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Fountain of Life with Taiwo Odukoya: Marriage in the Age of Technology

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In many ways, modern technology has changed the way people communicate with one another. Unlike the past when phones were not readily available and mails took weeks and sometimes months to get to their destinations, people can now get in touch with one another at the touch of a button. Text messaging, emails, instant messaging chats and social networks now generally allow for faster and more efficient communication and so help build relationships.

The implication is that in our fast-paced world where the majority of husbands and wives work and are separated throughout the day, those who desire to be constantly in touch with each other can do so without much stress. Issues that need urgent attention do not necessarily have to wait till couples are back from work in the evening (or dead of night) before they are resolved. The fire of romance with one’s spouse can be kept burning even while one is away from home.

In our time, it is quite common for career or business to take people to other parts of the country or world on a regular basis. This means leaving the home or one’s spouse for a brief period or sometimes for long periods of time. Thanks to modern technology, it is quite possible to keep marriages together in spite of long distances. Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout and other video chat platforms give couples the next best alternative to each other’s company: the chance to see and hear each other.

In the words of Laura James, “More immediate than snail mail and more affordable than international phone calls, technology is invaluable for keeping marriages together no matter what the distance.”

Now, much as modern technology can help strengthen relationships, it also has negative impacts.

It erodes the thin line between work and home
Today, the fact that one has closed from an office no longer automatically means that one has closed from work. With the advent of computers, the Internet and cell phones, people can – and are often expected to – address work issues from home. This undoubtedly limits family interactions and sometimes causes conflict between spouses.

It erodes private boundaries
Many employ modern technology in increasing numbers to communicate with their friends, acquaintances and people unknown to them, even at odd times. So it is possible for a man or woman to be in the same room or even on the same bed with his or her spouse without necessarily ‘being there.’ Text messaging and online chats often engage the attention of some so much that they are oblivious to the fact that their spouse is sitting or lying right next to them and needs attention. A lot of those messages or chats are about issues that do not necessarily add anything to their lives and so can actually wait. In this regard, the new technology is making it more and more difficult for some to give undivided attention to their spouse.

It leads to increased expectations and conflict
With the increasing use of modern technology, people often expect an instant reply to communication from their spouse. A delayed reply – or no reply – can lead to suspicion and anger.

It sometimes provides an escape from reality
It is sometimes attractive to look for an escape route whenever there are issues in one’s marriage, instead of confronting them headlong. Unfortunately, technology offers an easy route. Dissatisfied and troubled spouses seek succour in virtual relationships. And the internet seems to offer the secrecy they desire as it allows them to make ‘faceless’ connections without the fears associated with face-to-face contact.

It can be a ready cheating tool
With modern technology, it has become much easier for those who have the tendency to cheat on their spouse to do so. It is amazing that some can exchange amorous messages with their lovers or secret admirers right under the nose of their own spouse. Cases abound of married men and women who, in search of fun on chat forums or social media platforms, met people with whom they ultimately ended up in bed.

It exposes to risky adventures
Without any doubt, it is partly the anonymity and assumed low risk that have made Internet dating and social networks popular. Some, including married men and women, have met their untimely death in the hands of people they met online or chat forums. Ironically, that seeming nice man or woman online can in reality be a monster or murderer.

It can put strictly private matters in the public domain
Status updates, tweets, posts etc which reveal moods and what is on one’s mind often tell a lot about the state of one’s marriage.

For your marriage to benefit maximally from modern technology, therefore, there is a need to set clear boundaries. Unfortunately, many are not aware of or have no regard for the rules of the game when it comes to this technology. Even where such rules do not seem to exist, I believe it is good, with the cooperation of your spouse, to determine how it should be used in your home and lives.

Without mincing words, there are some situations where the use of modern gadgets are a distraction and so should be avoided, particularly when:

i) spending time alone with your spouse or family;
ii) discussing an issue you or your spouse considers important;
iii) involved in a heated debate with your spouse;
iv) taking a leisurely walk with your spouse;
v) enjoying a romantic dinner;
vi) getting intimate or in a romantic mood;
vii) conveying a heartfelt apology; or
viii) attending a social function with your spouse.

If the call or message is so important that it cannot wait, make it snappy and let your spouse in on it.

