I love social media, and use it for my work and personal use. My husband doesn’t use it. Doesn’t care. He only has Facebook to keep tabs on me (in a good way!), or so he says. Yet even though John doesn’t connect socially online, it still impacts our marriage. These days I’d dare say it impacts most marriages, for the better or for worse.
Why is Social Media So Easy? (And why it costs so much.)
Social media is easy because we can choose when to comment and what to comment on. We can ignore issues we don’t want to deal with. We can unfriend people when we disagree. Marriage is harder. We can ignore issues, but they don’t really go away. So instead of dealing with the problems right in front of our faces, we find ourselves scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.
Also, sometimes it’s easier to “connect” with friends than our spouse. We share funny memes or recipes. There’s always someone fun online who can entertain or engage us. And that makes it easier to ignore our spouse who may be having a hard day.
It’s easy, but social media often costs us communication with our spouse. It robs time from the one person who we should be giving most of our emotional energy to.
There have been times in the past when I’ve focused on social media more than I should. There was a season when found myself scrolling social media too much. I had books to promote and people to connect with. Then, after my husband mentioned my “addiction” a number of times I knew I had to make a change. I decided to give more attention to the man sitting across from me than the people “out there.” I set boundaries for myself, and I discovered—after chatting with friends—many have done the same.
- Be Present. I decided to spend time on social media when my husband wasn’t around. I worked to be present with the person next to me rather than the friend or the reader who was giving me validation online.
On dates, or time together, our phones are put away. It’s sad to me when I see people out on dates at other tables, spending time with everyone online and not their spouse.
One friend, Maureen, leaves her phone home when she and her husband go on dates. Only her husband brings his phone—in case of emergencies. This has been helpful to them not to be pulled into social media.
Another friend, Natalie, told me her and her husband have problems getting sucked into their phones at night, so they’ve made it a rule to leave their phones in the other room when going to bed. Personally, I charge mine across my room so it’s not easy to get to.
- Don’t Look Up Old Flames. We also need to be aware of the emotional dangers that lurk, especially when it comes to our hearts. Like my friend Tanya reminded me, “I have noticed among friends that social media makes it easier to leave unhappy marriages. Old flames are easier to find and competition (greener grass) seems far too prevalent.” Sadly, I’ve seen that too.
Is There Anything Good About Social Media?
Of course, not all social media is bad for marriage I have friends who also use social media as a connection point in their marriage. My friend Stephanie told me, “When I see fun events, activities, or places that I want to talk to my husband about I just share and tag him. Then I know he sees it instead of me forgetting all about it!”
Because I’m connected with family and friends on social media, I find fun things to share with John when we’re just hanging out. “Do you want to see a photo of our new baby niece!” I ask him. I have fun catching him up on news.
Overall, I’ve discovered that, like anything, I can let social media consume me, or I can use it for the good of our marriage. It’s up to each of us to consider how we can protect and connect in our marriage via social media. Like anything, it takes being wise and setting boundaries … a focusing on the one relationship that matters most.
Walking in Him,