The Long Distance Relationship

I was talking with someone the other day who is in a long distance relationship.  The couple does the majority of their talking by phone and Facebook and text message (TM).  With the modern conveniences of cell phone text messaging and instant messaging technology, good communication skills are going the way of the dinosaur.  In its place are several forms of corrupt communication.

Corrupt communication from a biblical perspective means literally “garbage talk.” It is the same idea as dung, or manure. I have seen lots of that go on with text (TM) or instant message (IM). There is a temptation to drop a verbal bomb and run or to say hurtful or cutting things to one another because it is just so anonymous.

IM and TM and Chat rob you of the ability to truly grasp the totality of what the other person is telling you, and leave a lot of room for wrong interpretation. There is no opportunity to see the non-verbal communication of the writers. You can not watch facial expressions, hear tone inflections, or see the body language of the other person.

I have had numerous counseling cases in which people bring in miles of text messages and reams of email and instant messages they print out as “evidence” against someone. I wish to caution you against making these conveniences your primary methods of communication with your spouse, your children, friends and co-laborers in Christ.

There is no doubt that it is easier to TM or IM someone with a thought or question, and for those purposes it is great! But what I am seeing are entire relationships being conducted via these methods and that is a huge problem. Teens are establishing boyfriend/girlfriend relationships through cyber space and getting the wrong idea about what a true relationship is. There is no opportunity to develop the intimacy that goes along with developing a relationship (I am not speaking of sex!) and so much is left out of the entire process.

Marriages are conducted through TM because our fast paced lives don’t allow for couples to be at home with each other anymore. Spouses text parenting issues, sexual issues, relationship issues and actually attempt to have a marriage this way! My friends, this should not be.

Please use these conveniences sparingly, don’t attempt to have a relationship this way. The cord of three strands spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12 does not include cyber communication. The interactions you have with people in the cyber world are one-dimensional and leave out the crucial halo data that needs to be collected to have a real discussion or relationship with someone. 

Good communication involves more than just words. You must be an active listener who hears through discerning ears. You must be willing to stay current, or in the day with the one you are communicating with and commit to be honest in your communication. Honesty means more than not lying, it means being truthful. This means you refuse to exaggerate things, because exaggeration is a form of dishonesty. 

Honest, biblical communication is very difficult to do through a cyber link, there is just too much room for misunderstanding!