It is important that you draw a clear line between your work and home life. This could mean switching off the smart phone or any such device and ignoring your evening emails till the following day. It is equally important that you give your partner complete attention when you interact privately and keep your gadgets away to avoid distraction. God will give you the grace to always do what you know is right.

Taiwo Odukoya is the senior pastor of The Fountain of Life Church. He is an avid believer in the role of the Church in the social and economic life of the nation. He is the host of The Discovery for Men, The Discovery for Women, The Woman Leader, and Ruth and Boaz, quarterly meetings that reach out to thousands of men and women from all works of life and denominations. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Nomthi, and children. He can be reached at [email protected]

19 Comments

  1. Temilola

    December 17, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Nice piece

  2. Ola

    December 17, 2014 at 9:28 am

    very very well said.

  3. Eny

    December 17, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I really do think technology has had more pros than cons. Its just embarrassing that the efforts we used to make when we took out time to write letters and take a trip to the post office to send them off, we no longer make now with all the access at our disposal

  4. In a fix

    December 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Hi Guys,
    I appreciate BN commenters alot cos y’all are highly intelligent and mature and that’s why i need your advice …..

    I met this guy three years ago after i graduated from uni,he was 12 yrs older and way more successful so i couldn’t relate with him on some levels,he was so much in a hurry to get married,we were dating for just about two months and he already wanted to come see my parents so i developed cold feet and called off the rlshp.I wanted someone i could at least grow with to some extent and contribute something meaningful into their life but he had everything,even getting him gifts was hard cos i wasn’t even working yet at the time. Anyways, ran into him in church after nysc and my cousin being the middleman kinda planned it and we got back together but i was always self conscious around him,wasn’t free and that is unlike me cos usually when i am into someone i am overly playful and mushy but with him i was always cold and boring. I have always wanted to marry my friend,someone i can joke around with and all so i was giving the rlshp time to see if i could grow into loving him and us becoming really close but guess he didn’t have that time,said he wanted fireworks and that the rlshp was boring but he wasn’t even romantic to begin with (he is very mechanical) so he broke up with me. Now i am 26,more mature and i have a well paying job and i feel maybe i wasn’t mature enough to handle that rlshp then so it got me thinking if i should try getting him back cos after dating a few douche bags who didn’t know what they wanted,now i wish i was back with him,do you think i should try getting him back?as he is now 38 and yet unmarried???

    • adeanon

      December 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Hi,, try dating him. but please please don’t be under any pressure.
      Wish you well

    • jessica

      December 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Wow this is exactly my story and guess what?? you should go back to him. we can talk confidentially if you need to. Please go back. It took me so long but i know know whats really important in life!

    • Eny

      December 17, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I hope you intend trying your own advice as well

    • MC

      December 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Honestly, it sounds as though you feel you are”old” and he is the only “candidate” left.
      Doesn’t even sound as though you even like the guy. You like the prospect of marriage more and because he wanted marriage then and is still unmarried, you feel he would be the easier candidate.
      There are way too many people in the world. Relationships are allowed not to work out. Not everybody is compatible. it didn’t’ work out. move on. simple as.

    • debutante

      December 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

      You can try reestablishing some form of contact with him preferably through social media and let him pick it up from there, if he does you know he is still interested in you and if he doesn’t, you will find it easier to move on. That is what I would do

    • moi

      December 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      1. You arent old; the fact that you’re 26 shouldn’t be the determining factor.
      2. Don’t get back with him because he has “potential”. You’ve tried twice and it just didn’t work. Maturity or lack thereof has no correlation to chemistry in a relationship. If at all, your seemingly “immaturity” should have made it more fun and if he’s the one for you, he should have groomed you to maturity (unless ur own immaturity = kolomemtal).

      One mistake girls keep making nowadays is that as babes in a relationship u keep focusing on how u impact the guy. It shouldn’t be that way. Ask yourself: “how has he impacted my own life as well?” You dnt have to b the one trying to be old like him for it to work… let him chill small as well and meet you halfway.

      So, to answer your question, don’t get back with him because of “what could be”. it’s better to have a failed courtship than a failed marriage. If I were in your shoes, I’d vote with my legs. Bt as they say, every mallam and e own kettle.

