do break this covenant.
04:04 For example, when we use the internet as a source
04:08 of intimate pleasure, we break God's covenant.
04:14 When we have a secret collection of magazines,
04:19 or pornographic information, or computer images...
04:25 Or if we find ourselves using our free time visiting
04:29 these websites, going into chat rooms and all of those sites,
04:34 all of those things, we are breaking God's covenant.
04:40 When we use information that is illicit, as we call it,
04:46 to bring us sexual gratification we are breaking God's covenant.
04:52 And this is becoming a pervasive problem,
04:57 that we could even identify as a dilemma.
05:00 I teach in a graduate program, and we're currently organizing
05:05 to develop, after our market research was done,
05:07 to develop a new program to train sex therapists.
05:11 Because we recognize the need to help these people
05:16 who have this problem.
05:18 So we're talking about a situation that is not just
05:22 a small issue, but has become a societal problem.
05:26 The reality of the internet use is that,
05:30 for us, from our stand point as therapists, we're seeing
05:34 more and more families coming in,
05:37 there's a proliferation of families, couples coming in
05:42 because this is affecting one member of the family.
05:46 It is real, it is here. And that's the reality.
05:50 So, we want you to pay attention to these issues.
05:54 Because they are affecting marriages today.
05:58 You know, there's what we call a marital myth.
06:00 And I want to share that with you.
06:04 It is believed, or it is stated:
06:17 And later on in this program, we will show that this isn't so.
06:21 But, the thing we want to underscore is that
06:25 marital problems of a sexual or intimate nature,
06:28 is not just limited to people who...
06:32 are low-lifers, not successful, having problems,
06:35 stressed out, depressed. Not at all.
06:38 We're talking about individuals who are highly successful,
06:42 highly educated, well accomplished individuals.
06:45 And as we said, we'll point out a few not long from now.
06:49 But, marriage is experiencing now some developing problems
06:55 that years gone by, we didn't have those problems.
07:00 We call them the "new cyberspace syndrome".
07:04 For example, years gone by, the notion of
07:09 your spouse in a chat room, that did not exist.
07:16 There were no intimate chat rooms.
07:18 But now the reality is, we have the internet, we have
07:21 spouses that are spending hours and hours and hours.
07:24 One person said that her husband was coming into bed
07:29 2, 3 am in the morning saying he was doing research.
07:33 But later found out, there was no research at all.
07:36 He was spending time in these chat rooms.
07:39 There's what we call the "internet affair".
07:42 Where individuals literally engage another
07:48 cyberspace contact, and carry on an affair
07:54 to the detriment of their marriage.
07:57 We're talking about developing problems in marriages now.
08:01 Texting, text messages.
08:02 One young lady said that while she was in church,
08:07 she was texting a gentleman.
08:10 And unfortunately, this gentleman was married
08:13 and she was a teenager, and she she was sending text messages
08:16 to a married person.
08:17 That's a problem that before, we didn't have.
08:21 I saw a woman recently who told me that her spouse
08:26 has three different cell phones.
08:29 And one phone she's aware of, she didn't even know the number.
08:35 And she couldn't reach him on that number.
08:37 When I asked "why so", she said she suspects that phone is
08:42 what he uses for the affair that she was aware he was having.
08:47 So yes, we're talking about a new set of issues...
08:52 that is coming and hitting the family;
08:54 lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
08:58 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
09:03 That's what Timothy is talking about and that's what is
09:05 hitting families square on right now.
09:10 Let's see if we can define "internet affair" for you.
09:16 We're going to put up a definition
09:18 and we want you to read along with us.
09:38 So that an individual who is involved with another
09:41 cyberspace individual for the purpose of
09:45 experiencing stimulation and intimacy
09:49 is engaging in what we call an affair.
09:56 Let's look at the kinds of internet affairs
09:58 that we're talking about.
10:00 The first one is what you'd call the "casual user".
10:05 They just go on the internet just out of mere curiosity.
10:08 Sometimes they're working on their computer
10:10 and there's a pop-up, and just out of curiosity they
10:14 check that pop-up.
10:15 It takes them into the wrong direction, but that's all.
10:18 Casual users.
10:20 And then we have "compulsive users".
10:23 People who spend on an average, 8 or more hours per day
10:27 trying to engage different sources on the internet.
10:33 And of course we have what we call the "depraved users".
10:36 These are the predators who are there.
10:40 And we said earlier on, we wanted to address that myth
10:43 that we had up for you earlier on.
