You can tell a person’s character by how they use their smartphone. It’s a veritable thermometer for the health of your integrity.
What would happen if you immediately dropped your phone (unlocked) and your spouse picked it up? What thoughts go through your mind? What would your husband/wife discover?
I’m not referring to “how well your iPhone handles a 4 foot drop”. Everyone knows it’s a complete toss up on whether it breaks or not when you drop it. I’ve dropped my phone dozens of times and it’s fine, I’ve had friends just sit awkwardly on theirs and the screen shatters like it was thrown off the Eiffel Tower.
This is the ultimate phone drop test:
What will your spouse find on your phone if right now, without notice, you dropped your phone on the counter and gave them uninhibited access?
Integrity, not suspicion
This is not a post about trust, this is a post about integrity. You should trust your spouse and they you. As I wrote in my last post, trust is a two-way street where you must be trustworthy and you also must be trusting. I’m not talking about being suspicious of your spouse.
If you’re reading this, I’m talking directly to YOU, not about your spouse. It’s about what’s on your device or what your device is used for that can cause damage in your marriage.
I know I’ve been harping on this trust/transparency topic for weeks, but frankly it’s been on my heart and I believe couples need to hear it. I have a feeling I’ll be able to move on to other topics after this, so please bare with me.
Phones are like fire
Fire is incredibly useful, but it’s also destructive. You can use fire to warm up, cook food, and make useful things (like a broadsword!!). Wielded carelessly, however, fire will burn you or your entire house to the ground in minutes.
Phones are incredibly useful, just like fire. You literally have a world of information at your fingertips. I use my phone for email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, writing, listening to music, looking up awesome facts about broadswords, finding directions, and a whole bunch of other useful things. I use my phone too much. (see?)
…Oh yeah, I sometimes use my phone for calls.
You know where this is going.
Modern phones are also incredibly dangerous. If you’re not careful you can start fires, get burned, and even burn down your “house”. And like fire, unwise phone usage has a way of growing out of control, fast.
Last week we celebrated Independence Day the traditional way: food, fun, and FIREWORKS. We had a bonfire on the beach which was a blast. I splurged on 5 roman candles, 9 sparklers, 20 ground flowers, and a few weird eyeball-spinny colorful things that were WAY too loud. While my $10 fireworks spectacular got some courtesy “oohs and ahhhs” from the family, I was quickly overshadowed by the two groups to either side of us. They must have spent thousands.
For two hours we were amazed by the constant firework explosions directly over head! Toward the end of the night, my dad and I sat by the fire after the ladies all went inside. As we talked, the group to our right had a mortar mishap. I heard them scream and saw them scrambling away from a lit fuse.
Just as I realized what whats going on, BOOM. The mortar launched directly at us. We both froze.
I’d like to say we dove heroically into the sand like action movie stars (EVERYBODY DOWWWN!!), but we both just sat there like idiots. Thank God, the mortar shot in front of us far enough for us not to be injured, and it exploded into it’s full color about 20 feet away from where were sitting. Phew.
All it takes is one bad move and before you know it you’re dodging mortar rounds and running for cover. Fire is tough to control.
Personal inventory time
Is there a mortar pointed your way? When your phone use lacks integrity, it’s usually not anyone’s fault but your own. Let’s take a quick inventory: answer each of the questions below in your head, and be honest with yourself.
- Is there any area of your phone you wouldn’t want your spouse to see?
- Are you afraid someone might call or text you when you’re not near your phone at home?
- Would you read your browser history out loud to your spouse?
- Have you ever cleared it to avoid being caught visiting certain sites?
- Have you deleted any texts that you didn’t want your husband/wife to see?
- Have you ever sent or received inappropriate pictures with your phone?
- Have you used any apps inappropriately (i.e. Snapchat, etc)?
- Do you have any contacts you don’t want your spouse to know about?
- Have you had any conversations where you’d feel embarrassed if your spouse read a transcript?
- How about social media usage?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it’s probably time to have a talk with your spouse. So let’s explore that a bit.
Time to have the transparency talk?
Breaking the “transparency ice” isn’t easy. Take my word for it.
But it’s well worth the trouble.
Complete, utter, and uninhibited transparency with your spouse is incredibly liberating. It’s one of those things where, once you’re on the other side of it, you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Hiding is exhausting.
Here’s one tangible way to initiate the “talk“:
- Pray first. Talk to God and confess to Him plainly (He already knows). Ask for forgiveness and conviction to change. This whole process is useless without God working first in your heart. Find scripture that applies to your situation – read the Bible, Google the topics in question, and use whatever tools you can to identify verses that speak to you. I could give some, but you need to do it yourself.
- Schedule a date/time with your spouse, let them know you want to discuss something with them. Try not to disclose the topic, especially not unless you’re face to face. You want to be as intentional about your words as possible, and that takes preparation.
- Make sure you have focused time. No kids, no distractions, nothing but the two of you. Schedule at least 1 hour together.
- Study the verses you found. On your own, think of a plan that will keep everything transparent. If you’re addicted in some way (sexual addiction, gambling, etc), plan to get help.
- Start with love. When you talk, first tell them how much you love them and how much you value your marriage.
- Set the context. Explain that you want a transparent relationship, and that you’ve felt convicted on something.
- Confess to them whatever’s on your heart/mind. Don’t filter it or soften it, just be honest.
- Converse: They will have questions, answer them completely honestly. You’ve come this far, don’t bail now.
- Ask for forgiveness and let them know you want to change. It may take some time for them to process, so give them time as needed.
- Pray together. Ask God for reconciliation, full healing, and recovery as needed.
- Work together to create a plan for accountability. Make sure it’s a realistic plan that is practical and can be an active part of your lives.
The above approach follows the biblical process of confession and reconciliation found in Galatians 6 and James 5.
Go with grace
Why are we transparent? As Christians we’re saved by grace through Jesus. We’re also called to a life of discipleship and sanctification (1 Thessalonians 5:23). In other words, knowing Christ should bare fruit in our lives. We’re saved by grace, but that grace has an inevitable effect on our real lives. (James 2)
Transparency is a tool we use to help us down that path of sanctification, and it’s a wonderful thing. Technology, too, is a wonderful thing as long as it’s used with great respect and care.
What are some ways you and your spouse have increased your phone transparency?
(Please respond in the comments below)
Share an Encouraging Image with Friends
It’s easy: Click an image, it expands, you share… Who knows who you’ll encourage when you share your heart. For more images like these, you can go here.
Have you heard of the The 31-Day Pursuit Challenge?
Every marriage begins with passion, purpose, and pursuit, but few stay that way. That’s why we wrote Husband in Pursuit and Wife in Pursuit Together, they make what we’re calling the 31-Day Pursuit Challenge. Couples are encouraged take the challenge together. We’re already starting to hear stories of transformed marriages! Are you up for the challenge?