There is an increasing amount of talk about the impact of Social Media on Relationships today. Some may argue that social media has a more negative impact than positive. Social Media usage has changed the way that people communicate and interact relationally. This conversation is ever changing as more research is arising showing the alarming correlation between social media usage and depression, anxiety and self-esteem. It is my hope that we continue to examine the impact the use of social media has in and on relationships. Here are a few thoughts that I have about social media usage and how to decrease the negative impact that it could potentially have on your marriage.
1. Honor your Marriage
It is important to honor, protect and value your marriage. Be sure to know what your partner is comfortable with sharing on social media. I would strongly encourage you to NEVER bicker, argue or fight on a social media platform. Settle disagreements with one another or find a good Therapist to help you work through your conflict and help uncover deeper issues.
2. Relationship Status: MARRIED
If you and your partner are both on social media, I would strongly encourage you to become “friends” and/or “follow” one another. Your spouse should be your closest friend off and on social media. If you are married no one should have more access to you, your thoughts and your life than your spouse. You can definitely be an individual and married, but ensure that you both are presenting in a manner that is consistent with the choice that you both made to share your lives together.
3. Know yourself and your areas of weakness
Many people blame social media for infidelity (emotional affair, sexual affair, inappropriate conversations and even a lack of time management). Anything that you could possibly be giving to your spouse that you are giving to another (time, affection, attention) could be considered an EXIT. The readily accessible tools in the virtual world do not create people that cheat or cause people to make bad choices, people make bad choices. Again, know yourself and your areas of weakness. Focus on peeling back the layers to find out the root to any negative behavior that could potentially destroy your marriage.
4. Foster a heart to heart connection not a false connection
As human beings we are wired for connection. We are relational beings. Social media has many cons but also has pros. Social media is a place where you can connect with family, friends and even strangers all over the world. It is a place where you can find groups, market and create financial streams to live the life of your dreams. Keep in mind through the human experience we are wired for heart to heart connection. Do not allow a false sense of connection to keep you from really connecting with your beloved face-to-face. Social media should never take the place of real connection.
5. Comparison is the thief of Joy
Be mindful about your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your marriage when you are scrolling through social media. It is easy to begin to compare your life to the highlight reels that you see. Continually have a sense of gratitude for who you are, your marriage and what you have now. Celebrate others successes but never compare your life to someone else’s. This only breeds jealousy, envy and contention. If you find yourself feeling sad or comparing your life to others based on what you are seeing on social media have an honest conversation about what is going on with you. Assess whether or not social media use should decrease or discontinue.
6. Be Present
In the ever increasing virtual world, be intentional about taking breaks and establishing boundaries for your social media usage. When interacting with your partner, family and friends put your smart phone away. Be Present! Truly connect with them. Talk, listen, laugh and enjoy the moments that you will never get back.
Social Media platforms are not going anywhere. In fact, more and more options are being added for people to continue to virtually connect. It is up to you to have a sense of awareness about how you and your partner are feeling about the connection that you have with each other. Be mindful of how social media may be impacting your relationship. What are you and your spouse willing to do to protect what you were created to experience and desire so much to have…..CONNECTION.
Deona Frierson, LCSW
Licensed Therapist & Relationship Expert
Deona Frierson is the co-founder of The Excellent Marriage and lives in North Carolina with her husband David. She loves her family, spending time with her sister friends, desserts and helping couples connect in their marriage.