    • biggest Survivor

      December 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Hey Babe,
      this was me some years ago, and the biggest lesson learnt was LET IT GOOOOO….
      It’s no brainer that marriage is a big deal that becomes a lesser deal when you are in it with a friend. No need solving a riddle that can’t be solved. he wants marriage fast fast WHY. Don’t start thinking he is your missing rib blah blah blahh that is why he isn’t married yet and other tales…..
      Take your time invest in FRIENDSHIP, if he is the one he will come back, PRAY HARD trust God. Back to my story He was soooo RICH DAMMMM…. but i wasn’t fulfilled, no inner peace, the whole thing just flopped big time, fast forward i met this dude who didn’t have much, but loved me. then I started enjoying the little things in life, and my perspective about happiness changed, I knew what it meant to be loved, then i knew i had found my peace, and he wasn’t a milliionaire then. he was a thousandnaire in TENS…..lol. But i met my friend.
      Only you know when you’ve met your partner, you know that peace, Darling please don’t settle or WHAT IF, cos IF SHOULD, IT WOULD HAVE…….
      BEWARE OF DUDE’S WHO ARE SO DESPERATE TO GET MARRIED………..

  5. In a Fix

    December 17, 2014 at 11:56 am

    @Jessica that would be great..kindly send me your email
    @ MC on the contrary o, i am very petite and i don’t feel old at all..I am an only child and mum and dad are separated so i already have issues with commitment that is why i grow into things but he was rushing me plus he was too rich for me ( i know that sounds weird) but i didn’t want to get married and become some sort of trophy wife. I wanted us to take things slow and become friends and lovers but he didn’t have time..wanted the fire works from the beginning but i didn’t want ti start explaining and ”convincing” him that these things take a bit of time cos it will look like i am forcing him to be with me,felt like he didn’t love me like he just wanted to get married to me fast just cos i fit into the kind of woman he has built up in his head not cos he loved me for me if you get what i mean. I really wish he would introduce the us getting back together cos if i do, i will have to do alot of work to convince him i am for real this time and i feel it should be the other way round.

    • MC

      December 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I still stand by what I said, you don’t sound as though you like him. You like the idea of him.
      You haven’t mentioned anything about liking him or the relationship you attempted to have with him twice!
      I also don’t understand your need or want to convince him that you “are for real this time’ even though you say it “felt like he didn’t love me he just wanted to get married to me fast”

  6. yea

    December 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Why are Pastor Taiwo’s posts prone to commenters that bring up their own issues (issues that should be on Aunty Bella) and are totally different from the original article and use it to distract commenters thereby derailing the entire post?

    • Adeanon

      December 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      I think they are looking for words of wisdom from pastor T. That’s not so bad nah. Don’t think its derailing as such… We all learn from this

  7. Rynyx

    December 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    @in a fix, u sound like a really sweet young woman. something like this happened to me years back. I didn’t even date him at all when the marriage talk overwhelmed the chyking process. listen dearie, marriage is for life (ideally), its too long a time to put up with someone you are not attracted to. don’t put pressure on yourself at all. don’t you wonder why he is still single??who wants a man that no other woman wants?? do not make the mistake of marrying and hoping that the emotions will change because it may not and then what do you do?? enjoy building a life for yourself now, grow a career, travel and explore all your potentials, the right person will find you while you are living your life. let him go.

    Ok so back to the topic ( Thank you for making me stray- Side eye*(lol), I find out that sometimes talking on whatsapp to my hubby is easier than face to face. that’s one of the disadvantages of technology. real relationships have been replaced by BBM and whatsapp. God will help us o

  8. In a Fix

    December 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    @Survivor wow thanks alot for that…that right there is closure for me. Thanks mehnn

  9. D

    December 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    My hubby and I send Whatsapp and text messages while we are in bed together not because we have problems talking but just to change things up a bit and like the author said there are advantages to technology just like with most things in life, now where to draw the line is what is key.
    @ In a fix, this topic will most likely make it to Aunt Bella so I will wait till then to comment so we don’t lose focus on the topic.

  10. Cee

    December 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Having a workaholic like my hubby, i sometimes wish we could go away to a place where there is no phone or Internet for a few days. He is presently on vacation, the first non-illness or professional exam inducing vacation since we got married 6 yrs ago and he still works from home, sleeping at 2 or 3am on most days.

    Last week was our anniversary and he made so many appreciated efforts to make the day and the week special.

    He is a good man and is very indispensable. I just wish he would take it easy. Life no get duplicate. Most times he is ill, tests prove all he needs is rest.

    Thanks Pastor for the insightful article.

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