10:46 And we want to go that point now.
10:48 There is a program on one television station
10:52 that identifies predators that are on the internet
10:57 trying to catch your boys and your girls.
11:00 And they set up these stings and they
11:03 profile the ones they caught.
11:05 And among those they caught were medical doctors.
11:09 They caught school teachers.
11:13 They caught lawyers, religious leaders,
11:15 government officials.
11:18 They named all of these individuals who have
11:21 accomplished in their lives.
11:22 And that's why we said earlier on it was a myth
11:25 to say that individuals who have accomplished in their lives,
11:28 they don't have these problems.
11:30 It's not so.
11:31 The Bible tells us the root of it.
11:33 The Bible tells us the heart of it.
11:35 It says the heart is deceitful above all things
11:38 and desperately wicked, and who can know it.
11:41 And that is so true.
11:42 That's the reality of what is facing us today
11:46 in this 21st century.
11:49 Now many people who engage on the internet may not go there
11:51 with the intent to get into some of these problems.
11:55 But what we do want to do is to bring awareness that,
11:59 like every other sin, you start on a sliding scale.
12:03 And you go in just out of curiosity
12:06 and before you know it, you are on the devil's ground.
12:09 So you want to be extremely guarded.
12:13 And as the scripture says, guard the avenues of your soul.
12:19 Parents, we cannot say this enough.
12:27 Young people, children. We cannot say this enough.
12:32 You need to understand.
12:34 There is danger out there on the internet.
12:39 We want you to be careful.
12:41 We want you to understand that there are predators out there
12:45 who are bent on destroying you.
12:47 They want to harm you. Be careful.
12:51 We have been talking about problems that families
12:54 are currently facing.
12:56 Problems that families in the 21st century are now faced with.
13:01 And we recognize how difficult it is
13:04 to contain some of these problems.
13:07 We're going to continue our discussion after our break.
13:11 We want to talk about factors that influence
13:15 cyberspace or internet infidelity.
13:18 In addition to the steps that we might take to address this.
13:21 So I invite you to be right back with us
13:24 as soon as we're through with this break.
13:35 There are many "How To" books available.
13:37 But there's one that's free and perfect for every couple.
13:41 How You Can Build A Better Marriage
13:43 Bible-based matrimonial advice is given in a light-hearted
13:47 easy to read manner for those contemplating marriage,
13:50 newlyweds, couples in their golden years,
13:53 and everyone in between. Call or write for your copy.
14:10 Welcome back to Marriage in God's Hands.
14:14 We have been discussing internet dilemma's
14:18 for the Christian family.
14:20 And before the break, we talked about some of the problems.
14:25 Well, now we want to look at some of the factors
14:28 influencing internet infidelity.
14:32 The first one is what I call a desire to control.
14:37 There are some individuals who like to control and dominate.
14:41 And when you have this kind of personality, and you're not
14:47 able to control your spouse, then guess what?
14:50 You turn to the internet. So if you find that you have
14:52 this innate desire to control, that's one of the factors.
14:56 Another thing that seems to influence individuals who get
14:59 involved with these behaviors is what we call
15:02 the desire to hurt, or to punish.
15:04 So they may be having a problem in their marriage,
15:07 and instead of dealing and confronting and getting help
15:10 for the problem, they often turn to the internet.
15:14 Another one is a desire to have emotional contact
15:19 without the risk of accountability.
15:21 If they should go off and have an affair
15:25 with someone physically, then that could cause them to
15:28 lose their status, their position,
15:30 or whatever it is, with their family.
15:34 But they feel more comfortable and safer if they should have
15:38 that affair on the internet.
15:40 So they figure, well there's no physical contact, so it's ok.
15:46 Another reason why people get involved in internet affairs,
15:51 or infidelity, is what we call narcissism.
15:54 It's a concept of being selfish.
15:57 The sense that "I do what I want and I really don't care
16:02 about the impact or the consequence to my family,
16:06 to my church, to my faith community. "
16:08 And so they will take risks and get into these
16:12 kinds of situations that could be self-destructive
16:16 and at the same time, destroy a marriage.
16:20 Depraved nature.
16:22 There are some individuals, that's how you summarize it.
16:26 They just have a depraved nature.
16:29 I think Jeremiah encapsulates this concept in Jeremiah 17:9.
16:35 I want you to read that text.
16:37 I want you hear what the prophet says.
