It only takes being married for more than a couple of days to figure out that communication in marriage is really important. Being intentional about the way we communicate with our spouse sets a firm foundation for a solid relationship. The same applies when it comes to using Facebook once we’re married. Facebook is all about communication and both what we communicate on Facebook and how we say it will have an effect on our relationship. Here are eight ways we can make our Facebook conversations something that builds our marriage up.
- Set relationship status to married and keep it that way. Facebook’s version of the wedding band, our relationship status makes all the difference in how people interact with us. What about when we happen to go through some marital troubles? Don’t change status to “it’s complicated.” That will only make things even more complicated!
- Share username and password with one another. Transparency is crucial to ensure trust in a committed relationship. Exchanging login information with our spouse provides accountability and emotional security.
- Create boundaries to protect ourselves, our spouse and our marriage. We need to spend time talking about what’s in bounds and out of bounds as a couple. A little bit of agreement on what is and is not acceptable can save a lot of pain and disagreement later.
A great boundary to start with is to agree not to have private chats with members of the opposite sex. Emotional affairs have three main ingredients: secrecy, chemistry and intimacy. Chatting provides a perfect environment for the three ingredients to mix together and create a situation that supposedly “just happened”. We can also choose to avoid the drama and turn off the Chat feature altogether.
- Be prepared to talk offline about online issues. What happens on Facebook doesn’t stay on Facebook. Facebook can and will trigger issues and conversations between us and our spouse. It’s wise to deal with hurt feelings or concerns in the privacy of our own homes. If handling conflict proves difficult, attend a Marriage Education class to acquire a shared set of communication/conflict resolution skills.
- Update each other on Facebook friends and friend requests. Many of our Facebook friends have a story attached to them. We shouldn’t assume our spouses know how we know them; spend time sharing these stories with our mate. Don’t friend exes, old flames, past flings, former crushes or anyone we’ve been intimate with in the past. What starts as an innocent, “I wonder whatever happened to so-and-so” can lead to “I never meant for this to happen.”
- Pay attention to how much time you spend on Facebook. Everyone needs a little down time to unwind each day. Facebook can be a great way to do this. On average, users spend 40 minutes a day on Facebook. (Remember, this is only facebook! Add in other social media platforms and Canadians come in at over 90 minutes per day) If time spent engaged in online social community infringes on our marriage relationships, it’s time to make changes to reprioritize our time. Consider setting a timer for 15 minutes, then log off and put the phone away!
- Make our spouse the topic of our status updates. Using Facebook to affirm and build up our spouse creates a deeper bond between us, and a higher fence around us, as well. (Just be careful not to overdo it and become an annoying couple.) We should speak well of our spouse. Think about how our comments will be read by others (think about mother-in-law, boss, pastor) before pushing the share/comment button.
- Remember that Facebook is a public place. Never report when a spouse is out of town. What we may think is a harmless status update is an announcement to everyone that our home, possessions and family are vulnerable and a prime target for anything to happen.
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