How much time do you spend on Facebook and Instagram? Does it eat into your time spent with your spouse?
Social media – what would we do without it? We have become so accustomed to and reliant on these valuable platforms which allow us to update people about our lives, discover how others are doing, reconnect with long lost friends and keep in touch with new ones. How can the use of social media affect marriages? It all depends on how these platforms are utilised.
Here are some tips couples should keep in mind when using social media to safeguard their relationship:
#1: Set boundaries
We all know how fast time flies when we start surfing our Facebook or Instagram pages, scrolling through post after post of interesting news. Some of us may even be guilty of spending more time on social media platforms than communicating with our spouses. What may be worse – we may even have spent more time posting photos of our food rather than engaging with our spouses on a dinner date! If we’re not mindful enough, connecting with the world may take priority over connecting with our spouses.
Consider setting limits on the amount of time spent, for example only half an hour each day, or only when you’re traveling alone on the train. Couples should sit down together and discuss their expectations with regards to social media. What constitutes appropriate online interaction with friends, especially those of the opposite sex? What should a spouse do when an “old flame” makes a friend request on Facebook?
#2: Be transparent
Transparency is essential in all marriages, where couples do not hide anything from each other. This also applies to the realm of social media. Allow your spouse to have access to your accounts, and the freedom to read your posts, comments and messages at any time, and vice versa. Spouses can also share passwords with one another, both as a gesture of mutual respect and as a way of ensuring accountability.
#3: Be respectful
If you’re angry with your spouse, social media is not the place to vent your frustration. A good general rule of thumb is, “don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want to see printed on the front page of the newspaper.” Instead, strive to be positive on all your social media platforms. Make the effort to edify your spouse and build him up. Express your appreciation for him, giving him respect and love through your words.
Always check with your spouse about how much information can be shared online. Your spouse may not be comfortable with you sharing all the details of your family life. Don’t post photos that your spouse may not approve of, and consider the feelings of your spouse before posting.
Ultimately, social media is a tool we can use to enhance relationships with our spouses and with others, as long as we implement safeguards and use it wisely.
If you have any thoughts about using social media in your marriage, do share your thoughts with us. We’d love to hear from you!
Used with permission from Focus on the Family Singapore. For more information on family life resources and workshops, visit www.family.org.sg.
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