16:50 Unfortunately, but it is so true, that there are individuals
16:52 who just have a heart that is depraved.
16:57 A heart that is not converted.
17:00 And as a result, they'll allow all these kinds of evil
17:04 to reside within their hearts.
17:06 So you could say, a heart that is possessed by Satan.
17:11 How about signs to look for?
17:13 I'm sure our viewers would like to think through
17:16 and discuss, or have us discuss,
17:18 "How do you know that this might be happening?"
17:23 Well, if you see someone spending prolonged hours
17:27 on the internet, undue or unnecessary.
17:30 What could they be on the internet doing for so long
17:33 and so consistently?
17:35 Then it could be a sign that something is going wrong.
17:40 Another sign usually is what we call
17:42 little communication with an offline spouse.
17:46 Where you're just having one word conversations.
17:52 Very little communication open with the rest of the family.
17:56 It indicates that you might be in an
17:58 open relationship with somebody else.
18:00 Who else are you talking with?
18:01 In fact, sometimes one spouse might say to the other,
18:04 "Did I tell you so and so" or "I remember telling you"
18:08 and you realize "no, we didn't have this conversation. "
18:11 And they may try to convince you that they did.
18:13 And it might be that they were having this conversation
18:15 with somebody else, but it wasn't you.
18:19 We talked about prolonged hours.
18:22 Well, there are times, there are instances when the individual
18:25 might not be on for long periods but it could be unusual hours.
18:31 It could be at a time when the person should be in bed,
18:33 or doing something productive, they are on the internet.
18:36 So, not only should we look for prolonged hours,
18:41 but we should also look for unusual hours
18:44 when they're on the internet.
18:47 Another thing that we can look at,
18:49 we're talking about the signs and how can you tell
18:51 that this is going on,
18:53 when the online spouse seems offended when confronted
18:58 about this concern.
19:00 So a wife who goes to her husband and says,
19:03 "Honey, I have some concerns. What are you doing
19:06 on the internet 2, 3, 4 in the morning?"
19:09 And he gets defensive.
19:11 Or a husband who goes to his wife
19:14 and confronts the same situation.
19:17 Private passwords. That's a very common on.
19:21 When you start having private passwords to your computer,
19:24 private passwords to your telephone,
19:26 private passwords to everything and nobody knows this
19:30 private password, then it's a sign that something is wrong.
19:35 So be aware of that.
19:36 So those are some of the signs.
19:39 There are many more, but those are some of the main,
19:42 or the key ones, that you would look for.
19:46 What are the implications, as far as the family's concerned,
19:51 what are the implications?
19:53 They can be overwhelming.
19:54 There are issues of trust that's been broken.
19:58 There is anxiety that evolves.
20:01 There is hurt, betrayal.
20:04 All of these emotional states that a spouse will go through,
20:08 much like having an adulterous affair or extramarital affair.
20:12 So, these are serious relationship problems.
20:18 Sometimes, the innocent party can start thinking that,
20:21 "Well maybe something is wrong with me. "
20:23 Or "Am I imagining things?"
20:25 Have you ever had that experience where
20:27 you know you're seeing some things, but
20:32 you're asking yourself, "Did I see that?"
20:34 "Did I hear that?"
20:36 Then it's affecting you now. It's affecting the family.
20:41 We're talking about implications for the family.
20:43 You start seeing things and you're wondering,
20:45 "Am I imagining, am I losing my mind?"
20:49 Sometimes the spouse gets angry.
20:51 Or they get suspicious.
20:54 And there are other times when they
20:56 experience an emotional roller coaster.
21:00 On some level, the spouse who is the online spouse
21:05 appears very sensitive and nurturing and caring
21:08 to the other spouse.
21:10 And there are times when they could engage in this behavior.
21:13 And so the spouse is left not knowing what to believe.
21:19 If you're listening to us right now,
21:21 and you're guilty of some of these issues
21:25 that we are talking about, you must act.
21:29 There are things and necessary steps that you have to take.
21:33 For example, you need to cut off that cyber lover immediately.
21:40 You need to cut off that cyber relationship immediately.
21:44 No ifs, ands, or buts.
21:47 It's surgery time.
21:49 If you want the Holy Spirit to dwell within you,
21:53 and for your marriage to continue to be in God's hands,
21:57 that's what you have to do.
21:59 Full clean cut.
22:02 Another thing you need to do is to take responsibility
22:06 for the hurt that your spouse, your offline spouse,
22:11 is experiencing.
