Social media is a fairly recent concept of today’s technology. Fifteen years ago, social media couldn’t cause harm because it DIDN’T EXIST. Today, there are many ways social media can be harmful and hurtful. Most of us have heard of cyberbullying through sites like Facebook or Twitter. We also probably would agree that Instagram can sometimes be a real self-esteem deflator. Unfortunately, the negatives associated with social media don’t stop here. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. can cause some pretty serious harm to your relationships.
This also holds true for your most important relationship: your marriage. Here are 5 ways that I believe social media can be damaging and hurtful to that intimate relationship with your partner.
5 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Military Marriage
It’s a Time-Sucker
There are INSANE amounts of social media outlets and a lot of things that “need” checking and updating. It’s easy to waste away 2 hours on Pinterest and look up at the clock and rub your eyes in disbelief.
First, you think you’re simply updating your Facebook status about the gross sandwich you had for lunch. Then, you get distracted by a really fun-looking BuzzFeed video that pops up in your newsfeed.
Then, you see your friend shared this creepy-looking DIY makeup tutorial that you just have to watch. Then you see an ad for tickets to Taylor Swift and immediately go to her official Facebook page to see when she’ll be near you. Then you decide to hop to YouTube to jam out to her song Blank Space.
See how easy it is to waste your life away? Most spouses don’t appreciate getting distracted by constant notifications after sitting down to watch a movie with their loved one. Most spouses don’t like feeling like they have to compete with the Internet for your attention. Don’t let them! Put down the phone and be present with your spouse. Most of all, be present in your marriage.
It’s a Jealousy-Creator
“Did he REALLY just like that girl’s picture on Instagram?”
“Wow. She really just added that guy on Facebook, didn’t she?”
“They’re messaging WHO?!”
Social media can be the perpetrator of every single one of these above statements. Our grandparents never had to worry about Instagram likes and Facebook private messages. We do. And because we do, we also have the added challenge of trying not to get jealous over petty things. It is easy to get wrapped up in the subtle likes and comments. Pretty soon, you’re enveloped in jealousy and are practically foaming at the mouth over something that could have been avoided if social media didn’t exist.
Instead of obsessing over likes and comments and messages, focus on the actual things happening in your marriage. Put down the smartphone, laptop, iPad or tablet and communicate the old-fashioned way. Talk to your spouse if you do see something that makes you uncomfortable. Don’t get defensive and make sure to let your spouse talk to you if they see something that upsets them. Social media should be about positivity, not dragging the other person down. If you and your spouse truly care about each other’s feelings, change will have to occur.
It’s a Mistake-Encourager
Social media has the ability to give our spouses and us the perception that we can say anything we want without repercussions or actual effects. One click, and the Tinder app is downloaded on your phone out of pure boredom, just waiting to trip you up. One push of the enter button and off flies a flirtatious message that your wife/husband decided to send to their coworker. It takes less than a second to commit to something that could potentially harm your marriage.
Instead of letting social media tempt you while you are at your weakest, surround yourself will good friends for support. Do not cling to Tinder or sexting.
“Sexting may make you feel better in the moment, but it will bring a lifetime of regret. “
The same goes for your partner. Make sure you keep the conversation open in your marriage and talk about temptations you might face. Going into a situation blind is setting your marriage up for failure.
It’s a Drama-Starter
Social media sometimes can give the false impression that it is the place to post venting rants about your spouse. It’s easy to find yourself, after a long day at the office, posting furiously about the horrid job your husband did making dinner after your long day of work. It doesn’t seem that difficult to tweet about how your wife nags you all day, even after you bring her flowers and chocolate.
Refrain from doing this, and think. Instead of using social media to vent, call up a good friend and invite him or her over to hang out. A good, private cry with your best bud generally does a lot of good. Soul search. Meditate. Write down what you want to say to your spouse. After cooling off, go to them and communicate in a way that isn’t publically humiliating. You are much more likely to get a positive response if you show your spouse that you’re considering their needs and feelings.
It’s an Image-Distorter
Lastly, it is so easy to let Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and other social media sites define your view of your marriage. It isn’t difficult to let the likes on a picture of the roses your spouse brought you define your gratitude instead of the actual act of buying you roses. It is easy to post pictures of you and your spouse smiling and laughing at a Christmas party when you’re actually fighting about what gift to buy your mother-in-law.
This façade of a perfect life can do extreme damage to your marriage. It makes you live in a fairytale land where there are only perfect, filtered pictures of your date nights on Instagram, with no sign of the flat tire you got on the way. It sweeps you into the mindset that you should be more worried about how many people “like” your family photos on Facebook, as compared to if you are happy in your marriage. Don’t let social media blind you. Be active in solving problems that you want to confront with your spouse. Only then will you be able to grow and gain strength as a couple.