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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  • philip84

    A good alternative might be to deactivate the individual accounts and create a joint page. This way the only public presence is as a couple, the way the world should look at you. Otherwise, I totally agree with sharing all passwords, unfriending all unhelpful relationships and introducing you spouse to whomever is left. It would great if private messaging could be limited to the closest circle of friends and family only. The current set up seems to encourage private contact by default. Not sure if the fun and utility is really worth the risks and temptations, but…

    • Great suggestion! And I really agree with the private messaging feature – it’s way too easy for anyone to contact you unsolicited. Thanks Philip.

  • Jim-Amy Cotterick

    My husband and I did just as Philip mentioned. We deleted our old individual accounts and made a joint one. We have used it as a wonderful way to get to know each others’ old classmates and friends, plus adding our mutual friends from our church. Accountability is easy, because even if an old friend of the opposite sex tries to message one of us privately, we both see the message and replies in “real time”. Our friends also get to see our interactions as a couple and our love of God and each other, so that repels any unwanted attention.

    • RandyJessica Stephens

      exactly! people think that its insecurity just because you chose to have a joint account but its not. It keeps drama and such away

  • Haleigh

    Don’t talk about the things you don’t like about your spouse on Facebook. It’s just as bad if not worse than talking about the negative to someone else in person.

  • Hether

    I spent a long time on Facebook with only female friends. I had no men, family members included. My husband also did the same, he had an all male group of friends. After a while we both narrowed it down to only close friends and family members. Small friends list, no worries between us.

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  • Emily

    I don’t disagree with joint accounts but both my husband and I like having our own accounts. I want to see my friends stuff and he only wants to see his. Although we are definitely a two for one combo we are also individuals with different interests and likes. That being said we know each other’s passwords and there is 100% transparency. I don’t think this article is necessarily saying “if you are on fbook prepare to cheat on your spouse” it’s just giving hood advice on an area I bet no one thinks of!

    • Longsuffering

      Should I be suspicious if she REFUSES to share PWORDS and then DEMANDS to have ALL of mine. I don’t even USE Facebook BTW. I think is just about the most useless “time suck” that has ever been inflicted on the human race! But that is just me. HA!

      No affairs or even sniff of anything on my end to want mine. Porn etc and all the usual “issues”.

      Says I am too “controlling”. For context, love life has been pretty much in the tank for about 20 years now. Always has time for Facebook though.

  • Helping hand

    How do you convince your wife that this is how it should be?

    She thinks I’m being jealous/insecure and I am actually trying to protect what we have! What are some good ways to get through and get on the same page?

    Thx,

    • Andy Berry

      my thought? prayer – lots of prayer

    • beth

      I would share this with her. Just mention you thought it was a good article.

  • Marisa

    I’m at odds with facebook and my husband. He has a “friend” that when she announced her divorce, the likes and comments on all her selfies increased. He commented with words that he didn’t use toward me like “beautiful, stunning, gorgeous, hot, sexy”. He also made comments on her legs, boobs, eyes, and tan. After a while he insisted to know what was going on with me and how it would seem like I’d switch moods instantly. So I told him how I felt about his facebook interaction with her and felt he was falling for her and it was a matter of time before he leaves me for her. He insists that he’s only friends with her and wouldn’t put himself in a compromising position. We will see but my gut is saying otherwise. All because of facebook.

    • April

      Sorry to say, but go with your gut! Not that this is true for you, but that’s exactly how, my soon to be ex, started his online affair. Liking photos and messaging an old classmate. She was married as well. Her husband kept her while I threw mine out after 17 years of being together.
      I hope and pray that it’s not try for you. My advice is to talk it out now. Deactivate FB for both of you before it is too late.

  • Heather Ann Siani

    Derek and I have complete transparency like the two of you. We have nothing to hide from each other…to the point of using each other’s phones, leaving accounts logged in on the computer, etc. Recently we witnessed someone’s marriage come crashing down because of infidelity and it rocked us because we were totally blindsided. The wife found out because of email. We certainly have had many discussions since about how things could have gotten to that point. It has effected so so many and it’s a travesty to see marriages fall.

    • Andy Berry

      we have one book of passwords we both use….nothing is off limits in our personal lives

  • SR

    Thank you for this post! It is exactly what I have been trying to explain to my husband who doesn’t think social networking, phone calls, etc constitues as an affair. This post couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • Patrick

    This is dumb, if your going to cheat, going to cheat! People need to stop blaming Facebook for them stepping out on there relationship.

  • Jenna

    How should I feel if I’ve shown this to my husband, and talked to him about doing this, and his response is to delete all of his social media accounts? It’s made me suspect that he was doing things and had things he didn’t want me to see on these accounts.

    • KAYLA S.

      I have heard my Husband mention that he wanted to just delete his Facebook account. He rarely uses his Facebook for social, but needs to have this account for his Madden mobile to work. I also mentioned that we needed to have a shared account. In the past, he struggled with temptations and I think that this sharing of an account would be a good start to accountability. I have a few couple’s friends who are married that share an account and it seems to be working great for them, building and keeping trust in areas that seemed grey, open line of communication….etc.
      Maybe this is a temptation for your Husband. Facebook notices the gender and age of a profile and places ads and people in your feed that are sometimes extremely not a good thing to come across, especially a woman or man who struggles or has had a past of struggling with sexual sin, rather it be emotional or mental or physical. Grace! Love! and Prayer! Communicate with him about your feelings that are fearful…..prep him first. Of he is like my hubby, we are trying to break walls down of defense/offense, and it helps to prepare him for a heart hurt issue with asking him if this time would be good to talk about a certain area of hurt or question that is weighing you down a bit. I think if he mentioned deleting his account, maybe it is not what you suspect but is his way of saying….I don’t want to take any chances with temptation because my wife means the world to me and I just think it best to delete all of my social media accounts to maintain a relationship with honesty in that area and know there will be no obstacles there because I have taken the steps to remove them…Flee from them. Praying for you and yours. May you have peace and comfort in your ❤.