22:12 In other words, do not defend your behavior.
22:15 Do not rationalize your behavior.
22:17 Your spouse is confronting a very serious problem
22:23 and it needs to be addressed.
22:27 Telling the truth helps the other person
22:32 to heal quickly and effectively.
22:35 If you're caught, add up, face up, come clean,
22:40 come straight and tell the truth.
22:43 You will be able to work through this better and easier
22:47 with your spouse if you tell the truth.
22:51 Like all other problems that a couple might face,
22:55 there needs to be a commitment that we will work through this.
22:59 So both parties, husband as well as wife, are committed
23:05 to face this as a family problem or a marital problem,
23:10 and be totally committed to stay together
23:13 and work it through.
23:15 Explore unresolved issues.
23:19 Sometimes the reason for your behavior,
23:24 sometimes the reason for you to be spending time in these
23:29 websites, is because there are problems in the relationship
23:34 and they are unresolved.
23:35 Explore them, try to bring about a resolution
23:39 so that you and your spouse can once more be in harmony
23:44 as God would have you both.
23:46 A good and practical thing to do is relocate the computer.
23:52 Instead of keeping it in the study, or in the room
23:56 that it is where you have privacy, you may want to
23:59 put the computer in an open space
24:01 where there's traffic in the house.
24:04 And people are able to pass by so that you don't feel
24:09 isolated and secluded.
24:10 And therefore, supported in your problem.
24:16 Listen patiently to each other.
24:19 Realizing that your goal is to build back God's covenant
24:24 in your marital relationship.
24:26 The covenant has been broken by your involvement in
24:29 cyberspace infidelity, and your task is to build back
24:33 that covenantal relationship
24:35 So, I am encouraging you, talk and listen.
24:40 Don't get an attitude. Be humble.
24:45 And with that, genuinely seek your spouse's forgiveness.
24:49 Own and admit the problem.
24:52 And say "Honey" or "Dear" or whatever you call your spouse,
24:56 "I am willing by God's grace to face this and to get help. "
25:01 "Please forgive me. "
25:02 And show a genuine repentance of that behavior.
25:07 Avoid blaming and fault finding.
25:10 It's not going to work.
25:12 If you try to blame, if you try to find fault,
25:14 it makes the problem worse.
25:17 So what we're saying, avoid that.
25:19 Work towards a resolution, but don't play the blame game.
25:24 You might have a problem that's beyond you.
25:26 So one counsel would be, be willing to seek
25:30 professional help.
25:31 There are trained counselors who can help you
25:35 get to the underlying of this problem.
25:39 And explore what else might be allowing this behavior.
25:43 Because there might be, as you mentioned earlier,
25:46 unresolved issues that you have concerns about.
25:50 And this issue that we're talking about
25:52 is something that you have to get in touch
25:55 with your true self about.
25:57 You can't hide.
25:58 Remember, God shall bring everything to light.
26:03 He shall bring it into judgment every secret sin.
26:06 Everything, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
26:10 And the Bible clearly tells us, be not deceived.
26:14 God is not mocked.
26:15 For whatsoever a person soweth, that shall he also reap.
26:19 So it's important for the two individuals
26:21 to be able to work through this thing.
26:24 And for the guilty party to be honest with his soul,
26:28 with his family, and with his God.
26:30 So we're saying, it's not just a problem with your marriage.
26:34 But it's also a spiritual problem.
26:36 So it must be addressed and you must be willing to repent.
26:40 You must be able to ask for forgiveness of your spouse,
26:44 but also of God.
26:46 Psalm 127:1 must be remembered again.
26:49 Except the Lord build the house,
26:52 you can't do it on your own.
26:54 If you have done something that is wrong, go to God.
26:58 He says "He that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out. "
27:03 We have made mistakes.
27:05 We have done things that have not been right.
27:08 But God is always willing to forgive.
27:11 So I'm encouraging you, I'm imploring you,
27:13 if you're involved in this issue of internet affair,
27:17 Let go, get rid of those sites.
27:20 Do not go back into any more chat rooms.
27:23 Tell your spouse you're sorry.
27:25 And if your spouse did not find out,
27:27 but you hear us talking now, and you know what you're doing,
27:30 then you tell yourself, "I have to stop. "
27:33 "It's not good for my soul's salvation. "
27:36 "It's not good for my family. "
27:38 Be strong in the Lord and trust God to see you to the end.
27:41 May God bless your marriage.
27:42 And may He bless you.