Accountability, Communication, For Men, For Women

Is Your Facebook Life a Wedge in Your Marriage?

If left unchecked, your Facebook life may cause problems in your marriage. Subtle and seemingly innocent interactions with the opposite sex can be damaging.

It seems like everyone is on Facebook. It’s easily the largest single site where people gather online. Facebook has received harsh scrutiny about privacy of it’s users’ information. The result: they have increased our control over who can see each status update, image, interaction, and like. In general, it’s a great improvement.

For married couples, however, it raises an important question of transparency and accountability about your “Facebook life”. At the risk of sounding prudish, I have to say that viewing profiles, liking photos and statuses, and commenting on the same can subtly take you down an unhealthy road…

It always happens gradually and subtly

I’ve never had a woman actively try to seduce me in some bold outcry of love and passion. It’s just not the way it happens. I can say, however, that I’ve seen turning points in Facebook interactions and in real life where innocent relationships begin to feel just a bit inappropriate. It’s the subtle things that ensnare us and woo us into terrible situations.

I hate to say it but I have seen friends engage in full blown extramarital affairs that began with an innocent friend request. Here’s how I’ve seen things go terribly wrong:

  1. One bored night, person browses FB and becomes curious about a past crush/friend/girlfriend/boyfriend (opposite sex) and what they’re up to
  2. Person searches for them and finds them
  3. Person looks at all pictures their privacy settings allows them to see
  4. Person sends friend request
  5. Request accepted
  6. Person looks at more pictures; likes and comments (they do the same)
  7. Message: “Wow, great to see you on here!! What are you up to? Looks like you’re doing well…etc… crazzzyyyy lol hahaha ttyl!!” and so on
  8. Months pass. Likes and comments become more frequent and less inhibited. Emotions develop and communication increases
  9. For whatever reason, they become a source of comfort and emotional refuge
  10. In a weak moment, emotions turn into action

Yes, reading this seems pretty ridiculous. This is how infidelity happens; subtly and gradually.

Complete transparency with your spouse

Selena and I have a completely open policy about everything in our lives; online and off. The illustration we use is “WIDE open windows, WIDE open doors, lights on everywhere”. There’s nothing she doesn’t know about me, and nothing I don’t know about her.

This has taken work to get to – it was a bumpy road with lots of hard spots and tons of grace. Now that we’re there (we continually work at it!), I can’t imagine life any other way. It’s liberating in every sense of the word.

Steering clear of FB pitfalls

Here are some thoughts on how to make sure your “Facebook life” never becomes a wedge in your marriage.

  • Know ALL passwords: Selena knows every password I have, and I know hers. This goes for social networks, emails, financial sites, everything.
  • Make EVERYTHING visible: It’s a red flag if you’re hiding anything from your spouse other than some sort of birthday/anniversary/holiday surprise.
  • Mention each other often: If ever there’s a comment that’s in question, we don’t post it, or we mention each other in the post. Example: “Hey (person), Selena (tagged) and I hope you had a great birthday!” or “It was so great seeing you guys for dinner last night! Selena (tagged) and I had a blast – hope to get together again soon!”
  • Talk about your spouse: The quickest way I’ve found to curb unsaid flirtations is to talk about Selena; it’s the quickest way to include her in the conversation, even if she’s absent.
  • Talk openly about questionable interactions: If you make a mistake, ‘fess up! Honesty and grace build trust and love in all areas of your marriage; this one included.

GUYS: Keep your eyes on the right things. You know when you’ve taken just a bit too much interest in the photo galleries of a female friend; especially if you’re looking for pictures from their recent trip to Cabo. Catch yourself, stop, click away.

Facebook is a lot of fun; just like most good things, if wielded incorrectly it can cause damage. Openness, awareness, and transparency on the world’s greatest social network will ensure it doesn’t cause unneeded strife in your marriage!

Question: Do you have any other ideas on how make Facebook use more transparent to your spouse?

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